Employers have found that a good health benefits package is essential to recruit and retain the best and brightest employees. A Harvard Business Review survey of human resources professionals showed 60 percent of them believe health benefits are more important than base salary in recruiting.
“Many employers are finding out the best way to make sure they have a highly motivated and satisfied workforce is through a solid health benefits package,” says Amber Hulme, Medical Mutual Vice President, Central and Southern Ohio. “Employers now have many creative options to ensure they can still offer benefits in an era of rising health care costs.”
Smart Business spoke with Hulme about why health benefits are so important to employers and employees, and how employers can mitigate the cost of providing their employees with excellent benefits.
How does a strong employee health benefit plan attract and retain good employees?
Today’s job market, particularly in Central and Southern Ohio, is very competitive. Employers want to find and hire the most skilled and motivated employees. Many surveys show the top two employee-valued benefits are health care and retirement funds, with health benefits often the most important.
With the costs of health care increasing, many job seekers look for those companies that provide health benefits. Additionally, other surveys clearly show the majority of a company’s existing employees say they would leave if their employer no longer offered health benefits. Health benefits today are an essential part of business strategy.
How can employers manage the cost of providing health benefits?
Employers can maintain and sometimes lower monthly health insurance premiums by increasing employee out-of-pocket costs. One way to do this is through a high-deductible health plan. These are plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles than a traditional health plan.
When coupled with a health savings account, a high-deductible health plan covers some costs upfront and then employees pay for other medical expenses using money that has been set aside before taxes. This encourages employees to manage and keep track of their own health care and take responsibility for how they spend those dollars.
Besides lowering the monthly premium for both employers and employees, high-deductible health plans empower employees to control their own costs.
Why is it important for employees to be responsible for their health care costs?
The idea is to make health care more consumer-driven. When employees have a greater financial stake in their own health care, they learn how to choose the most efficient doctors and hospitals in terms of cost and quality.
How do online tools help?
Online tools provide transparency in cost and quality, which are essential in giving health care consumers the information they need to make informed care decisions.
For example, Medical Mutual has an online tool called My Care Compare, which helps members find the best price, provider and location for health care services. With this tool, members can check cost estimates for more than 170 types of health care procedures and tests. Also, they are able to review satisfaction scores for physicians and quality ratings for health care facilities in their area.
Why does it make sense for organizations to invest in the health and well-being of their employees?
Wellness programs provide health information and engagement to help employees achieve healthy living goals. The programs also help employees understand their health, identify risk factors for disease and make positive changes. Wellness programs are good business, too, because they can help employers control health care costs, raise morale, improve productivity and reduce absenteeism.
Insights Health Care is brought to you by Medical Mutual