Employee Benefits In the Wake of COVID-19
July 14, 2020
President, The Bank of Austin
What You Should Know and What You Can Do Now
You may be concerned that the pandemic will increase the cost of your employees’ health insurance, but it’s possible that you’ll see cost savings instead. Taking the right actions now can ensure your employees are staying healthy as you plan for your upcoming Employee Benefits Renewals, which will look different more than ever.
Adapt to the impacts of COVID-19 with information and strategies from Michael Grossman, President of The Bank of Austin Insurance Group. In this article, he shares his best practices for business owners to curb the pandemic’s effect on Employee Benefits.
What You Should Know
Since COVID-19 hit, elective surgeries have been put on hold and people have postponed visiting the dentist and optometrist. Employee Benefits claims experience has gone down because the cost of treating COVID has been more than offset by the indefinite lull in elective surgeries, office visits, and emergency services.
Additionally, some carriers are refunding portions of dental premiums. United Healthcare, for instance, is offering a 50% discount on premiums for dental. Long-term, employers may expect to see a rebate due to the Medical Loss Ratio under the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to give clients a rebate if 80-85% of their premium (depending on your plan) is not spent on healthcare and quality improvement.
What You Can Do Now
Communication and planning are essential for mitigating the pandemic’s effect on your Employee Benefits Renewals. As a business owner, you can help your employees now by educating them about telemedicine. Also, plan ahead by meeting with your broker to budget for your renewal and review carrier discounts.
Keeping your employees healthy right now is essential. Grossman says, “We educate our employees about telemedicine because we want them to stay healthy, we want them to get their routine office visits. There's greater telehealth use now and it's more efficient, it costs less, and people can continue to get their prescriptions renewed via telehealth.”
Most providers have telehealth built into their plan, but, if not, there are programs available outside of your insurance, like Teladoc. Using telemedicine helps to prevent neglected mild health issues from building up into something more serious.
2) Consult Your Broker
The other critical step is meeting with your broker. “Talk to your broker about the claims experience and how it's looked in the past few months so you can budget for your renewal,” says Grossman, “Most businesses are at the halfway point in their plan year, which makes it a good time to review and start budgeting and projecting accordingly. Also, be aware that the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) was repealed and is expected to reduce employer’s 2021 renewals by 1-3%. And make sure to review carrier discounts to see what’s available to you.”
To learn more about Employee Benefits Renewals and how you can adapt your business’s employee benefits, contact our EBS team today. We can help review claims experiences and provide benchmarking to assist with your renewal budgeting.