Finding health insurance for employees has never been easy, but it certainly used to be easier. Still, savvy employers can cut insurance costs, assures Mamaroneck’s Rick B. Lehrer, founding partner of Cambridge Life Brokerage, LLC. Here, Lehrer shares the five tips for making sure you don’t end up paying more than you have to.
Track Your Costs Some plans now have a monthly report that tracks how money is being spent, and they allow you to tweak coverage based on what you see. So, for instance, if the premiums your young, healthy workforce pay go to prescription coverage for the cholesterol drugs they don’t need rather than to the ER trips for their kids’ broken arms that they do need, you and your employees are wasting money and should shift your benefits accordingly. Lehrer points out that some firms that track their costs have seen year-to-year decreases in premiums.
Start a Wellness Plan Healthy employees are cheaper to insure, and healthy employees aren’t likely to call in sick much. “Productivity will often be increased, as well, due to decreased absenteeism,” says Lehrer.
Institute Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts These employee-employer agreements to put aside extra money from an employee’s check help employees save for expenses their insurance won’t cover, from long hospital stays to co-pays. The benefit, Lehrer says, comes from the tax deduction employees and employers alike can take.
Invest in Benefit Administration Technology According to Lehrer, this refers to technologies that allow workers to administer their benefits the same way they administer their payroll through ADP. “There’s one platform where employees can terminate or change coverage, add or delete dependents, et cetera,” Lehrer says. Again, the savings come through efficiency. “It allows HR departments to eliminate multiple forms. And in some cases, HR errors have been reduced by up to forty to fifty percent.”
Think Beyond Physical Health Lehrer maintains that companies are beginning to pair up with their insurance companies to offer employees one-stop, in-house help for their financial wellness as well—planning for retirement, refinancing a mortgage, saving for kids’ educations, or even writing up a will. “Employers realize that employees’ financial health has a direct link to their productivity,” he says.