Join Pat Campola for a special, educational webinar on Self-Funding Strategies. Pat will provide attendees with an overview on the essentials of sales presentations, how to compete for currently self-insured groups, and servicing clients during the plan years. Pat will also offer insight on Target Markets and where the “low hanging fruit” is, along with Stop Loss policy options and what to include or avoid.
Identity theft is a major issue in the United States, and across the globe. Did you know Data Breach victims are 11 more times more likely to be Identity Theft Victims? No wonder smart employers are scrambling for ID Theft protection for their employees.
When health care reform takes place, there will most likely be new mandated benefits and/or a reduction in current mandated benefits. The cost impact of these benefits changes will require an actuarial determination to assess the impact on medical plan costs and funding rates.
“A stitch in time saves nine” is an old saw that everyone knows because it is true! Let’s apply this to MEDICAL WELLBEING”
Telehealth is good for employers and their benefit plan members. It offsets claims costs and reduces presenteeism. Success is simpler than you think. Join Larry to find out the keys to easy and effective implementation which can drive very high utilization which can save your company and your employees time, money and their health.
To be a successful business, you need to be able to get and keep great talent. And one way to do that is through great employee benefits and perks.
But depending on who you’re looking to hire and what your competition has to offer, your current approach to group benefits may not be giving you the employee recruitment and retention advantage you need.
In a highly competitive market, one size does not fit all. Organizations who put time and effort into their benefits strategy will be the talent winners.
It used to be that employees were pretty happy with the standard health and retirement benefits offered by their employers. But today’s work/life reality is very different, and both healthcare and retirement have become exponentially complex and expensive.
Gone are the days of 100% coverage and employer pensions. Hindered by the exploding cost of providing these things, many employers have cut back on their offerings. And employees are feeling the pinch— or the punch.
As financial realities and workplace expectations continue to evolve, employees are re-defining what benefits are most important to them, and using these priorities to guide them when making career decisions. Employers who want to give themselves an edge in recruitment and retention should take note.
Employees are worried
According to theGlobal Benefits Attitudes Survey by Towers Watson, employees have big concerns, many of which are financial. Survey respondents reported being worried about short-term and long-term finances, as well as the viability of retirement.
Data from US workers provided a stark look into this new reality:
36% of employees reported being concerned about the level of debt they face
52% of employees said they were experiencing short or long-term financial worries and/or were currently struggling financially
66% of those who were struggling financially reported higher levels of stress
76% of employees believed they’d be worse off in retirement than their parents
This study also backed up the obvious: Employees with financial worries have higher levels of stress, and higher levels of stress lead to poor health outcomes for employees and reduced productivity for employers.
You don’t need a doctor to tell you that high stress and poor health will also lead to higher claims on your health plan.
Long story short: Having stressed out employees isn’t just unhealthy. It’s expensive.
But you can make a difference
As an employer, you have the power to attract great talent and help alleviate financial anxiety, all at the same time.
Here are some ways you can make a difference, both for your workforce and your organization.
Offer medical benefits at a low cost to your employees can relieve a considerable amount of emotional and financial stress, especially when those benefits extend to partners and family members. They can also improve the overall health and wellbeing of your team.
Paid time off policies also encourage employee wellness. As technology allows work to creep into your employees’ personal time and personal lives, it’s important to give people time off to rest and recharge. Offering sick time is important, but only granting time off when people are sick isn’t a good wellness strategy. Flexible PTO policies will be much more appealing to current staff and potential employees.
Dental and vision plans are often seen as “extras” by insurance providers and employers, but if you’ve ever suffered through a midnight toothache, dental care sure doesn’t feel superfluous. Being able to see seems pretty critical, too.Research shows that employees value dental and vision coverage, and will take these benefits into consideration when making employment choices.
Retirement plans and contribution matching can help ease worries about long-term finances and provide a sense of security. These programs are also an effective way to for employers to demonstrate that they are willing to invest in their employees over the long term, which could make them more likely to hang around.
But far too many energetic, young employees can’t even think about retirement, much less contributing to a retirement plan, because they are still so buried in student debt.
Student loan repaymentprograms are quickly becoming a coveted employee benefit. According to SHRM, only 4% of employers are offering help with student loans.
Meanwhile, in a survey conducted byAmerican Student Assistance, 76% of respondents said that if a prospective employer offered a student loan repayment benefit, it would be a deciding or contributing factor to accept the job.
If you’re looking for up and coming or highly skilled talent, this is an area where you could gain a serious competitive recruiting advantage.
Moving in the right direction
If you’re having trouble finding great candidates, it’s time to re-think your approach.
