The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed employers to reevaluate how they design and implement their employee benefits. Health insurance is the second largest expense for employers after salaries.
According to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2020, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance were $7,470 for single coverage and $21,342 for family coverage. Over the past year, coverage increased by 4%, while wages only increased by 3.4%.
When employers encourage their employees to improve their overall health, it shows workers that the company cares. It is also an important way to reduce absenteeism and create a more loyal and productive workforce.
To help employers take a more integrated approach to their health benefits design and connect the dots among medical, dental, and disability care, among others, UnitedHealthcare recently expanded its offerings to employers.
According to research from UnitedHealthcare, an integrated medical and specialty benefits plan can help employers achieve a reduction of up to 4% in annual medical costs.
To drive home the value of an integrated benefits approach to employers, Wiffler and UnitedHealthcare came up with five strategies to help organizations better design their benefits, reduce costs, and provide employees with a clear way to take control of their overall well-being.
Support whole-person health
Employees place great value on specialty benefits, including vision, dental, hearing, and financial wellness. These benefits are more than just pleasant to have. When employers provide the support that takes care of an individual holistically, they can promote more positive environments with less absenteeism and a more loyal and productive workforce.
Bundle and save
“Like lots of things we do in our daily lives, by combining multiple products, there are efficiencies that can be gained, and there are price advantages that can be extended to consumers,” Wiffler says. “We believe that there is an inherent administrative efficiency that comes by bundling, we’re very committed to bundling.”
Leverage big data and clinical insights
Integrated benefits can provide data to help employers genuinely understand their employees’ health and needs moving forward, according to Wiffler. For example, to support people with diabetes and periodontal disease, cross-checking dental and medical claim data can spotlight if an employee has missed a treatment or cleaning. Case managers can connect with employees to schedule those dental treatments, the benefits of which can help improve diabetes management.
Make the most of medications
“It’s an approach of making sure that medicinal compliances are adhered to, that refills are done at the appropriate time and place, that prescriptions are picked up,” Wiffler says. “Getting that phone call or text that a prescription is ready those are things that we love, those little nudges for the individual to stay compliant with that care protocol.”
Focus on behavioral health
“Four in 10 people reported symptoms of anxiety and depression as a result of COVID, and some of them may not have had those challenges before COVID,” Wiffler says. “There’s a real need to stay on top of the connection between behavioral health and overall health. Suicides and drug overdoses have spiked considerably, and these are all conditions that we need to be working together on to make sure we can prevent.”
Cosmo Insurance Agency is a full-service independent insurance agency based in Hackensack (Bergen County) and Lakewood (Ocean County), New Jersey that offers an all-encompassing range of insurance options for both individuals and businesses. Cosmo keeps its promise to assure an efficient and creative approach to the services we offer. Each of our clients experience a personalized and long-term relationship with us. Our New Jersey based team of health brokers guides our clients in helping them choose the most cost-effective options. By incorporating our knowledge of the insurance guidelines for healthcare, employee benefits, life insurance, self-insurance, dental, disability, and long term care insurance, we keep our clients up-to-date with affordable plans that cover all their specific insurance needs.