Time to Consider Benefit Changes

This time of year has traditionally been when many employers look at their health plan offerings in preparation for end-of-year renewal. To get more data for making decisions, MSEC has three surveys to help: the Health and Welfare Plans survey printed in August each year, the Paid Time Off Policies survey printed in December of even-numbered years, and the Miscellaneous Benefits & Pay Practices survey printed in December of odd-numbered years.

These surveys can help members decide what benefits to offer employees in order to maintain a competitive total rewards package. Questions like, “How popular is unlimited PTO, really?” “What are typical practices regarding mileage reimbursement?” and “What is included in a wellness program?” can all be answered by reviewing the benefits surveys. These surveys, which members receive free as part of membership, or which Utah grandfathered members can purchase at a discounted price, are invaluable for considering health plan design options.

With the proliferation of consumer-driven health care, employers must consider the popularity of High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP), Health Savings Accounts (HSA), Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA), and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA) when designing their plans. These vehicles provide employees with flexibility, but are they right for a particular employer? Maybe, maybe not, and the first step is to find out what other employers are doing. The answers are in the Health and Welfare Plans survey which is now available. And there is so much more, including average 2016 costs of design specifics like the cost of copays for regular primary care visits, emergency room visits, and drugs.

And let’s not forget other types of insurance such as Life, AD&D, LTD, and STD, as well as retirement plan specifics, all of which are covered in our benefits surveys. Surveys are available online, in PDF format, hard copy by request. Don’t overlook these important resources as you move forward with your end-of-year benefits planning.