The employee business landscape shifts and changes constantly. As an organization looking for new talent, you need to consider who you’re looking for, where you’ll find them, and what benefits they’re likely to value most. And you can’t do that if you’re sitting still.
Employee recruitment and retention strategies that worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. Or even later this afternoon. If your employee benefits broker or strategy is stuck in the past, it’s time to get moving in a new direction.
Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Sonus Benefits, we build cost effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health.
Employee Benefits |By Sonus Benefits,
WEBINAR – Marketing Your Culture – 5/30
Glenn Smith | BAN Marketing & Communication Director
More than ever your company culture should be aligned as a part of your overarching business strategy. Not only is company culture part of your brand, which should be an important part of your products or services, it can either be an advocate of your vision, or your opponent. Join Glenn Smith as he provides a deeper dive into today’s company culture and how to capitalize on it.
WEBINAR – Captives: Not Just for the Fortune 500 Anymore! – 5/16
David Konrad | Captive Director
Join David Konrad as he offers HR benefit professionals and C-suite individuals a deeper dive into captives. Touted as a 201 webinar on captives, David defines what an employee benefit captive is, the differences between an EB captive and a MEWA, advantages and disadvantages, what matters the most when building a captive, and provides insight as to if all EB captives are created equal.
Your views on employee handbooks may differ depending on which side of the table you’re sitting on. But love ‘em or hate ‘em, employee handbooks serve several important functions.
For staff members, it can be easy to assume the employee handbook is nothing but a set of rules designed to benefit and protect employers and keep the employees in their places. But there’s more to it than that.
Setting the stage
A well-written handbook not only helps employees understand the culture of the organization, it also lays out the benefits of working in the organization and sets clear expectations for behavior on both sides. Other benefits for employees include:
Introduction to the company culture, mission, and values – Smart employers will use this document to reinforce an employee-friendly culture. Remind your staff what your organization values and how you demonstrate those values to employees, customers and the community.
Explanation of employee benefits – Having this information spelled out in one place helps clear up confusion and allows employees to see the full value of what’s being offered.
Clearly outlined policies, procedures and expectations – Putting a structure in place is one thing, but communicating it is another. Employees value fairness and consistency and will appreciate knowing the ground rules from day one.
Information about where to turn for help – Employees are often afraid to bring up uncomfortable issues at work. Your employee handbook is great place to document procedures for addressing workplace problems and concerns. If your company offers employee assistance programs, you can include that information as well.
Yes, your employee handbook should include company rules and expectations. But crafting them in a way that shows you truly care about your employees can make all the difference in the world – especially on a new hire’s first day.
Making it count
A well-written employee handbook also has many benefits to you as an employer. To get maximum value out of your employee handbook, ensure that it:
Showcases your employee benefits package – You want your employees to be excited about working for you, and providing great benefits is one way to make that happen. But if they don’t know what you’re offering, they can’t appreciate the value. Spell it out so they can see what they are getting.
Ensures compliance – In order to protect your employees, you need to protect your business. Avoid potential misunderstandings, complaints, and lawsuits by documenting your EEO, sexual harassment, and anti-discrimination policies.
Sets behavior standards – From dress codes to drug policies to conflict resolution to pets at work, your employees will only know what you take the time to tell them. Use your employee handbook to explain expectations and guide your team toward behaviors that are in line with your organizational culture.
Documents key company policies and practices – When is pay day? What happens when someone needs to call in sick? How do performance reviews work? Employees are bound to have questions. Writing your policies down in one place makes finding these answers easier for everyone.
Tips for success
Do your homework
Know your Federal, state, and local employment laws. If you have multiple locations, make sure you research the regulations in each state. Depending on requirements, you may need to create multiple versions of your handbook for different locations or business units.
Use plain language
Avoid complicated language and legal-ese. But also avoid being too sparse or vague. Your handbook should be clear and easy to understand. Not only will this make it more palatable to read, it will decrease the risk of misunderstandings.
Cover the bases
Keep your information up to date. Review and refresh your employee handbook regularly. Include information on key policies and topics, such as:
Family medical leave
Paid time off
Pay structure and timelines
At-will employment language (where applicable)
Code of conduct and disciplinary action
It’s also a good idea to have an attorney go over your final copy to make sure you haven’t left anything out— or included things you shouldn’t have.
Give it some love
Imagine it’s your first day in a new job. What kind of employee handbook do you want to receive? A cold list of rules and a clinical dissertation of what happens when you break them? Or an employee-friendly explanation of what it means to be a part of the team?
Think of your employee handbook as an opportunity that helps you define your organizational culture, put it into practice, and share it with your team.
Struggling with benefits administration and compliance? At Sonus, we’ve got tools to make it easier. Get in touch with Sonus to see how we can help your organization become a local employer of choice.
