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2015 EMPLOYER BENEFITS PLANNING

Remaining in the top employee benefit offerings are:  Health Care (including Dental, Vision and Prescription Drug coverage), Disability Insurance, Life Insurance, Retirement/Pension plans, and paid vacation, sick and holiday leave.  Other common benefit offerings include Flexible Spending Accounts, Employee Assistance Programs, Paid Personal Leave, Financial Planning Services, Wellness Programs, Subsidized Commuting and Company Stock.

Employers Health care plans remain the most common employer benefit offering as well as the highest cost.  For 2015 healthcare cost increase projections for U.S. employers have been between 3.9 percent and 6.5 percent on average.  Many employers will make plan changes in order to offset the increases.  Changes to current benefits may include moving more of the share of the cost to the employee/participant, implementing and expanding consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), and broadening wellness incentives. 

CDHPs continue to grow in popularity and according to a couple of recent employer surveys, CDHPs as the only health benefits option is expected to increase by nearly 50 percent next year.  There are several different types of CDHPs, most commonly paired with a group plan though an employer.  All CDHPs have a personal healthcare account used to pay for medical expenses.  This approach can significantly lower costs for employers.  However, the ACA requires that companies provide a minimum 60 percent of the cost of insurance, so although these plans may involve some cost-shifting to employees, companies still pay a healthy share of the health benefit costs.

Some of the more common plan changes that employers are looking at for 2015 include:

  • Consumer tools such as price transparency tools to help employees select care providers based on cost and quality ratings.
  • Adding or expanding wellness program incentives.
  • Reducing spousal subsidies or implementing spousal surcharges for spouses who can obtain coverage through their own employer.
  • Encouraging employees to use high-performance networks such as accountable care organizations or designated centers of excellence.
  • Specialty pharmacy benefits such as requiring step therapy; before authorizing high-cost specialty pharmacy medications, less-expensive medications must be tried first.
  • Coverage for surgical interventions and FDA approved medications for the treatment of severe obesity.

Change can be challenging and demanding. At WageWatch our compensation consultants can assist with your organization’s compensation needs and help you ensure that your compensation programs are supporting your company’s business strategy and objectives.  WageWatch also offers accurate, up-to-date benefit survey data, market compensation data and salary surveys that will allow you to stay current with the times. This information is highly beneficial in creating the best salary and benefits packages that meet or rival the industry standards. For more information on our services, including consulting, salary survey data, benefit survey data and market compensation reports, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 6:04 AM and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.