Given the current state of our economy and the job market (see Healthcare in Crisis: 14,000 Losing Coverage Each Day), just about every company in business today is scrutinizing the expense side of its P&L reports to find some savings. Companies are reviewing the value of each of their service relationships (business consultants, insurance advisers, attorneys, payroll processors, etc.) to make sure they are getting the appropriate value from these relationships. At the same time, Employers are evaluating their current staffing levels in light of new short term business forecasts, and contemplating making some tough decisions.
This pressure on vendors to add value coupled with a less competitive employment environment represent a real opportunity for employer groups to make major changes to their benefit plan offering. Their employees (with fewer employment options) will be more receptive to changes while their service vendors (with fewer new business opportunities) will be more apt to support the implementation of these changes for existing clients.
The result for employers can be somewhat of a clean starting point for their benefits planning process – allowing them to answer these questions while designing their plan:
1. What do I offer in the way of employee benefits and WHY?
2. Does my benefit plan (as it is structured today) help me accomplish the WHY from Q1?
3. How does it do that? How could it do that better?
4. What essential systems (payroll, accounting, HRIS, etc.) do I currently have in place?
5. How are those systems being used to manage my employee and benefit data?
6. How do I make sure that my employees appreciate the value of the benefits I provide?
7. What is my broker doing to help me with all of this?
As your group plans renew this year, I encourage all employers to ask themselves these questions and really think about the answers. Use this time to proactively design a plan that helps accomplish your business goals rather than waiting passively for your next rate increase (or governmental program).
See previous blog post – 5 Tips for Stretching Employer’s Healthcare Dollar