Employee benefits plans are evolving. Don’t be left behind.



The health insurance industry is constantly striving to find ways to reduce costs. What this means is to reduce claims and encourage wellness. Spurred by recent events such as COVID and it’s impact on how and where employees work, new benefit programs have been introduced and/or bundled with existing plans.

Employers who fail to take advantage of these new trends will experience higher premiums, dissatisfied employees (leading to losses in productivity) and eventually may even lose valuable employees (causing higher retention and recruiting costs).

Since COVID there has been a lot of attention paid to employee stress – mental health, financial, caregiving, chronic conditions and the toll they take on both the employee and his/her dependents. Too much stress results in lower productivity as seen in presenteeism, increase absenteeism and decreased morale. All of this mean lower profits for a business.

Employers who want to stay current and provide employees with the best employee benefits program possible. Need to first understand what their employees use and don’t use in the current program, what they would like to have and/or be willing to trade off for, and how the current benefit design supports the company’s enterprise planning. A simple survey can answer many of these questions.

Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Preventive Care: While these services are covered without a deductible or coinsurance, many employees still do not take advantage of them. Incentivizing employees to get an annual exam and screening can go a long way in preventing major claims before they happen.
  • Wellness Programs: These programs encourage employees to make healthy lifestyle choices which can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases. These can include things like onsite flu shots, nutrition classes, discounts on gym memberships and smoking cessation
  • On demand services: Scheduling an in-person appointment with a physician can mean a long wait (think months) before actually seeing the doctor. This is where telemedicine and subscription programs shine. They make it much easier for an employees and their families to get the care they need when they need it.
  • Keeping current on regulations and reporting: While carriers will handle a lot of this for small employers, those that are self-insured or have over 50 employees may need to report on things such as drug usage, employee coverage and contributions. Employers who do not stay up to date with these regulations could be held liable and fined.
  • Additional programs that make an impact on stress reduction and let employees know they are valued include:
  • Retirement Plan with an Employer Match: Many employers offer 401(k) plans but don’t encourage employees to participate by matching a portion of their contribution. The message that comes across is “your retirement is up to you.” Even a small match shows they are valued.
  • Financial Literacy: Not knowing how to manage money or plan for the future results in an enormous amount of stress causing health issues, lower productivity and reduced profits. Help with these issues goes a long way.

· Caregiving and Long Term Care Insurance: Caregiving is one of the top three most stressful life events. Not knowing if they are making the right decisions, where to find qualified care, legal necessities (living wills, trusts, power of attorney, etc.) and their own life and work obligations take a tremendous toll. There are new employer based programs that support caregivers and programs to help all employees plan for their own long term care needs in the future.

An experienced broker can guide an employer to which programs and strategies will be most effective. By implementing the right ones an employer can remain competitive, encourage employee loyalty, attract and retain top talent.

Patti Goldfarb is the Principal of the Employee Benefits Advisors Group. She works with small and mid-sized companies throughout the United States. Contact her at pgoldfarb@ebagroup.net for a complementary consultation