The Great Resignation continues to be a concern for self-insured employers in the first months of 2022. Our recent research study revealed that the importance of reducing turnover jumped 8 percentage points in the minds of benefits leaders compared to 2020.
Brokers and consultants are tasked with addressing the concerns of their employer clients, and better employee health, improved employee satisfaction, and attracting talent are all top of mind. Employers are asking themselves, “What can I do with my benefits strategy to retain and attract talent?” They are asking their advisors to offer advice and recommendations that will help them achieve these goals.
A recent article in BenefitsPro offers some insight into how employers are looking beyond traditional strategies for retaining employees.
“Employers who are hoping to retain and attract talent should recognize they need to focus not only on higher pay, but also on the benefits workers want the most, such as flexibility and health insurance coverage.”
While wages are certainly always a consideration when addressing turnover, brokers and consultants can also offer great insight into how traditional benefits like health coverage, vacation time, and flexible work hours might keep employees in their jobs.
Health insurance is probably the most visible benefit that employees or job applicants consider as they weigh an employment decision. They’ll look for things like:
Advisors can help employers weigh their options when selecting plan features, including how to balance the costs paid by the employer vs. what gets passed along to employees and their families. Many employers, especially those operating in facilities around the country, will offer a choice of plans to meet everyone’s needs. For example, high deductible health plans are rising in popularity to help balance costs, but many employees prefer a traditional PPO plan. Advisors can help employers look at offering both options.
Additionally, benefits data analytics is a huge advantage for brokers and consultants who want to help employers make sound decisions around their health plans. Let’s look at an example.
This is a Standard Story from the Artemis Platform that showcases network utilization for a sample data set. You can see from the charts that roughly $5 million of the employer’s medical spending was on out-of-network claims, and that represented about 3% of their total spending.
Additionally, you can see that the amount of out-of-network spending is trending down year over year, but also that it’s more common on some health plans compared to others. Members enrolled in the PPO plan are the least likely to incur out-of-network claims, while those on HSA plans are more likely to do so. This could be an opportunity for a broker or consultant to assist with member education efforts, or examine the network more broadly to ensure it’s meeting employee needs.
Voluntary benefits are another great avenue for brokers to add value to their employer relationships. While employers are well-versed in the value of programs like dental insurance, vision coverage, and digital point solutions, one voluntary benefit gaining ground during the Great Resignation is supplemental health insurance.
BenefitsPro recently published a piece showcasing the rising interest in supplemental health insurance. A fascinating chart shows that employees are driving a nearly two-fold increase in participation in supplemental plans for:
What could be driving this? The piece quotes Dani McCauley, the U.S. customer experience leader for consumer benefit solutions with Aon.
“During the last two years, it seems every employee knows someone who was hospitalized or fell gravely ill from COVID-19. As a result, there is an increased awareness of risks around hospitalization and critical illness, and along with the growth of high deductible health plans, employees are keen to hedge against this potential cost burden.”
Hospitalization, whether due to COVID-19 or another serious illness or accident, presents a huge challenge for employees. According to debt.org, a debt relief advocacy organization, the average overnight hospital stay in the U.S. costs $11,700. Even a one-night stay would max out many Americans’ out-of-pocket expenses. As CNBC reported in January of last year, just 39% of Americans could pay for a $1,000 unexpected expense without asking for help or going into debt.
You can see why employees would value a supplemental insurance benefit, and how it could be the difference between staying at their current job or joining the Great Resignation.
Financial reporting is one of the most important aspects of the broker/client relationship. Self-insured employers need clear, accurate data on what they’re spending on benefits costs, how it’s being spent, and how they are performing against the budget each year.
Financial reporting is a time-consuming process for brokers and consultants, and they often have to “recreate the wheel” for each client in their book of business. However, benefits analytics platforms can be helpful here. Brokers and consultants should invest in analytics tools that help them quickly create financial reports, standardize their formatting, offer great visualization tools, and provide insights into how their healthcare dollars are being spent.
A robust data analytics platform will give brokers and consultants the ability to speed up financial reporting and offer data-driven advice to their clients.
As the Great Resignation continues to put employees and job seekers in the driver’s seat, brokers and consultants can offer more value to their clients through better data, better insights, and better recommendations.