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How To Optimize Your Health Benefits Program?

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It’s no secret that, collectively, organizations have the power to improve employees’ health outcomes. And there has been progress.

Increasingly, employers are tailoring benefits according to needs and demanding better quality healthcare. But because organizations must keep an eye on the bottom line, there’s this constant effort to balance quality with costs. Market forces resulting from the pandemic have exacerbated that. These days, employers simply must gain more value from their health and benefits plans. 

But there are measures you can take. Read on for more about optimizing your health benefits program.

The Issue

The pandemic is forcing organizations to reinvent their health and benefits programs for value – what employees value, the value of care received, and the value of benefit partners. This requires a holistic approach.

More facts: some 180 million individuals get healthcare coverage through their employers. That’s more than half the nation’s population. The financial toll is steep: employers shell out roughly $880 billion annually on healthcare.

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Health Benefit Cost Growth

Health benefit costs increased 6.3 percent last year, and factors such as claims for “long COVID,” increased utilization due to care that was put off, the high cost of new treatment and inflationary healthcare prices could accelerate cost growth over the next few years. 

Strategies for Creating a Strong Benefits Program

Optimizing Your Health Benefits Program

One of the best ways organizations can attract, engage, and retain employees is by offering great health benefits. It’s true: if you have a well-considered and executed benefits strategy that aims to improve health outcomes, it’s a win-win for employees and you, especially in a very tight labor market that requires generous health benefits.

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However, you do want your people to make improved decisions about their health plans to help them – and you – achieve savings while enhancing both their personal and financial health.   

As presented by HSA Bank, there are strategies for optimizing health benefits programs to the benefit of all. They include:

  • Defining objectives and establishing a multi-year plan
  • Requiring annual health plan enrollment
  • Helping employees figure out their options by providing user-friendly tools and calculators
  • Providing support to help employees find the plan that offers the most savings
  • Offering attractive health savings account (HSA) plans
  • Demonstrating employee investment by matching HSA contributions
  • Automatically enrolling employees for HSA contributions

The Employer Focus

With so many factors to consider, employers may struggle with vision. But according to the consultant Mercer, healthcare transformation requires a focus on quality care, more digital care such as telehealth, adopting evolving care models, and aligning benefits with individual needs.

Organizations must also focus on novel ways to produce health and benefits plans. You want a variety of programs and benefit perquisites that align with your employees’ needs, plus an increased focus on behavioral health. After all, employers stand to benefit when they help their people prioritize their mental health. 

Also, employees, stakeholders, and society at large are demanding enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, which must be incorporated into health and benefits programs. Moreover, organizations should prioritize data-based innovation, stout vendor management, and program performance measures, plus evolving leave policies.

The bottom line is that, when it comes to optimizing your health benefits program, you must rebalance the health benefits paradigm to deliver better quality at less cost.

It can be done, particularly if you have assistance from a benefits consultant such as Mercer, which can help drive employee engagement and reinvent through design, experience, and execution. But don’t delay here. Things are rapidly evolving, and you must get ahead of the curve.

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