5 Ways to Control Rising Benefit Costs

rising costs

Healthcare costs in America have risen significantly since the 1970s, leading many employers to expect modest yearly cost increases in the benefits they offer. However, the combination of current economic conditions, increased costs related to managing chronic conditions, and an aging population are leading to less manageable increases for many employers.

Here are five ways TPAs can help employers continue offering high-value benefits while working to control rising benefits costs.

#1 Ask Participants What They Need

Before considering additional healthcare options, employers should ask their employees about the current benefits package and their needs. For example, some companies seeking to lower premiums may be considering adding a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) coupled with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). But through inquiry, they may find that their employees would actually prefer the flexibility offered by an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Account (ICHRA), which may also reduce employer costs. And, after employees select an individual plan using ICHRA premium assistance, they may still have the option of enrolling in an employer-sponsored HSA or Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

#2 Learn About Potential Upcoming Status Changes

In addition to finding out current needs, explore the workforce demographics. Are a significant number of the company’s workers close to turning 65? At that age, they become eligible for Medicare, which could affect the viability of offering an HDHP-HSA option. Are most employees in age ranges where family expansion (through marriage, birth, or adoption) is likely to influence their benefit needs and interests? The life stages in which employees fall can help guide additional or alternative benefits programs.

#3 Educate Participants for Effective Usage

Employees who don’t completely understand how their benefits work are not likely to maximize their use. TPAs can help by providing educational materials in multiple mediums (print, video, web, etc.). This can make a dramatic difference in employee satisfaction with their benefits.

#4 Keep the Communication Going Year-Round

The need for employee education doesn’t end with the enrollment period. Year-round communication about the features and advantages of employee benefit programs is essential for ongoing usage and satisfaction as well as planning and adoption for the next plan year.

#5 Offer Valuable Benefits With Low Employer Costs

TPAs can offer employers several high-value benefit options that bear little cost to the employer. Prime examples include health and dependent care FSA accounts and HSA accounts, which provide substantial tax benefits to the employees who adopt them. Lifestyle spending accounts (LSAs), although funded entirely by the employer, can also be a huge source of employee benefit and satisfaction at a relatively low cost.

TPAs Can Help Employers Make This Work

Employers want and need TPA expertise to help them create benefits packages that they can afford and that their employees will find valuable. TPAs can offer many resources to help employers control rising benefits costs while supporting the needs of their employees.

For 40 years, DataPath has been a pivotal force in the employee benefits, financial services, and insurance industries. The company’s flagship DataPath Summit platform offers an integrated solution for managing CDH, HSA, Well-Being, COBRA, and Billing. Through its partnership with Accelergent Growth Solutions, DataPath also offers expert BPO services, automation, outsourced customer service, and award-winning marketing services.

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