Getting Started with Group Benefits
The time has come for your business to offer some type of group benefit plan to your employees. The choice on which plan can be overwhelming; so many choices and different factors; different carriers, different types of plans, and even a choice of brokers like us. Before you make any decision, there are five questions you should ask yourself:
- What my first step to offering a group benefit plan?
Before offering a group benefit plan, you need to know what your objectives are and understand the needs of your employees.
Identifying your objectives
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
- What is the reason you plan to offer health benefits?
- What will the program’s primary goals be?
- What is the annual budget for providing coverage?
- What happens if one employee has a major health crisis?
Understanding and identifying employee needs
What are your employees’ needs and how will they change over time? (A team made up of single twenty-somethings will have different priorities than married 40-year-olds with kids.) needs.
We work with our clients and their employees to determine what plan best meets their needs and objectives. We often customize the plan based on employee feedback and employer’s parameters.
2. What are the most popular kinds of employee benefit plans?
There are three popular plans; Traditional Plans, Health Care Spending Accounts (HCSA) and Flexible Plans.
With a traditional plan, an employer provides standard benefits to its employees. Traditional plans commonly include:
- Extended health care coverage for prescription drugs, paramedical services such as massage therapy and physiotherapy, private or semi-private hospital coverage, vision care, emergency medical travel coverage and other eligible services;
- Dental coverage;
- Life insurance;
- Accidental death and dismemberment insurance;
- Short-term and long-term disability insurance;
- Critical illness; and
- Employee assistance programs.
Depending on their budget, employers can provide full coverage or share some of the costs with employees by including deductibles, co-payment amounts or coverage maximums. Employees will also often be required to pay a portion of the premium.
Health Care Spending Accounts (HCSAs)
An HCSA is basically a health benefits bank account set up for each employee to use. HCSA benefit dollar amounts are established by the employer at the start of a pre-defined benefit period. When employees spend their own money on eligible products and services for themselves and/or their dependents, these expenses can be reimbursed through their HCSA up to the predetermined maximum.
Flexible Benefits Plans
Flexible – or flex – plans allow employers to meet the diverse needs and demographics of their workforce without breaking the bank. Rather than offering a defined benefits package and paying premiums based on claims paid by the plan, flex plans allow employers to define their contribution levels for the benefit period. Employees use those contributions – known as flex credits or flex dollars – to purchase benefits that meet their personal needs and the needs of their family.
- Which benefits option is the best for your company?
The option that you choose needs to meet the needs of your company. Some common needs and related options are:
- Need to control employer costs with offering employee’s flexibility.
- Need to attract & retain top talent.
- Need to provide industry competitive benefits with the highest value and lowest cost.
At Group Benefits, we work our clients to create options that are customized specifically to our clients needs and the needs of their employees.
- How does each plan complement employee wellness?
Employee wellness now encompasses both health and financial wellness. Our experience helps us to advise businesses on how to create plans that support employee wellness with minimal financial pressure on the employer.
- Can this plan be customized to meet the specific needs of my small business?
At Group Benefits, we work with the most well-known carriers in the insurance business. We know the advantages and disadvantages of every plan and which plan can be most easily customized to address specific needs. Some plans are very flexible, and others offer better rates, but limited coverage. Our team will select the top plans for you and explain why they are the best choice for you and your employees.