Is Your Medical Plan Healthy?

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By Tonya Glynn

It’s no secret that medical costs are on the rise. From prescriptions to procedures, individuals are often hit with unplanned expenses because they don’t have the right plan for their specific needs.

Business owners are often left with the difficult task of finding the essential balance of coverage that meets the health needs of employees, as well as the company’s financial criteria. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get lost in the details of plan selection.

Below are a few thoughts to keep in mind when considering your plan options.

Rate your current benefit plan offerings
This is a basic, but effective, way to measure your current coverage. Simply take a minute to rate your plans on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being excellent. Ask a few questions, like what do you think of the plan’s deductible? What about the office visit copays for primary care physicians and specialists? Are your doctors in network? If the overall satisfaction level is low, it may be time to consider a different plan that is better suited to your needs.

Meeting employees’ needs in the future
Think about your health coverage in the same way you think about your business by determining both short- and long-term goals. You may only have a handful of employees now, but what are your plans for five years down the road, and will your current health coverage still work? Or are you in a comfortable spot right now with no immediate plans for growth?

Also, keep in mind that benefits are often a key factor when prospective employees are considering a job offer. For current employees, a well-designed benefits package can help drive engagement and encourage them to stay on the job.

Consider the shortfalls and challenges of your current benefits
According to a recent Glassdoor survey, nearly four in five employees would prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase, with health insurance near the very top of the list. Do your current offerings meet the needs of employees and your business plan?

When designing your plan, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • How customizable is your plan?
  • Is level plan funding available?
  • Is your coverage medically underwritten?
  • Is there an opportunity for a refund?
  • Is a broad network of providers available in the plan?
  • Are favorable rates available if you have a healthy group of employees?
  • Does it offer multiple plan deductible options?
  • What percentage or dollar amount is the company contributing to the medical insurance offering, if any?

Educate employees about benefits
Education is fundamental to ensuring the workers’ needs are met. Employee satisfaction often hinges on their understanding of the benefits that are offered and how they can best use their plans. For example, do your employees know where to look for in-network providers to lower their costs? Do they know when it’s appropriate to use an emergency room, urgent care, or clinical care based on their medical needs?

A healthy and informed workforce can have a significant positive impact on your company’s bottom line. A strategy to educate employees about plan offerings and how the benefits can be used in the changing health care market is often overlooked. The little things add up when it comes to care and costs, so it’s essential that employees understand how their medical coverage works before they need it.

Finding the right plan
You may be comfortable going it alone and choosing a health plan on your own. However, if you’re wary about the process, it may be beneficial to partner with a health insurance advisor or broker. An advisor will ease the burden and do most of the legwork for you, including:

  • Shopping the right plans and presenting you with premium quotes
  • Discussing alternative funding options
  • Implementing the plan and keeping you compliant with government regulations
  • Providing ongoing advocacy and support

Most importantly, a trusted advisor will take your overall objectives into consideration and work alongside you to create a successful plan.

NWFA’s advisor partnership
NWFA has partnered with Caravus to give you viable and affordable options for health coverage. With the collaboration, NWFA members will have one of the region’s largest privately owned insurance consultants on their side.

Caravus advisors can provide you with health coverage alternatives that fit your company’s needs and those of your employees. For more information on options, contact Caravus at
NWFA@caravus.com.

Tonya Glynn is Strategic Advisor for Caravus. She can be reached at glynnt@caravus.com.

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