You’ve ramped up your business, and along the way you’ve attracted a core group of key employees that you need to retain to reach your full potential. In addition to creating a fair workplace, you need to compete to retain your high-performing people. It’s time to think about your benefits package; specifically, your insurance plan.
What insurance plan options should you offer to your employees? It’s actually not an easy endeavor. Selecting an insurance plan is similar to playing on a seesaw as the employer or employee. It’s a delicate task for the employer, because you must provide options with usable benefits, at reasonable costs based upon your employees’ resources and needs, while also staying within what’s sustainable for your company.
As the employer, it’s imperative to research and choose the best insurance carrier based on reputation, general affordability, access, and any special needs specific to your company. You should also consider costs: will you cover a portion of the premium for your employees, or are they solely responsible for paying for their coverage? What are the demographics of your workforce? Should you change the plans you are currently offering? Will your offerings change due to the COVID-19 pandemic? Listening to your employees when they discuss their needs will help you to offer the best plans for your company.
Once you’ve selected an insurance carrier, it’s beneficial to provide at least three plan options to cover the needs of your employees. When providing options, you must consider your employee demographics and earnings. No plan is perfect for every employee; however, you must ensure that you have a plan that they can afford as well as generally cover their needs. You don’t want to negatively affect employee morale by providing expensive benefit options that won’t provide accessible coverage. When considering plans, here are a few general realities to consider.
Younger employees—typically those 25 and under—are generally healthy and often don’t have families. Therefore, they don’t typically visit the doctor or hospital often, and they are less likely to require diagnostic tests or regular medications. Plans that typically benefit this demographic come with lower premiums and copays but a higher deductible, along with more out of pocket expenses, for the associate.
Employees ages 30 and over may have started to settle down and now have families. They may have a need for obstetrics care, as well as more doctor, hospital, diagnostic, and pharmacy needs. Therefore, you should consider an insurance plan that accommodates this age group as such with improved out-of-pocket coverage that will come at a higher premium and somewhat lower deductible, with additional benefits and coverages that the lower-priced plan would not entail.
Of course, you can always offer the “top of the line” plan, one that may be purchased by anyone who can afford it. These employees may rather have lower copays and deductibles with a wide range or even full coverage; or these employees may visit the doctor and or hospital more often and want to pay lower co-pays. This plan comes with a higher premium cost and typically a lower deductible.
With the advent of COVID-19, you should offer plans that cover telemedicine visits. Due to COVID-19 concerns, many people have been forced to visit with their doctors via telehealth, which can occur over the phone or via video conferencing like Zoom. Most patients are seeing that these appointments are just as or even more effective because they are still receiving thorough care. As an added plus to these visits, family members or friends are now able to participate in the appointment. While removing travel time, telehealth visits allow for greater flexibility, along with less time away from work and family.
Mental health issues are on the rise due to COVID-19. According to a tracking poll conducted by KFF in mid-July of this year, 53 percent of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. This figure is significantly higher than the 32 percent reported in March. The implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance abuse has been an increased need for mental health care; therefore, you want to ensure you offer plans that provide this coverage.
In summary, when choosing insurance carriers and plan options, it’s best to ensure that you are utilizing a reputable insurance company and providing options that will simplify and improve employees’ lives, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the other natural disasters and turmoil that people are experiencing daily during these hard times.
At Simpatico, we are here to help you build your business for sustainable success, whether that’s through executive coaching, leadership development, or optimizing your human resources capabilities. Contact me today to start a conversation.