As healthcare costs climb, the amount your company must pay for employee health benefits also increases. Unfortunately, the trend of health benefit costs rising faster than the rate of inflation is expected to continue. Unpredictable and uncontrollable health insurance rate increases are having a very serious financial impact on most employers.
For years, employers have worked fiercely to absorb increasing premium costs to avoid placing the burden onto their employees. Unfortunately, many companies have reached their breaking point and have come to the realization that it’s necessary, just to stay afloat, to pass a portion of the increased costs onward. In addition to increasing employee contributions, employers are also making drastic plan design changes that may require greater out-of-pocket spending when the medical services are utilized (increased coinsurance, deductibles or copayments).
Though the downtrodden economy still rears its ugly head, many companies are seeking ways to lower their overall healthcare costs, while still offering employees a comprehensive benefits package. Below we’ve listed some ways to manage benefit costs.
Innovative Ways to Save
1. Offer voluntary benefits as a way to help employees, even though your budget may be tight. Since group rates are often less expensive than individual policy coverage, offering voluntary benefits may be just the ticket for employees who want specialized coverage.
2. Offer a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) in conjunction with a wellness program. Pair incentives of the program with the health plan through premium discounts.
3. Conduct a dependent eligibility audit. This can weed out ineligible dependents and could produce significant savings.
4. Show your employees how much healthcare costs by providing information about what the true costs of their benefits really are. Cost transparency can lead to employees making smarter, more economical decisions about their health.
5. Encourage your employees to use generic medications versus brand name medications. Promoting the $4 generic prescription program through Target and Wal-Mart is a great place to start.
6. Redesign your three-tier prescription plan to encourage lower-cost generic usage. You may also consider not covering expensive, lifestyle-type, medications or possibly creating a fourth tier to your plan covering them at an increased rate.
7. Promote low-cost health screenings, health fairs and on-site clinic care.
8. Inherit a top-down approach when promoting health and wellness. Upper management should be the first to get health assessments and screenings to show employees how important preventative care is in reducing overall costs.
9. Analyze carrier data to identify common chronic diseases or conditions within your organization, and implement a disease management program to educate employees, prevent their conditions from worsening, and ensure that they are properly managing their conditions.
10. Routinely educate employees on smart consumerism strategies, the importance of preventive care and the availability of low-cost medical or prescription options in your area.