Jul 13, 2016

6 Red-Hot Topics Employers Must Consider For the 2017 Employee Benefit Year

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Each year, health care costs continue to rise, leaving employers scratching their heads wondering how to put in place the right employee benefits strategy to control these costs. Health care and employee benefits should never be treated as simply transactional because one size DOES NOT fit all.

Employers must look to maximize employee engagement, cost containment, and employee retention and have the right partner to create a custom and comprehensive long term strategy. This includes everything from the right communications to programs supporting employees during difficult times. Here are a few things that should be on the minds of employers right now.

  1. Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Many employers continue to move in the direction of consumer-directed health plans, HSA health plans, HRA health plans and ‘account-based’ health plans. Employers and their employees want to get back in the drivers’ seat and start controlling their options. Offering more choices and better networks is critical.

  2. Strategies for Cost Containment: Not all employers understand the true importance of having a long term strategy controlling costs. Costs continue to rise, so a partner such as AWANE is critical to a customized approach.

  3. Affordable Care Act (ACA) Compliance: Businesses of all sizes are being asked to do more administrative tasks, filings, IRS reporting, and more due to the Affordable Care Act and the countless regulations associated with it. Looking to outsource the administration and / or automating much of this is a great way for employers to reduce their own administrative costs and continue to focus on their business.

  4. Specialty Pharmacy: Drug costs are always of concern to employers, and changing pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that have strong programs for specialty pharmacy is of great interest. AWANE has special programs for high cost drugs, and much more.

  5. Employee Engagement: It is becoming more important than ever to educate employees about their benefits, and create an ongoing, customized communication strategy. For example, AWANE has in place incentive strategies (AWANE Wellness Rewards Program), ongoing online communications, bulletins, and more to achieve engagement goals.

  6. Employee Peace of Mind: Everyone is always talking about wellness programs and other buzzwords, but many employees aren’t even aware of programs such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) offering support for everything from financial hardship, addiction, and stress management. It is important for employers to discuss these programs with employees and make sure they are “in the know” when it comes to some of the less talked about programs. 

AWANE is a trade association serving businesses in the automotive, roads, fuel, and related industries. Our employee benefits programs are second to none, and hundreds of businesses enjoy our “power in numbers.” Now, more than ever it is important to have the right partner, with strong support to help businesses remain strong during these uncertain times. Since 1929 we are proud to continue growing, and maintain a 99% member retention rate each year.


Please contact us to learn more about how we can help your business stay on the right path!