Group health insurance can help you attract or retain quality talent; however the premium costs are often quite overwhelming for both business owners and employees. Annual premiums for the average family on an employer-sponsored health insurance are now exceeding $18,000. Premiums are rising at a slower rate in the last couple of years, which helps workers and employers alike, but this is due to the fact that employers are purchasing much higher deductible plans for their employees. I’ve provided a few things to look for when evaluating your Group Health Insurance Program.
Covering spouses and dependents
Many employers are cutting back coverage for spouses and dependents due to a variety of reasons such as size or complying with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over 50% of employers are using spousal surcharges when coverage is available elsewhere. Many employers are reducing or eliminating contributions for spouses and dependents or dropping the coverage all together. In order to control cost with a flat dollar amount, 40% of employers are considering adopting a defined contribution strategy. Whatever your business decides to do, this is an area where you have the flexibility to adjust and make changes to your plan.
Utilizing your Data
Employers are looking for results from their group health investment and more and more insurance companies are becoming transparent. Nearly 75% of employers are planning to use claims data to evaluate plan performance and employee lifestyle changes. Utilize your Insurance Agency or Insurance Company for value added services such as TROXELL’s claims analyst. TROXELL will help your business pinpoint medical and prescription cost drivers with accurate and actionable reporting and analysis. Your insurance agent should help uncover cost-saving opportunities through utilizing your current data.
Several insurance companies are offering “narrow networks” as a way to save premium dollars and manage expenses. Think of this as “buying in bulk”. It is easier for doctors to access vital data within these narrow networks through their electronic record system allowing quick sharing of important medial information. Employees have the ability to search and compare the cost and outcome of services rendered by physicians. The trend of passing responsibility on to the employee will continue but can have its disadvantages.
The use of telemedicine services is rapidly rising. Telemedicine is a great way for employees to receive immediate attention for the everyday colds, flus, bumps and bruises. Telemedicine offers numerous benefits for both doctors and patients such as remote access, specialist availability, cost savings, and convenient care.
Employers recognize the importance of a healthy workforce and continue to encourage employees to take control of their health. Wellness programs can affect your company’s bottom line in many ways such as lowering health care costs, increasing productivity, decreasing absenteeism and raising employee morale. The focus for many employers continues to be employee engagement and accountability. Employers will continue to strive for a workplace culture where employees are responsible for their health and incent for participation in wellness programs. Some agencies, like TROXELL, offers tools such as wellness programs, newsletters, and posters that your company can utilize for no added cost.
To summarize, there are many scenarios to consider when reviewing your current group health insurance plan. Although price is important, there are many other factors to take into consideration. Work with a trusted group benefits insurance advisor, like TROXELL, so they can walk you through the process and make sure that you are getting the most for you and your employee’s money. Many independent insurance agencies and insurance companies offer value added services that you may not be aware of. Take advantage and asks for these services from your agent to help make your job easier. For more information on the services TROXELL provides, please visit our website.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joe Ludtke is an independent insurance agent specializing in Group Benefits at TROXELL, a full service insurance agency headquartered in Springfield, IL. He has been recognized nationally as one of the top Worksite Marketing Agents. Joe handles the benefits of clients in a variety of industries, such as municipalities, school districts, non-profits, and more. He is extremely involved in all aspects of plan management and service. Joe is a licensed producer in the State of Illinois for Life, Accident and Health and also Property and Casualty. He regularly attends broker summits to monitor changes in the industry which may impact his clients. To learn more about Joe and the rest of the TROXELL Team, visit www.troxellins.com.