Employee benefits: How employers can reduce healthcare costs

Everybody knows employees are a company’s most important resource. However, it’s safe to say most employers also feel a special responsibility toward employees, especially if they’ve worked closely for a number of years.

For both reasons, every employer should work with a group insurance advisor like Midlands Financial in Lincoln, Nebraska, to offer the best possible employee benefits–particularly healthcare benefits.

Recent changes in the healthcare environment have made this difficult. The cost of health care itself and the cost of healthcare coverage have skyrocketed. Employers find they must provide healthcare benefits with higher premiums and fewer perks.

There’s been a lot of talk about putting part of the burden on employees. This usually means higher co-pays and deductibles. It’s called cost shifting, and it does make sense given the challenges we all are facing.

However, employers can do other things to help reduce costs and soften the burden of cost shifting for employees. Below are a few ideas. If you are an employee, you can encourage your company to consider these actions and improve the employee benefits situation for all of you.

Employee Benefits Tips: Health Care

1. Create a wellness program, or bolster the one you have. Having healthier employees not only reduces sick days and improves productivity, it also reduces the number of healthcare claims. In the long run, this could reduce the cost of health care, and it could reduce premiums. A great wellness program and lower premiums can help employers capture and keep the best workers.

2. Negotiate with insurance companies. Nobody says an employer has to settle for the first plan presented. Even if a company has already chosen the insurance company it wants to work with, plan administrators should put a little pressure on to create the best deal possible. Otherwise, the company could end up with an average plan and average or higher than average costs.

3. Analyze claim data, educate employees and make changes. For example, conditions showing up frequently in claims maybe are being reported more often than necessary. An employer could share this with employees and ask them to claim these conditions only when necessary. Educating employees about the plan and resulting claims will make them more accountable and responsible, especially if you can show how their actions could affect costs in a positive way.

The point is to take the time necessary to think creatively about ways you can improve your employee benefits program in regard to health care. Working with your company’s insurance advisor to think outside the box now can help reduce costs for everybody later–not to mention improving the health of colleagues you care about.

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