Improving Your Company Benefits Package Without Increasing Cost: Part 1
For many U.S. employers, offering health insurance as a company benefit is now a legal requirement. However, for those companies smaller than 50 full-time-equivalent employees, the decision to offer benefits – and generous, high-quality benefits at that – can be one of the best business decisions you ever make. However, the cost can be prohibitive. This series takes a look at ways to continue to improve your benefits package without substantially increasing your costs, and in some cases, decreasing your costs.
Method #1: Offer Kaiser Alongside Your PPO Options
Historically, small groups often set up benefits for the first time to assist their top level employees: CFO’s, CEO’s, CTO’s, etc. When there are only a few employees being covered, that group may collectively decide to opt for a PPO plan. Highly-compensated executives want access to the best networks and the best doctors. PPO plans are great for many, but they are not the right choice for all employees.
If your company offers just an expensive PPO plan, I recommend you add a Kaiser HMO plan (or, for those outside of the Bay Area, the appropriate local HMO carrier). Do not get rid of your PPO plan – this would be massively detrimental to your staff that depend on that specific doctor or network. Instead, offer Kaiser as a second option. There are several positive outcomes to this:
- Kaiser is cheaper than virtually every other PPO carrier out there. By default you will be paying less for any employee who chooses Kaiser over the PPO carrier.
- Younger employees like Kaiser because it is easy to understand. Employees call ONE call center number to make appointments, fill prescriptions, get test results, etc. If they don’t have a doctor, they just call this number and Kaiser will set them up with one in their area. No calling around to countless offices looking for someone accepting new patients – it’s very simple. So, younger employees will be happier using this then they might be trying to figure out a PPO.
- Employees like options. If you contribute a portion of the premium for employees (vs. 100% of the premium), employees will see that their portion of the premium for Kaiser is cheaper than a PPO option. Lower-income employees or those with large families will choose Kaiser to save themselves money. Employees who don’t see the doctor often might do the same. Those with specific health concerns or a specific doctor they are accustomed to will go for the more expensive PPO plan. The ability to choose will make your employees happy, and for every choice that results in a Kaiser enrollment, you’re saving money.
Throughout this series you will find 5 methods to improve your benefits package, but each company is different and may have unique needs. Please feel free to reach out directly for a complimentary benefits evaluation to review specific ways your company can improve your benefits package and save money in the process: