In 2024, perceived coverage gaps, flexibility, and affordability receive more attention as companies weigh prioritizing value versus shifting costs.
November 27, 2023
By Bo Armstrong
Originally posted on BenefitsPRO.com
For 2024, brokers and TPAs will be well served to focus strongly on options that add significant value. In its recently released Survey on Health and Benefits Strategies for 2024, Mercer cited three key themes emerging from conversations with leadership from more than 700 organizations of varying sizes:
- Employers anticipate significant inflationary impact on health plan costs, with a projected increase of 7% over 2023.
- Employers will be challenged to balance benefits with cost controls, especially for those already facing financial constraints.
- Attracting and retaining talent will remain challenging, especially for industries with a relatively small labor pool.
One in four respondents said they had already begun working to improve their benefits programs in response to these issues. More than two-thirds will be incorporating changes for the upcoming plan year. For 2024, employers seek compelling benefit options that help fill perceived gaps, increase flexibility, and improve affordability.
Adding value by filling gaps
Women’s health, family planning, and caregiver responsibilities are among the perceived gaps in traditional benefits programs.
In regard to women’s health and family planning, areas that need more attention include high-risk pregnancy, postpartum issues, pregnancy loss, and menopause. Benefits that address these situations have high perceived value. In addition to boosting available medical coverage where possible, employers may want to consider offering a lifestyle spending account (LSA). This simple-to-administer, post-tax account can support employee needs in many areas. For example, the LSA can offer reimbursement for grocery delivery to relieve household tasks, self-care activities such as massages and facials, hotel and related “weekend getaway” costs, sleep and meditation apps, vitamins and supplements, and more.
Sponsoring employers can also experience significant ROI by addressing the support gaps often experienced by caregiving employees. The dependent care assistance program (DCAP) or dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA) is an under-utilized option. Employees often do not realize that, in addition to care for children under the age of 13, these accounts can be used for dependent adults who need care and supervision while the employee is at work. Workers can save 30% or more in payroll taxes on the sums set aside for this purpose, and their employers save 7.65% in payroll matching expense on the amounts set aside.
Adding value through flexibility
Flexibility at work has long been in high demand, and has expanded to include adaptable work schedules and locations and fewer limitations on personal time off (PTO). Companies that are the most successful in attracting and retaining the best employees are those that support efforts to maintain a healthy work-life relationship. This may include allowing staff the time and flexibility to address family needs, deal with grief and loss, volunteer, take a sabbatical, and more.
High-value perks such as flexible schedules, the ability to work from home regularly, and generous PTO allowances are gaining a lot of traction. As long as productivity benchmarks are being met, employers can provide benefits like these at little to no additional expense, creating an admirable ROI.
TPAs and brokers can learn about growing their businesses by reading the full article on BenefitsPro.com.
Bo has over 25 years of marketing leadership experience. His responsibilities include branding, communications, social media, product marketing, PR and promotions. He focuses on identifying emerging market trends within the benefits industry and advocating for customers and their needs. Bo is also a national conference speaker and author of numerous white papers and articles on the healthcare benefits industry.
DataPath has been a full-service TPA solutions provider for nearly four decades. The company’s cloud-based Summit platform is the industry’s first all-in-one solution for CDH, HSA, Well-Being, COBRA, and Billing administration. Please enter your email (above right) to receive newly published blog articles.