Changing employee health plans is a major decision for any employer, regardless of size. Not only is health insurance a costly commitment, but it also impacts recruitment capabilities, retention levels, and overall employee satisfaction. The right plan can improve employee health, boost morale and increase attraction and retention without unduly straining your organization’s budget. When deciding if it’s time to change your health plans, knowing how to proceed can be daunting. Here are some considerations you should weigh before changing health plans.
1. Overall Plan Costs
Understanding employee needs and setting priorities to meet those needs can help you determine whether they are getting the most out of their health plans. These plans need to be affordable to both you and your employees. The cost of health plans can differ widely depending on type, design and risk pool. As with any significant decision, proper research is essential. Selecting the cheapest plan may seem like the best idea, but always consider the entire picture before changing plans, especially based solely on price. This may include evaluating coverage options, funding arrangements, integration of benefits, customer support, and employee health and morale.
2. Quality of Benefits
While minimizing expenses is often the priority for most employers, changing health plans doesn’t have to sacrifice the quality of benefits for lower costs. Prioritizing a health plan that provides valuable care options benefits both the organization and employees. By reviewing your current plans, you can determine what benefits you're currently offering and, for self-insured or level-funded plans, whether your employees are using them. Don't be afraid to ask employees if there are benefits they need or want that aren’t currently being offered. Deciding which benefits must be included can help you effectively design the right health plan for your employees and their families.
3. Employee Health and Well-being
Since health plans are expensive, you will need to choose health plans that your employees will use to help them stay healthy. Selecting plans that provide access to a wide range of primary care providers and specialists can be more valuable to employees than opting for cheaper alternatives. While restricting access to care is tempting as a cost-saving measure, it’s usually not an effective strategy and tends to lead to denied care, decreasing employee satisfaction and could also increase turnover rate.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health has become a bigger priority for employees and many expect employers to provide them with mental health benefits. Offering valuable and desired benefits can lead to improved employee attraction and retention rates, and support in the ongoing development of overall healthy company culture.
4. Technology Offerings
Health plans with improved technology offerings, such as telemedicine, can expand employee access to care and broaden their network of health care professionals. Mobile and web tools can simplify care by assisting your employees with locating providers, scheduling treatments, and maintaining price transparency. When deciding whether to change health plans, you should consider choosing plans that increase employee access to benefits through technology, while increasing ease of use and transparency of coverage.
5. Contribution Strategy
Employers and employees typically share the costs of health care, with employers bearing the majority of plan expenses. Shrinking budgets have forced some employers to evaluate different contribution strategies. An effective contribution strategy can align your budget concerns while maximizing employees’ use of their benefits. Not only can this improve affordability, enrollment and employee satisfaction, but it can also boost your organization's morale and productivity.
There are many things to consider before changing health plans. Finding the best plans require employers to balance multiple considerations. While many employers focus on lowering expenses, looking beyond costs can help your organization find plans that best fit the unique needs and are most beneficial to your employees.