Posted December 16, 2015
When selecting employee benefits plans, many employers leave money on the table. Benefits coverage chosen may not meet employees’ needs or provide projected cost savings. Here are five ways to get the most from your benefits:
1. Identify benefits employees want – Take time to understand employees’ benefits needs. Gather feedback through conversations and employee surveys. Here are a few questions to ask:
- What type of health needs have you experienced this past year?
- What do you expect for the upcoming benefits year? For example, employees with kids may need dental coverage for fillings or orthodontia, or vision benefits for prescription eyeglasses or LASIK.
- How much can you afford to pay out of pocket each month for premiums and copays?
- What are your priorities for benefits? Ask employees to rank options and suggest additional benefits choices.
- How many dependents age 26 and younger do you plan to enroll?
- Do you have dependents who no longer are eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act?
This information will provide valuable guidance in designing benefits plans employees will appreciate. Ask your insurance provider or broker for help with the employee survey.
2. Explore utilization trends – Ask your broker and insurance sales representative for a report on benefits and features employees use most. Compare these trends with information gathered from employees.
3. Request benefits proposals – Develop criteria for employee benefits options and ask your broker and insurance sales representative for a proposal. Specify that you want them to explore a range of affordable options, from group benefits to individual plans.
4. Review stand–alone plans – Ask brokers to review stand-alone group benefits options for dental and vision, separate from medical coverage. About 99 percent of employees with dental benefits have stand-alone coverage. Typically, stand-alone plans are priced accurately, so premiums are predictable.
5. Evaluate insurance carriers – Request detailed information about the recommended carriers’ experience with the benefits, customer service reputation, claims processing efficiency and financial stability. Recently, several carriers have dropped benefits plans or merged businesses, leaving employers and employees scrambling to find other coverage options. Avoid benefit disruptions by carefully evaluating carrier choices.
Employees want to be proactive consumers in their health care decisions. Learn how you can assist them in making benefits choices.