Health Insurance Huddle – Anthem’s Advice for Companies

Health Insurance Huddle – Anthem’s Advice for Companies

By Nick Dmitrovich with input from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield

What would you do if you learned that over a third of applicants passed your company over because of poor insurance offerings? Would you try to find a better option? Perhaps one that protects your company, your people, and your bottom line?

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to health insurance for your company. Business owners understandably want to gather up the best advice they can get, so we turned to the experts at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest insurer and the largest public company in Indiana, to learn all of the tips and strategies we could.

Tips for Controlling Costs

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield detailed several specific tips for companies when it comes to controlling their healthcare expenses. Among its key suggestions, the company stated that:

  • Group health insurance can be a more viable option for companies with employees in higher tax brackets. With this option, both employer and employee can use pretax dollars to pay for coverage. In addition, there’s no payroll tax for employers and employee contributions aren’t subject to income tax.
  • Offering wellness and incentive programs to not only help employees get healthy but stay that way. A healthy workforce may result in reduced sick days, doctor’s visits, and additional medical care.
  • Provide tax-exempt health savings accounts (HSAs) for employees to reduce overall company costs related to health care and to provide employees with additional money to cover copay balances, prescription and over-the-counter medication and related health care expenses.

Overlooked Option Could Be Turning Away Talent

The ability for a company to attract top talent to their operations has been a big topic over the last few years in tandem with the state’s workforce development initiatives. One of the concepts that has stood out are the inclusion of trendier aspects to health coverage; things like in-office massages, fitness classes, extra time off, or other stress reducers. Interestingly, although these elements are thought of as effective supplemental benefits, survey data of younger employees reflects a key overlooked opportunity: disability insurance.

A survey conducted by Anthem found that 35 percent of Millennials (age 18 – 34) have turned down a job offer because they were dissatisfied with insurance offerings, namely with regard to their long-range financial planning. Disability insurance, which protects a person’s income when they are unable to work due to injury or illness, should be a critical part of a benefits package because of the way in which it aligns with preserving financial security.

For employers, offering disability and medical benefits from the same source can help save money by helping employees get back to work sooner and by reducing benefits administration costs. More than half of employers using this combined benefits approach saw medical claims-based savings, according to a study by Employee Benefit News.

A Killer Smile Doesn’t Have to Kill Your Wallet

A great smile can be a client’s first impression of your company upon meeting one of your employees, but data shows that dental care is often the most skipped type of medical care of them all, leaving many workers with reasons to frown. According to the American Dental Association, more people avoid dental care than any other type of healthcare because it’s too expensive, with or without insurance.

So, what are some ways you can help your employees bring down the cost of dental care and remain their productive, smiling selves?

  • First, make sure they’re maximizing their benefits. Their plans likely include two cleanings a year and a maximum spending limit for dental work. Are they using all of their benefits each year or are they letting them go to waste?
  • Next, it never hurts to ask dental care providers if they offer discounts, as many do. Dentists might lower prices if employees schedule appointments during slow periods or if they pay for the entire procedure upfront with cash.
  • Lastly, if your organization offers a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), your employees can use these accounts to save for dental care costs and other medical expenses.

Seeing Clearly and Affordably

When it comes to saving money, hindsight is usually 20/20. Do your employees know there are many ways they can save money on their vision care?

  • Employees can reduce vision care costs via their memberships in organizations such as AAA and AARP. They should also be asking their optometrists about additional discounts that may be available
  • Encourage employees to find out if certain diagnostic procedures are medically necessary, as extra tests will mean extra costs.
  • When ordering glasses, employees should be strongly encouraged to shop around on their own rather than purchasing pairs directly from their eye doctor’s office. Eye doctors typically charge more than online retailers for prescriptions.
  • The prescription for contact lenses typically lasts for a full year. If your employee holds on to their prescription, they can fill an order for two years of lenses: once right after they had the eye exam and again right before the prescription expires, as long as they haven’t experienced changes in their vision.

Only the Beginning

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, there are many other ways your company could be getting more from your health insurance package. The best thing employers can do is meet with their benefit advisors routinely, making sure your plan fits the needs of your company perfectly and keeps your entire operation – employees and budgets – at their healthiest.

 

 


Contributing Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield authors: Tony Felts, David Rodeck, and Allison Hutton.

Category Bottom Line, Features