BY BEN CONNER
Company health plans commonly feel like a lose-lose for both the business and its employees. The benefits are stressful for employers because of their ever-growing costs, and employees are stressed by premiums, co-pays, and plan details. By taking a comprehensive, measured approach to health benefits, you can create win-win opportunities within your benefits plan. Inside a win-win, employers enjoy cost containment strategies while employees receive better health care options at lower prices.
Following the Win-Win Playbook
The industry is set up for most companies to have a lose-win, where either the company or the employee benefits more as costs rise. In a worst-case scenario, the employer and employees both end up worse. The company pays significantly more for low-quality care and a worse plan design, while their workplace becomes less competitive to their peers and employees pay higher premiums for a worse medical plan. To develop a win-win playbook for your company and employees, here's the roadmap you should follow:
1. Find an advisor who can make a win-win possible. In the benefits space, we’ve met many advisors who push the same plan for every client they work with, offering little flexibility regardless of the company’s unique circumstances. As a result, either the employees or the employer ends up suffering. If your advisor hasn’t offered new strategies to lower your costs and improve care for your employees, demand new ideas. If your advisor has "one play in the playbook" and does not deploy strategies based on your spend or your population, it may be time to find a new partner.
2. Explore what a win-win situation looks like for your business. The definition of success varies for each company because every company is unique. Leadership is different, budgets are different, and the workforce’s population and needs are different. Customization is critical, so you and your advisor should consider the different levers available to reduce costs and increase the quality of care. No matter a company's budget or population, there are strategies and levers that can be pulled that will lead to win-win situations if companies choose to engage.
3. Communicate with your employees. When employees understand your intentions, they know you have their best interests in mind. Although it may feel uncomfortable at first, over-communicate and over-educate. As you discuss strategies and plans with your workforce, remember that trust is a two-way street. Give your employees the opportunity to voice their concerns. Consider their feedback in developing your win-win plan.
Benefits for All
Creating a win-win plan requires time and dedication, but the rewards are worth the effort. Your company reduces health care expenses while your employees receive better care at lower costs.