Nov 15, 2016

4 Ways to Help Your Employee Benefits Strategy

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As premium costs increase, many small business owners are looking for ways to save money on their health insurance. Large companies often benefit from scale, but small businesses do not have the same bargaining power with so few employees.

Experiencing sticker shock from your renewal notice? Here are a few things you can do to prepare for the upcoming benefit year and build a strong strategy both in the short and long term.

1. Consider a Wellness Program

It may seem counter-intuitive to spend money on a wellness plan when you are trying to save money on your small business health insurance. However, many businesses find that investing in their employees’ overall health allows them to reduce insurance expenses in the long run.

When serious health issues like diabetes or heart disease are neglected, they become expensive problems for insurance companies, employers, and patients alike. Wellness programs can provide enrollees access to proactive pain and disease management, which will save you (and them) money in the long run.

Many wellness programs offer incentives like cash and other rewards for participating and completing certain healthy actions.

2. Know Your Options

No one enjoys shopping around for insurance and small business health insurance is certainly no exception. In the current health insurance marketplace, rate increases are almost certain, and it is important to make sure you are exploring all options. It is important to have the right benefits partner or broker to ensure that your renewal has actual strategy behind it, rather than being transactional. If you work with a broker, be sure to ask him or her if there are any other options for your small business health insurance in the upcoming year. This will handle the “shopping around” without you actually having to do it yourself.

3. Examine Your Contribution Strategy

As rates increase, many businesses are shifting a larger share of the cost to their employees. Several years ago, you may have been able to afford to pay 85 percent of the premium, but perhaps now that number is closer to 70 percent; or maybe even less. That is why a review of your contribution strategy is critical to putting forward the best possible way for your company to spend wisely on employee benefits while continuing to retain talent through a strong benefit offering. Programs such as voluntary benefits offer options for cost control while giving the employees more programs to enrich their benefit plans.

4. Educate Employees on Their Benefits

The most important thing to remember when making changes to your small business health insurance is to educate employees about their benefits throughout the year. Employees need to know what their options are, and how to utilize the benefits you are providing to them. More than half of all employees do not fully understand their benefits, and it is up to employers to ensure that employees understand and utilize services to remain proactive about their health management. Whether its workshops, enrollment meetings, or a forum giving them a chance to ask questions, direct engagement is very successful.

Please contact the AWANE Team to learn more about our programs and why 99% of our members stay with us year after year, since 1929. We exist for the health and wellbeing of our member businesses and their employees.