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Top Priorities for Employer Sponsored Health Plans in 2013

  • By Lauri Paxton
  • 14 Jan, 2013

Healthcare is a major expense for employers.  With rising costs and changes in tax laws, employers and employees alike are taking ownership of their health.  These costs will affect the overall financial picture of a small business.  In addition to reviewing overall health plan benefits with insurance brokers, it may be wise to shop your company’s insurance program to other insurance brokers.

Many employers are asking employees to take a more active role in their health care by requiring blood work, verifying non-smoking habits and having employees and their spouse work with a health coach.  Overall lifestyle changes can lead to lower medical costs and allow for a partnership between the employee and the employer.

These tips can help a business owner plan for the health reform 2014 requirements:

  1. Prepare for the health reform law’s 2014 requirements.  Identify employees working 30 hours or more per week in 2013.  In 2014, employers will be required to offer qualified health coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours per week.   Employers will need to determine whether their health plan qualifies and inform employees about the new state exchanges. 
  2. Evaluate the level of benefits provided.  A consumer directed plan is a core benefit many employers are offering as a low-cost consumer directed plan.  Because of the additional costs of covering more employees, employer contributions toward healthcare will likely increase.  By offering a tiered health care program employees can choose to pay more for a higher level of service.
  3. Determine if private health exchanges have a place in your health benefits strategy.  Employers are considering private exchanges for retirees and active employees.  The exchanges give members more flexibility to select insurance products to meet their needs while reducing the administrative burden for employers.  While relatively few employers expect to drop their medical plans entire, some employers are exploring this option.
  4. Ramp up health management and wellness programs for long-term savings.  Employers are seeing long term benefits from offering some type of wellness of health management program, but is it achieving all it can?  Participation incentives for employees can result in a healthier, higher-performing workforce.
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