The workplace is changing. The role of health benefits in building and maintaining a successful business has also changed. Demand for better benefits is at an all-time high. Learn more about what’s changing, how it’s impacting your business, and what your options are.

Changing Work Patterns

More than half of employees are open to leaving their employer. That’s a staggering statistic for many businesses. This stat is from the 2022 Global Benefits Survey by Willis Towers Watson. Coming out of the pandemic and the Great Resignation, employees are often looking at what the next best thing might be for them.

Benefits have always been important to employees, but now more than ever, they are playing an integral role in their decision to stay or join a new company. So, what is changing in your employee’s focus on health care?

One-Size-Fits-Most is Hurting Us All

Most employers offer 1-3 plans. And yet, the 2020 Willis Towers Watson survey shows that 69% of employees want choice in their benefits, but 75% of employers offer only one type of plan.

This model often doesn’t fit your employees’ financial, physical, and mental well-being needs. They are looking for more. A diverse and multi-generational workforce also means one-size-fits-most is working for fewer people than ever.

Designing benefits to help workers with their health and finance is vital to maintain your team’s productivity and engagement. Not to mention retention, if your employees can find the support they need elsewhere, they are more likely to jump at the opportunity.

Employees Demand Focus on Important Benefits

According to the Willis Towers Watson survey, employees want more of a focus on their benefits. 44% of respondents want a focus on retirement, 39% on flexible work, and 33% on health.

The importance of health and retirement benefits to attract and retain workers has risen to its highest level in a decade. The importance of health care when a prospective employee chooses a new company has risen 22% in the last 12 years. When deciding to stay, the importance of healthcare increased by 19% in the same period for current employees.

Importance of health benefits to joining a company or staying with a company

It’s clear employees are looking for something that better fits their needs now.

Technology Enables Active Consumerism in Health Care

Beyond your changing workforce, technology is opening new opportunities to provide health benefits in a more personalized way.

Employees want to engage actively with their benefits and health but have been passive participants for a long time now. Active consumerism empowers employees to make healthier decisions and improve medical outcomes.

We know consumers drive innovation, pricing, and the overall marketplace. Technology is allowing employees to become active participants in their health benefits.

Employees are used to this type of access to everything else in their lives. If they use a service/product, odds are there’s an app that they can engage with on-demand. New technology is driving a desire for more access to health care as well.

The Health Benefits System is Broken

It’s a bold statement, so let’s explain. The current system is often too expensive, too complicated, and doesn’t provide personalized choice. Everyone is exhausted by the clunkiness and constant cost increases, leaving companies and employees burnt out.

Health Insurance is Complex, Confusing, and Costly

It’s nothing new—health insurance costs for employers and employees continue to skyrocket. There’s a massive administrative burden for employers to review, manage, and select plans every year. Then there’s rollout, enrollment, and annual management. There’s very limited personalization for meeting employee needs, whether they are that of a family, senior, or complex medical needs.

Employers often find it difficult to keep up with rising costs. According to Willis Towers Watson, the majority of employers are in the planning stages of controlling benefits costs because they expect the increases to continue.

Over time family premiums have risen faster than wages and inflation. Both employers and employees are contributing more but aren’t getting anything more in return.

This isn’t to make the situation feel bleak. The time has come for a better way to offer benefits to your employees. Don’t let it sit on your three-year plan. Find a solution that helps you control costs, gives employees real choices in their health care, and meets employees where they are.

A Smarter Way to Offer Benefits

Taking a look back to 2020, Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs) were introduced, allowing employees to choose their plans and for employers to reimburse them for their coverage.

Think of it like the 401(k) of health benefits—you might remember back in the 80s and 90s, many employers had defined benefit pensions. Over a period of a decade, most migrated their retirement benefit offering to a 401(k) plan. And today, most employers offer only a 401(k) retirement plan, while defined benefit retirement plans are practically obsolete.

ICHRAs have a chance to do to health benefits what the 401(k) did to retirement benefits. ICHRA-based benefits are flexible and budget-friendly. Both the 401(k) and ICHRA involve an employer making a defined contribution that employees get to ‘invest’ the way they want. 

Imagine a World Where Offering Health Insurance Was Easy (and Affordable)

ICHRAs deliver the ability to gain financial control while giving employees freedom of choice to select the coverage that best serves them and their families. Companies set a contribution model that allows for actual health benefits budgeting, and employees use this contribution to go select the coverage that best meets their individual (or family) needs.

Technology takes ICHRAs to the next level, allowing for easy administration and opening new opportunities for larger companies or companies with a varied workforce.

Over Half of the U.S. is ICHRA Friendly

In 2023, 26 states are ICHRA friendly. This means that the individual bronze plan premiums are equal to or less than that of small-group plans in the same area. This number has been growing steadily, from 24 in 2022 and 19 in 2021.

If you’d like to learn more about your individual state or county, check out this map by Ideon.

Standard ICHRAs Still Fall Short Without Technology

Just like anything “standard,” the standard ICHRA falls short in a few key ways:

  • Employees have to shoulder the monthly cost and wait for reimbursement.
  • Reimbursement processes add a massive administrative burden on HR.
  • Employees have to navigate the individual marketplace options on their own, with HR’s support, or with the help of your broker (which is difficult to scale).

Cost control and providing choice on their own is great, but you shouldn’t have to settle for the standard.

Luckily, technology is here to help.

The Nexben Solution

Together, we can do better.

At Nexben, companies of all sizes can add a better way of providing benefits without taking on the administrative burden or making your employees shoulder the up-front costs.

The Nexben platform gives employers:

  • Intuitive process for benefits package design and contribution amount definition.
  • One consolidated carrier statement, even with multiple carriers, and one-click easy payment.
  • Fully automated and simplified plan administration.

Your employees gain more support:

  • Dedicated enrollment advocates to help navigate coverage choices based on their unique health needs.
  • No upfront costs, as there’s no waiting for reimbursement.
  • Easy payroll-deducted premiums.
  • Ongoing support available all year.

You are probably feeling the pressure to find a better way of providing benefits. Employees are more focused on health benefits than ever before, technology is creating opportunities for improvement, and traditional group plans aren’t working. The Nexben ICHRA offers a better solution that you can get started on now.

Are you ready for benefits that just make sense for you and your employees? Keep the conversation going, and schedule time with us.

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