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Posted by Chrissy Hammond on Mon, Apr 29, 2019 @ 03:31 PM

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Managing a benefits program means managing change, and that change is particularly abundant in today’s health care environment. At the same time, employers must ensure their benefit offerings serve the evolving needs of employees and their families and support the organization’s short-and long-term objectives.

While there are many specific areas in which employers must navigate this change and complexity, the following three are proving to be the most daunting and prevalent challenges.

  1. Health Care in Flux

Health plan consolidation and vertical integration of health-related entities continue with no signs of slowing down. In many markets this has resulted in less choices for quality benefits, resulting from increased costs, for employers and employees alike. Compounding escalating costs is Washington’s focus on undoing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The new tax law repealed the individual mandate penalty, which is likely to mean more cost-shifting to employer plans from uncompensated care.

Additionally, new entrants into the market are disrupting the industry and adding even more complexity to the decisions employers must make when developing and adapting their benefit plans.

  1. War for Talent

With the economy booming, there’s a war for talent. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, unemployment fell to just 3.8 percent at the end of Feb. 2019. This growing competition for talent means benefit offerings must strengthen attraction and retention, keeping in mind that health coverage is the benefit that matters most to employees. Providing top-notch benefits can be particularly complicated against today’s backdrop of escalating costs and reduced choices.

  1. Employees Are Under Financial Stress

Despite low unemployment, U.S. wage growth has remained stagnant and many employees lack savings. A survey by the Federal Reserve Board found that 44 percent of Americans could not cover an emergency expense of $400 or more. Further, Employee Benefit Research Institute’s most recent survey of workers with access to employer coverage found that only 30 percent are confident they could afford health care without financial hardship.

This has important implications for health care benefit design. Given that financial problems are the leading cause of stress and stress has been proven to take a toll on employee health, well-being and productivity, employers must question strategies that involve shifting more health care costs to employees.

It is imperative for organizations to make informed and strategic decisions about what benefits to offer as a part of their total rewards strategy. Using a variety of sources to stay up to date on benefits trends and continually assessing the fit of offerings with your organization’s culture are crucial in securing your current and future talent needs. For more information, please contact us.

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Looking to make informed, strategic benefits decisions to stay competitive in your industry? Check out our latest employee benefits benchmark report.

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Copyright © 2019 CBIZ & MHM (Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.). All rights reserved. CBIZ and MHM are separate and independent legal entities that work together to serve clients. CBIZ is a leading provider of tax and consulting services. MHM is an independent CPA firm providing audit and other attest services. This article is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws and treaties. Use of the material contained herein without the express written consent of the firms is prohibited by law. Material contained in this alert is informational and promotional in nature and not intended to be specific financial, tax or consulting advice. Readers are advised to seek professional consultation regarding circumstances affecting their business.

 

Tags: not-for-profit, Health care, competing for talent, nonprofit, not-for-profit talent, healthcare, Employee Benefits

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