Benefits agency advises amployers on their employee benefits programs
TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — We’re all familiar with our personal and corporate credit scores and the impact they have on our interest rates and purchasing power.
In fact, if you knew you would be making a major purchase at the end of the year, you would probably check your credit score to be sure you were ready and would get the best interest rate.
If your score was lower than you’d like, you’d want to know what can be done. You’d learn that correcting credit issues takes time, so you’d start right away.
However, few businesses realize that decisions related to their employee benefits plans have parallels to credit scores in that they are affected by what might be called the organization’s Employee Benefits Score, according to Rob Pariseau, executive vice president and employee benefit practice leader at Lykes Insurance.
Learning the benefits decision ‘factors’
“Each year, your benefits plans will renew. New rates will be determined and you and your employees will be faced with important decisions,” says Pariseau. “The factors affecting these decisions are your Employee Benefits Score (EBS). Every business needs to know their Employee Benefits Score, what they can do to improve it and when they should start.”
Pariseau says that the EBS has three major components, all of which can be improved with the proper planning:
Engagement and understanding
Although benefits can be boring and complex, benefits decisions can make or break a family’s finances and access to necessary care. It’s important to make benefits communications understandable – and even engaging and informative.
Unfortunately, annual benefits enrollment meetings have seldom been teachable moments. Employees enter frustrated and confused, unsure of what they should do, and may leave even more confused and unhappy. They don’t realize how their participation can lead to better benefits decisions – because they’ve never been asked to think about their needs and options.
One good place to start may be a survey. What do employees find most confusing? How do they want to learn and when, during annual enrollment or during a slow time over the summer? How do they want to hear from you — by paper, email, text or on an app?
The enrollment experience
Very few employees look forward to annual enrollment, so they hurry through it as quickly as possible. Yet they’ll spend hours researching an appliance or television purchase that costs a fraction of their benefits. Why? Probably because they don’t see the value of putting time into their benefits decisions.
As the employer, you should determine your goals for enrollment. Will you be minimizing change or rolling out a new initiative? What were the pros and cons of last year’s efforts? How do they want to enroll — call center, one on one, online? Do they want to involve spouses? Would they try an interactive decision support tool to help them make choices based on their needs – especially if the tool was fun to use?
Here are some factors to consider:
- Keeping your people healthy will contain costs over time. What combination of carrots and sticks will achieve this?
- If employees were better consumers of care, everyone would save, but what resources are available to help them research the cost and quality of their care?
- Given the Affordable Care Act’s taxes and fees on health premiums and deteriorating effect on insured pools, is self-funding appropriate?
- How can your carrier help?
- Which employees could and should be covered elsewhere, maybe by Medicare or spousal coverage? Could a private exchange provide some separation from unsustainable healthcare inflation?
- Is it time for telemedicine?
The bottom line for your EBS is taking the time to build a plan to engage employees, to reduce hassles for them as well as process-related headaches and costs for you. That’s what improves your EBS and keeps you and your employees happy with your benefits program.
About Lykes Insurance
Lykes Insurance was founded in 1925 by Lykes Bros. Inc., a 100 year-old privately held Florida-based company. As a premier commercial insurance firm with offices in Tampa, Fort Myers, Winter Park and Sarasota, Lykes Insurance focuses on building long lasting partnerships with companies and individuals, providing protection for businesses, managing risk and designing innovative employee benefit solutions. For more information, please visit www.lykesinsurance.com.