Feb 02, 2017

Eye on Your Benefits: Looking Out For 2017 Employee Benefits Trends

Blog post image- {{name}}

We are looking out for you.

Open enrollment for employee benefits has pretty much wrapped up at many companies across the country, and as you probably noticed, health care costs continue to rise.

To keep costs in check, many employers are gravitating towards high-deductible health plans. The new presidential administration could bring major changes to health care, though it's unclear what would replace these marketplaces if they're repealed and when changes would take effect. Given this uncertainty, the options available to you during open enrollment likely followed the mandate as it stands now. Beyond health care costs, here's what the New Year could mean for your health plan and other employee benefits.

1. Administrative Support to Navigate Health Care: Rising health care costs strain employers and employees, but one positive development is that some employers now offer benefits that help plan participants understand their health care options and make more informed decisions. Traditionally, employees were left to fend for themselves when it came to using their health care benefits, but that's changing thanks to new benefits offerings.

Administrative support has never been more important. In a sense, a strong back office like AWANE’s, actually replace the 800-number for the health plan on the back of your health care card. The AWANE dedicated customer service team can answer all questions such as "Did my claim get paid? or “Is my doctor in network?" And, there is a lot of value to a consultative and strategic approach by making recommendations, and examining all options. For instance, if an employee were calling to find an endocrinologist, the phone representative might highlight other employee benefits such as a wellness rewards program allowing employees to manage weight and much more.

2. Ancillary Benefit Products: In addition to traditional benefits such as health insurance, dental coverage and a vision plan, employers should offer employees more voluntary benefits such as accident coverage and critical illness coverage. Most employers are beginning to understand the value of good voluntary benefit programs in controlling costs, and allowing employees to have more coverage especially for unexpected illnesses or events.

AWANE Executive Director Philip Healy says, "We like to take a “partner not broker” approach with AWANE Member businesses to present the best possible options and customize benefit programs specifically for them. We realize the value of actually meeting with people to learn about their pain points and how we can build better programs. Employee benefits renewals should never be simply transactional, but rather strategic and well thought out.”

3. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): Employers continue to recognize the value of newer programs that address physical or emotional well-being so that their employees can stay healthy and productive. Employee Assistance Programs are becoming a huge part of a strong benefits program and address problems and issues ranging from addiction, stress, financial hardship, and much more. It is important to properly educate employees on their benefit programs so they utilize programs such as the EAP to improve their productivity, overall well-being, and much more. EAP programs are a confidential and powerful way for employers to help employees through difficulties in and out of the workplace.

4. Wellness “Rewards” Programs: Employer-provided financial wellness programs have been picking up steam for the past few years. Employers see wellness as a big priority right now. For example, AWANE offers members in the medical program an opportunity to earn money for healthy actions, and each year the program is customized to better fit the needs of the subscribers.

Wellness programs are not a “one size fits all” benefit. The programs need to resonate and provide the right type of incentives to properly engage the employees.

2017 promises to be an interesting year for not only employee benefits, but the healthcare landscape as a whole. And, as always, when new legislation comes out of Washington D.C., the AWANE team will be prepared and have programs that are fully compliant, allow you to keep or grow your networks, lower your prescription drug costs, and administration and guidance that is fully transparent and strategic.

Contact us today to learn more about our employee benefits programs and why AWANE retains 99% of its members year after year. Since 1929 AWANE has provided best in class solutions for businesses in the automotive, roads, fuel, and related industries. Join us today!