With open enrollment periods already upon most employee/employers the time to think about your healthcare coverage is right now. Approximately 99% of full-time workers have access to medical benefits. Whether you’re new to the working world or a long-time working stiff there’s a few trends to watch out for next year and going forward that could affect your employee benefits for small businesses and group health insurance plans alike. Here are three of the most important thanks to information from the U.S. financial and retirement news source, Money.USnews.com.
- Health and Wellness Programs: It’s safe to say, a healthy workforce is generally a more productive workforce. As more and more people are beginning to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices into their daily lives, it appears employers are starting to jump onboard and offer some incentives of their own. A 2015 survey of over 400 employers found that 80% of respondents currently offer wellness resources and information, while 5% plan to offer the benefit in the next 12 months, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).
Evren Esen is the director of survey programs at SHRM and has seen more employers and insurers offer help in the form of money, information and programs first-hand.
“A lot of employers are finding that wellness programs are helping not only to encourage their employees to be healthier, which impacts healthcare costs, but create a sense of community within their organizations,” Esen said.
- High-Deductible Plans: Half (50%) of employees cite employee benefits as an important reason they remain with their current employer. Unfortunately, one of the other common trends in the field is the move towards higher deductible plans. In fact, the average deductible rose from $584 in 2006 to $1,318 this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey.
- Automation: Just like virtually every other facet of society, automation and integration is becoming a huge part of human resource software and employee benefits. In total, 57% of companies plan to make a major new HR software purchase in the next 18 months.
“Clients want to automate delivery of information to us for enrollments, terminations or from their carrier for claims processing,” said Brooke Lanier, director of benefit services for PrimePay. “By integrating that with your [insurance] carrier, you don’t have to remember to file that claim to get reimbursed.”