The world of employer benefits is constantly evolving, even with the pandemic. Employers are examining a variety of new voluntary benefits to meet the more specific needs of people in their day-to-day lives.
Here’s a look at the latest considerations that will ensure benefits are meeting the evolving needs of employees:
Cost and plan features are key
Employers are focused on selecting coverage with the most variety and best value for their money. According to a recent LIMRA study, about 58% of employers placed cost and benefit features as their top two most important considerations when selecting a provider, above carrier reputation, customer service, and more.
Increased emphasis on technology
Consumers increasingly expect interactive tools to help them make decisions around their benefits. They’re also eager to have access to video and mobile educational resources so they can make more informed choices. Carriers are now integrating videos, text, and stories with benefits administration platforms in order to house all informative content in one place for customers.
The impact of COVID-19
A recent survey conducted by Eastbridge found that 71% of brokers are concerned about a severe decrease in enrollment. Additionally, a third are concerned that COVID-19 will divert focus toward coverage questions from existing customers, preventing them from working with new prospects. However, 39% of employers see the coronavirus as having a positive impact on voluntary benefits, as their need is likely to increase once businesses return to work.
Many benefits decision-makers may be nervous about transitioning to a different health plan during a pandemic, especially while working remotely. However, businesses across the board have adapted to these challenges, and health insurance carriers are no exception—particularly when it comes to onboarding. Programs such as Harvard Pilgrim’s SmartStart make it easier for clients to transition their employee population to a new health plan provider without disruption to current treatments that an employee might be receiving. In addition, the MyHealthMath partnership available to Harvard Pilgrim customers as part of the SmartStart program can help provide additional guidance for employees on choosing the right plan for their individual (or family) needs.
Employer-supported voluntary benefits can also be enhanced to support employees who are coping with increased responsibilities due to COVID-19, particularly when it comes to family caregiving for children, older relatives, or in some instances, both. Harvard Pilgrim has teamed up with the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America to offer customers access to Guardian’s suite of ancillary products (such as dental—including teledentistry—and short- and long-term disability, supplemental health, and hopital indeminity) with some potential discounts for employers when multiple lines of business are purchased.
This article first appeared as featured content in Harvard Pilgrim’s HaPi Guide newsletter on August 26, 2020. To stay up-to-date on the latest healthcare topics such as the future of health care, new ways to be healthy or the business of insurance, sign up to receive our monthly communication: