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Helpful Tips for Employers Making Health Plan Changes

Michigan Business Beat
November 29, 2017 10:00 AM

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Chris Holman welcome Scott Norman, VP, Business Development, Physicians Health Plan, Lansing, MI, into MBN's new studio and they review helpful tips for employers making health plan changes and planning for 2018.

January is right around the corner and many employers will be renewing their health plan contracts for 2018.

Some helpful tips from PHP:

• Over 50% of employers will renew their employee benefit health insurance plans in January – overall, costs are projected to see modest cost increases with average rate increases in the low single digits.

• Despite the more optimistic projections, any increase in health plan costs hits the bottom line so employers need to continue to look for ways to lower cost and begin to plan for the future

• There are some helpful tips that employers and business owners should be considering to stay ahead of the price curve:

o The network matters – having a health plan with a strong provider network is important to make sure employees have access to top quality doctors – but employers should also be willing to look at high performing narrow networks as an option to reduce costs. PHP offers small employers an exclusive network option that can reduce premiums as much as 20%

o Wellness and prevention – having a strategy for wellness and prevention is important – it can help lower cost long term by keeping people health but more importantly it also helps drive great employee productivity which can positively impact the bottom line. Over 50% of PHP large employers use the Sparrow Be Well wellness solution….but, it doesn’t have to be super sophisticated to be effective. We recently added a PHP running and walking group that meets 2 days a week to promote health and fitness – it’s a low cost solution to get people engaged.

o HSA’s and high deductibles – over 50% of employers have high deductible plans ($1,000 or greater deductible) – Health Saving Accounts are a great opportunity for employers to lower premium costs by increasing the deductible but giving employees the opportunity to take advantage of the great tax savings of an HSA – all they need to have is a qualified high deductible plan and all health plans offer these type of plans for employers.

o Your agent matters – seek out and utilize the services of an insurance agent that specializes in employee benefits – a good agent is worth their weight in gold. They can help employers shop for the lowest cost health plan but more importantly, a good agent will help you develop a multi-year strategy for your employee benefits

• They also discuss the Final reminder – for individuals or business owners who purchase individual coverage – the open enrollment deadline is fast approaching. December 15th is the deadline for enrolling in your 2018 plan. Call your agent or give PHP a call at 515-364-8484 for help or to answer questions.

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