10 Steps to Design a Benefits Plan

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Regardless of your company’s size, creating a benefits strategy is essential to meeting the needs of your employees and your organization’s budget. Benefits programs are often one of the most substantial costs that employers face. From a monetary perspective, benefits account for approximately 40% of the total compensation package offered to employees.

Allowing your employees to select the personal benefits available to them will hopefully improve retention rates. But they can also cost you due to turnover from employees who leave for a better benefits package. In an SHRM job satisfaction and engagement survey, close to one-third of the respondents shared that they would likely look elsewhere for a job in the next 12 months due to their current employer’s benefits package. To avoid the latter scenario and to create a benefits plan to meet your organization’s budget, consider the following steps as a guide.  

by Chris Freitas

Tips to Make Benefits Education Important and Available to Your Employees

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Employee benefits offerings and programs vary between employers; however, standard offerings include medical insurance, retirement plan benefits, life insurance, disability insurance, paid time off, tuition reimbursement, dental insurance, and vision insurance. Many companies offer additional benefits options and company perks. It’s common knowledge that benefits are important to employees, so it might be surprising that employees often don’t know all of the benefits and perks that are available to them through their employer. It’s also common for employees to take a passive role when selecting their benefits.

Though typically not to the same degree, benefits offerings can vary from year to year as much within a single organization as they do between different organizations. The variation and yearly changes can make understanding benefits confusing for employees. Considering that benefits cost an average of 40% of an employee’s total compensation package and are tied to a company’s employee value proposition, we encourage employers to take a vested interest in helping employees understand their benefits package. Poor benefit plan choices can cost both the employee and employer money, an avoidable scenario if proper benefits education ensues.

As shared by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), in a survey sponsored by the disability provider Unum, 79% of the 1,521 adult workers who responded and rated their benefits education as very good to excellent also rated their employer the same. In the same survey, only 30% of respondents who rated their benefits education as fair or poor rated their employer as very good or excellent. These results imply that employee benefits education is linked to the employee’s perception of their employer and ties to overall job satisfaction.

With years of research and experience in supporting clients with benefits implementation and management, we understand the common challenges that come with employee engagement. Fortunately, we know a thing or two about how to support employers to move through and beyond these challenges.  

by Chris Freitas

Focus on the Employee Value Proposition and Why Benefits Matter

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

An employee value proposition (EVP) is offered by organizations to employees for their skills and experiences. One component of an organization’s EVP is the benefits it offers to its employees. In a Society for Human Resource Management study, nearly 90% of participants reported that benefits impacted their overall job satisfaction, and one-third considered leaving their current employer in the next 12 months for a job with better benefits. There’s no denying that good benefits help attract and retain employees in a competitive job market.

Given that the cost of healthcare is a leading cause of stress for Americans, medical benefits are still a priority for employees. If an unforeseen medical event occurs, employees want to know that they and their dependents are taken care of without the extra stress of having to wonder how they’re going to cover their medical expenses.

With the cost of medical insurance on the rise, however, businesses of all sizes — especially small businesses — must find creative ways to offer cost-effective health benefits to employees. Fortunately, there are health reimbursement accounts, health savings accounts, medical expense reimbursement plans, and high-deductible plans that can make providing employee health benefits more affordable. There are also additional affordable benefits that employers can offer to attract and retain employees as part of their EVP.  

by Chris Freitas

What Are the Top Benefits Employees Crave Most for 2020?

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

The job market continues to shift from being employer-driven to candidate-driven. As a result, it’s more important than ever for employers to offer competitive compensation packages to attract, hire, and retain employees. The benefits component of a compensation package is an important determining factor when employees consider a job offer. In many instances, a candidate will prefer an employment offer with a lower salary but the best benefits over a higher salary with little or no benefits.

As new generations enter the workforce and weigh in on what’s important to them, there has also been a shift in the types of benefits and perks offered as part of a candidate’s benefits package. As more and more workplaces consider employee benefits trends and implement non-traditional benefits to support employees’ requests, employers have room to be creative and offer benefits that cost less than traditional benefits. Medical insurance, however, as well as some other traditional benefits, is still considered one of the top employee benefits.

by Chris Freitas

QSEHRA - A Benefits Plan Tailored for Small Business

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

With the launch of the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) in January 2020, it is a good time to review Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) in general.

As employers of all sizes and phases of growth seek the best health insurance plans for valued employees, an HRA small business plan often ticks all the crucial boxes that serve everyone’s needs.

The Qualifying Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA) is an important member of the HRA family of benefits, as it provides important options for employers with fewer than 50 employees.

by Chris Freitas

What is QSEHRA

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

With the anticipation of the January 2020 launch of the new Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) option, called the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), it is important to take a look at its precursor — the Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA).

In February 2019, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shared data from 2018, which disclosed information from the National Business Group on Health. Statistics showed the average annual health plan premium for employer-based family coverage had risen 5% to $19,616 and 3% for single coverage, for a total amount of $6,896.

Such dramatic increases in healthcare costs make it challenging for employers and employees to manage, but it is vital that both do so to maintain good health for each individual and for the business itself.

Since the challenge has become so great over the past few decades, HRA plans offer dutiful employers new ways to provide health insurance benefits to their employees.

by Chris Freitas

A Guide to HRA Rules with a Focus on the HRA Final Rule and ICHRA

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Providing quality health insurance at an affordable price remains a vital concern for employers, employees, and providers. Leaders continue to search for options to fit the broad variety of needs and specific circumstances of involved parties.

Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) options have become increasingly popular over the past decade. Perhaps one reason why business leaders appreciate this flexible option is that it helps save money while offering an increasing number of expansions.

These expansions address the issues challenging modern employers who want to help employees maintain good health and well-being while still maintaining their own budget and making sure it’s affordable for all employees. With varied HRA rules and extensions, it isn’t too surprising that HRAs are set to increase more than 50% from 2017 to 2020.

With new HRA options come new HRA account rules. The new HRA rules, coming in 2020, have created the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) and the Excepted Benefit HRA.

Let’s take a closer look at the Final Rule, ICHRA, and some HRA essentials.

by Chris Freitas

What Is ICHRA and What Does This HRA Expansion Plan Mean?

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Employers continue facing challenges in providing quality healthcare options for valued employees. Between out-of-control health insurance costs, reduced employee retention, and ACA non-compliance, employers need meaningful alternative options in healthcare.

Dutiful employers have sought solutions in traditional and non-traditional healthcare options with varying degrees of success, but a potential game-changer lies on the horizon.

The Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) becomes available in January 2020 to businesses of all types and sizes, offering new hope to employers in providing high-quality, affordable healthcare to employees.

by Chris Freitas

What is a Captive?

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Has your organization brought up the possibility of joining a captive insurance company? Perhaps your executive team wants to hear about options from you and your HR staff, but you need more information. Read below to get your most pertinent questions answered.

by Chris Freitas

What is a MERP?

Employee Benefits, Health Care, HR, Human Resources, Insurance, Health Care Cost

Smart business leaders and diligent human resource teams stay alert to alternative health plans to better serve their employees’ healthcare interests and their own organizations’ budgets. Employers continue to search for comprehensive yet affordable ways to provide health insurance for their valued employees.  

Employers are increasingly considering options, such as a medical expense reimbursement plan (MERP), which offers businesses a tax-free benefit, rather than the traditional benefits route, such as group health insurance. 

by Chris Freitas