Employers offer their employees group health insurance plans to enrich the benefits provided to their workforce and to retain and attract skilled employees. Adding value to your benefit package is always a top consideration for a forward thinking, successful company. While the goal is usually to add value, be sure that is what your health insurance plan provides.
1) Is your main goal in offering a Group Insurance Plan to your employees to provide benefit to your employee group?
While employers strive to provide a healthy benefit package to their employers, businesses are also concerned with keeping costs down. In an attempt to control costs, some employers may skimp on coverage to the point that a plan is more of a burden than a benefit package.
Be sure to work with your broker to learn all the options available with group insurance plan options before deciding on a plan that offers coverage of little value.
2) Will the company contribute to the Group Health Insurance Plan?
An employer contribution makes a big difference in the value of any group insurance plan. If fully funded by strictly employee contributions, it would normally be too much of a burden on employees to pay premiums for a plan that offers scant coverage. With an employer contribution, group health insurance plans are more viable and see more reasonable renewals for a longer lasting benefit package.
Employers may consider 3% to 5% of total gross wages as a reasonable range of contribution for employee benefits; this is in addition to any contribution to retirement plans. Be sure to speak with your broker about a combination of group insurance and retirement plan options to provide a benefit package with value, at a reasonable cost.
3) Will your group health insurance plan be a condition of employment, or an “a la carte” type of plan?
In Québec, if you offer your employees a group insurance plan, it is considered mandatory that every employee participates. An “A la Carte” type of plan allows employees to pick and choose the coverage that they wish to take from that plan, however, these are often only available for large groups.
If giving employees the choice to either opt in or out of coverages, they should be fully aware of the implications of their decision should a condition arise in which they would change their mind. In many cases, it is not possible to sign up later after an initial offering, and especially upon a new diagnosis or catastrophe.
This is why a mandatory meeting should be held with all employees present and a group health insurance professional present to explain the plan design, options, coverages and implications of their decision. If employees waive their coverage, they should sign a disclosure form stating that they have been made fully aware of their options, and consequences of their decision.
4) Are you looking at the total benefits included rather than just the cost?
Employers that focus solely on costs are missing the point of providing a valuable group insurance plan benefit package. While keeping costs low is a high priority, the benefits must add value and be a viable package that will continue to be available in the long-run.
What you don’t want to do is switch carriers every couple of years in an attempt to cut costs. This does not mean that you should not change carriers, but you should work closely with your insurance broker to determine the best package for your company and your employees, with the total benefits package in mind and the likelihood of continuing those plans into the future.
5) Are you prepared to provide educational material, meetings and support to employees to enhance understanding in their benefits, and prevent misuse?
Knowledge is power, and informed employees make better decisions. If you don’t want your employees running to you at all hours asking questions about how to handle a claim or where to find the information they need, schedule an informative, mandatory meeting so that all employees understand their benefits and know how to use them. Your group insurance broker will be more than happy to lead an engaging employee meeting to answer all their questions. It is well worth the time and preparation to get everyone up to speed and provide an informative FAQ session on any insurance coverage.
Even if you renew to the same plan with no changes, an annual meeting always brings up questions and answers, and is a good reminder to your workforce of the valuable benefit package they have been provided with.
Score Financial Works with You on Group Insurance Plans
Score Financial is a knowledgeable group health insurance broker with over twenty-five years of experience providing viable and valuable group benefits to employers and employees. We assist with deciphering the many options available and matching coverage to your budget.
We invite business owners and managers to contact Score Financial today for a Complimentary Analysis, and to learn more about the group insurance plan options available to you and your employees.