Health and wellness are integral to employee performance, which helps explain why employers are investing more in their employee benefit offerings.
In June of 2018, the average cost of benefits rose by 2.9%, while wage costs rose by 2.7%, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Also on the rise is paid leave, which has seen a 4% cost per employee increase since 2017. This includes paid parental leave, which allows time off for a birth, adoption or foster placement of a new child.
The global cost of employee healthcare benefits is expected to rise by 9.1% this year according to research by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson. Hospital and inpatient services, many of which are tied to treating chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and respiratory illnesses, are driving the cost increases worldwide.
With the Supreme Court decisions and regulatory challenges of 2015 behind us, it’s time to catch your breath and resolve to take better control of your health care benefit plan. Here are a few things to think about as you contemplate the New Year.
Consider Self-Funding – According to a recent survey by PwC, two-thirds of companies employing 500 to 1,000 were self-funded in 2015, up from 59% in 2014. After trying to cope with the ACA, many smaller organizations have adopted partial self-funding and level-funded designs. If it’s been a while since you’ve examined self-funding, we can help you compare the latest options at no cost or obligation.
Look at TeleHealth – Many companies, large and small, have added telehealth to their health care plans in order to provide plan members with easier access to care. Email, smart phones and video physician consults are being used with increasing frequency to bring patients and physicians together in more cost efficient settings. While telehealth may not be appropriate in all cases, it may be just the thing for today’s busy lifestyles.
Employee Well Being – Concerns about the impact of chronic disease on plan costs and employee well being have encouraged more and more employers to introduce worksite wellness. From various forms of health promotion to disease management, these programs can foster better health, help prevent chronic disease and ensure appropriate medical treatment for those with chronic conditions. To learn more or to determine what type of wellness program can impact your cost drivers, talk to your TPA.
To Network or Not – If providers in your area are comfortable with pricing tied to an index such as Medicare, reference based or “cost plus” pricing is an alternative that can deliver significant savings and true cost transparency. Depending on the makeup of your group and your community, direct contracting with a hospital or provider group could also be a win-win. In certain areas, these options are proving more effective at containing costs than traditional PPO networks. Still looking for that one good idea? Give members a benefit statement to illustrate the value of compensation and benefits in easy to understand terms. Add in a few wellness reminders and you’ve taken one step to extend communication beyond open enrollment.