It's that time of year again--the leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter, and your employees are thinking about which of your benefits offerings they want to take advantage of during Open Enrollment.
Often during this time of year, companies are also thinking about which benefits really make sense for their business, and wondering how they can keep up with bigger competitors who have deeper pockets, particularly when it comes to keeping employees healthy.
Offering great health benefits makes sense for a couple of reasons. First, health benefits are highly valued by employees, so they help with attracting and retaining talent. And of course, keeping employees healthy can improve their productivity and reduce their time away from work.
I was recently at HealthBeat and meet Better. Geoffrey Clapp CEO ofBetter said"we find that employers are looking for services that address bothadministrativeand clinical decisions easier. Most HR departments can be helpful with health plan information, but have to stop there. Our Personal Health Assistants helps provide a one-stop "do-it-for-you" advocate for everything from fighting medical bills to connecting to a nurse 24 hours a day. Our goal is to simplify a very complex healthcare system."
These days, there are a number of high-value health care benefits you can offer employees that won't break the bank.
Here are three health care benefits to consider.
Flexible Spending Accounts.
A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a tax-favored program you can offer to employees that lets them pay for eligible out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars. This not only reduces your employees' taxable income (lowering their effective tax rate), but also saves them up to 20-40% on their out-of-pocket health care expenses and dependent care.
You won't just make your employees happy with these benefits; your business also stands to save about 8% on every dollar most employees set aside for their flex plan, among other cost savings.
A popular service that lets any company offer these types of benefits is WageWorks. For just a few dollars a month per employee, WageWorks will help you set up and administer an FSA program for your employees with very little hassle.
Near-Site Primary Care.
On-site primary care is a big-company strategy for reducing health care costs and keeping employees healthy: one out of three large employers have this amenity. Employees benefit from the convenience, and employers save big on medical costs by guaranteeing their employees can be seen when sick.
Hosting a full-time doctor in the office is too expensive for most companies, but some have found that giving employees access to near-site primary care is the next best thing at a much lower cost.
For example, many companies now offer memberships to One Medical Group, a near-site primary care system with conveniently located in urban areas across the country, including San Francisco, Washington, DC and Manhattan. Companies pay a small annual fee for each employee, which gives their team access to same-day and next-day appointments, extended office hours, virtual care options. One Medical also offers many wellness programs (such as flu shots, biometric screening, and condition specific programs) that big employers get through on-site care as well. Employees can visit their local office and provider, or see any One Medical provider across the country, which is also a boon for frequent business travelers.
An added bonus: research shows that providing near-site primary care through One Medical can also help you lower your overall health care costs. An independent analysis conducted by Milliman found that One Medical's approach lowered employers' health care costs by 8%, with members requiring 25% fewer ER visits, 31% fewer specialty care visits, and 39% fewer hospital visits (as well as 9% higher generic dispensing).
Self-Funded Health Plans.
With health insurance costs rising every year, the vast majority of large employers now self-fund their health plans. With self-funding, the employer pays all the medical claims for their population, in effect, forming their own risk pool. But while large employers have been using self-funding for decades, the complexity and cost of implementation has prevented smaller companies from taking advantage of these plans to date.
The good news is that implementing an employer health strategy no longer has to be an expensive and time-consuming process. Companies such as Collective Health now offer turnkey solutions for self-funded health plans, using technology and process automation to eliminate many of the labor-intensive steps that made self-funding so costly in the past. Collective Health offers self-funded healthcare strategies for employers with as few as 100 employees.