Resource Center

Underneath the Band-Aid

After 5 years of health care reform in play, employers are feeling they are no better off than they were before the implementation of the law. The questions being asked are, “did we just put a “Band-Aid” on the problem of health care cost and if so, is underneath that Band-Aid a health benefits wound that does not want to heal?”
Employers know their company’s financial performance can impact the value of the business, human capital, and their position of dominance in the marketplace. They are beginning to see the Band-Aid of a “short-term employee benefits plan” may not cut it anymore. The approach of doing the same thing year after year does nothing to heal the “wound” of controlling cost with health insurance benefits. Compliance demands, both ACA and HR, are ever pressing, both in time and cost. The Department of Labor and the IRS are now heavily involved with Health Care Reform and they are expecting companies to know what is going on; if not, employers need to find out.
Businesses need a strategy. It does not matter the size of the company, 2 employees to infinity. There needs to be a planned out strategic model that can yield unique and innovative ideas that will work for their company. Employers need to set specific priorities and goals in regards to their total compensation package, while being compliant.
So what does a strategic planning model look like? It involves a number of components in its procedure such as: discovery, analyzing, designing, building and then reviewing the structure. The reason this model is used is because it works better than other planning processes. It is critical that the planning gets commitment from the top in the beginning. In addition, to having top management and HR involved, it would be beneficial to bring in employees from key areas of the business, who can help identify issues not considered by top management. As mentioned, it would be helpful and valuable to engage a strategic HR benefit expert to facilitate your planning model.
The very first thing a business must do is decide on the WHY. Employers must know Why they want to offer not only benefits to employees but their compensation package as well.   There is a great book by Simon Sinek called “Start with Why”. Sinek talks about leaders being able to convey the vision of the company through Why. Hundreds of small to medium size companies have decided to let their employees go to the “exchange” to get their health insurance instead of continuing to offer an employer sponsored group health benefits plan. They did this because they found the answer to their Why and it just made good, sound sense for them and their employees to go that direction.
Employers have options and more control available than they think. No doubt, Obamacare and added government regulation has an impact on what employers can do both, with their employees and their benefits.   There are questions a company would consider to determine the Why, along with the direction the employer could choose for their benefits. There is no right or wrong answer, just thought provoking questions for businesses to answer “Why”. Also, the answers that the staff comes up with have to be truthful no matter how hard it is to accept.
  1. Are you offering benefits because it is the morally right thing to do?   What are the consequences for the company if you didn’t offer benefits and let employees go to the marketplace?
  2. Are you offering benefits to recruit and retain key employees, all employees and how is that working out for the company?
  3. Do you see a positive impact through productivity and absenteeism with those that have health insurance benefits and those that do not?
  4. Do your health benefit costs fit easily into your company’s budget? (Very important question to answer) One that is harder and harder for many to answer each year.
  5. Do you know how ACA (Affordable Health Care) Compliance will impact the business with the current benefit structure?
  6. Have you done both an HR/ACA Compliance Audit to determine how your current plan and overall compensation package would look to the IRS or DOL (Dept. of Labor)?
  7. How do your employees feel about the benefits being offered? Do they understand and appreciate them?
Once the questions are answered, then an agreement is made with the staff and help of a HR benefits advisor, as to what action steps are needed to lay out a strategic game plan. That game plan may consist of: review of options, resources and a series of action steps, like an HR audit that need to be taken. Then there is implementation and on-going review.   All based on the answers that come from the Why analysis.
To have a no The time is now to get to the “wound” of health care cost and start the healing process for your business.
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