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OPEN ENROLLMENT SEASON

Benefits Open Enrollment is underway at many lodging and gaming companies across the country.  New federal, state and local government regulations; an increasingly competitive job market; rising cost of benefits; and, new technology application have kept employee benefits managers very challenged over the past several years.  Some of the latest trends impacting Employer benefit plans are discussed in this blog.

Apps are emerging to help consumers find lower cost in-network providers and identify fair prices for services such as lab and radiology imaging. Similarly, apps are available for consumers to compare cost of drugs among the pharmacies in their area and make better use of their prescription formulary to reduce their costs further.  Technology is making it easier and more convenient for consumers to participate in wellness programs with new apps and services.  Wearable devices continue to grow in popularity and advance in capabilities that inspire fitness goals that can impact wellness initiatives.

Cost reduction strategies such as spousal surcharges for coverage of a working spouse if the spouse’s employer offers health insurance, Dependent audits  to weed out ineligible covered dependents will also continue to become commonplace in order to reduce a plan’s cost.

Targeted marketing strategies are more and more popular that use employee demographics, personal preferences and benefits enrollment data to tailor messaging specific to the employee.  These tailored messages can be used throughout the plan year.

Continuing to gain traction with employers are high-deductible health plans (HDHP) such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).  HSAs while paired with a HDHP are tax-advantaged accounts to which employees and employers may contribute funds for employees’ health benefit expenses. Individuals can claim tax deductions up to the limits for contributions they make to the accounts when filing their annual income tax returns.

Employee expectations and needs are expanding to nontraditional benefits offerings, such as fraud protection services, telemedicine and bill negotiation services.

These are some of the key items that are trending in employee benefit plans for 2016 and into the 2017 plan year.   Benefits specialists should help employers make the selection process easier by providing streamlined, practical decision-making tools. Communication about benefits should also take place throughout the year, instead of in a single “information dump” just prior to enrollment.

At WageWatch, our expert evaluators provide businesses in a large range of industries with accurate and beneficial benefits survey data, compensation surveys and salary reports to ensure that payment and benefits plans are on par with those in the industry. For more information on market compensation data, please call WageWatch at 888-330-9243 or contact us online (https://www.wagewatch.com/Contact/ContactUs.aspx).

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 at 6:08 PM 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.