Employee Benefits |By Sonus Benefits,
Fertility Benefits: What You Need to Know
Both the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association (AMA) have recently recognized infertility as a disease. This could have a big impact on how insurers and employers treat infertility when it comes to their benefit offerings.
According to research from Willis Towers Watson, the number of employers offering fertility benefits is expected to increase from about 55% to 66% by 2019. This trend shows just how important employers (and their employees) consider these benefits to be.
Opting to provide fertility benefits sooner rather than later could give you an edge when it comes to recruitment and retention. But there are some things you should know.
What is Infertility?
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after a full year of trying, without using contraceptives. This disease affects men and women. But not all couples show identifiable signs of infertility, which can make it hard to diagnose. Even if clear signs are present, it may not be obvious that they point to infertility.
This can put incredible strain on relationships and cause partners to feel inadequate, depressed, ashamed or guilty. According to the AMA, undergoing fertility treatments early can get ahead of these emotions and increase the chances of pregnancy.
Types of Treatments
How employers handle fertility benefits varies widely, in part because the trend of offering this type of coverage is relatively new.
Employers essentially have two options when it comes to fertility benefits:
1.) Offer to pay a portion of infertility treatment costs as a voluntary benefit, or
2.) Cover specific treatments under their health plan.
There is no right or wrong way to incorporate infertility programs into your benefit offerings. It will depend on your budget and the needs of your workforce.
Deciding whether to offer these options as voluntary offerings or under a health plan should not deter you from providing some sort of fertility benefits. With other businesses slow to adopt fertility benefits, you have a unique opportunity to tailor your benefits and leverage these offerings to attract and retain employees.
Consider this list of potential treatments you could cover in your fertility benefits package:
In vitro fertilization—IVF is relatively invasive and involves the collection of eggs, fertilization in a lab, then implantation in the uterus. Like most treatments, this can be very expensive, but it is a go-to method for many people. Offering to cover some or all of IVF for employees can be a huge win for retention.
Ovarian stimulation—This kind of stimulation is often part of IVF, as ovaries must be stimulated for best results. However, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the optimal regimen of stimulation has not been established. This means treatments will likely evolve and be simplified in the coming years, which could translate into lower costs and increased viability for insurers.
Artificial insemination—There are several specific forms of artificial insemination, but they all have the same basic outcome: semen is manually injected into the uterus through medical devices. Artificial insemination has been around for decades and has been established as one of the most popular options for individuals who need help conceiving.
Surgery—There are a variety of surgeries designed to help reverse infertility. For instance, procedures can remove ovarian cysts, clear fallopian tubes, remove adhesions from the uterus and collect semen from individuals who cannot otherwise produce it. Since all of these issues can cause infertility, surgically treating them increases the chance of pregnancy.
Medications—There are many medications, both prescription and over the counter, designed to help increase fertility. These medications include treatments that stimulate ovulation, promote healthier egg growth and prevent premature ovulation.
Reasons for Infertility Treatment
Infertility has many potential causes. Understanding them can help when considering medical treatments.
Some individuals may choose to seek infertility treatment due to factors other than the inability to conceive. Below are some of the most common conditions that prompt individuals to seek fertility procedures:
Endometriosis—This condition happens when uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus, affecting how the reproductive organs function.
Genetic disorders—Some individuals worried about passing on genetic disorders opt for procedures like IVF, which allows doctors to implant eggs in a lab, screen them for genetic disorders and reinsert them into the uterus.
Uterine fibroids—Fibroids are benign tumors and their presence in the uterus can interfere with pregnancies. These are especially common in women between the ages of 30 and 40.
Ovulation disorders—A number of conditions exist that prevent or drastically lower the chances of ovulation. This means fewer eggs are present, which may force individuals to seek infertility treatments, like egg donors or IVF.
Fertility preservation—Those who must undergo severe treatments, like chemotherapy, might opt to preserve some of their eggs or sperm. Since some treatments can result in lower fertility, removing and storing these genetic materials opens the opportunity for fertilization later on.
Controlling Cost Factors
Employees who suffer from infertility often seek treatment regardless of whether their employers offer any benefits. This can lead to risky decisions, short-term solutions, and less effective outcomes.
Allowing employees to shoulder the entire burden of infertility treatment can have additional consequences for employees, such as poor performance, inability to focus on job duties, and increased stress. By sharing a portion of the costs for infertility treatments, employers can help reduce these effects.
In addition to reducing employee risks, offering fertility benefits can help lower health care costs overall. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, employees with access to fertility benefits tend to cost their employers less because they are making health decisions with their doctors’ advice, not solely due to financial limitations. This means employers should not worry about seeing a huge rise in costs if they offer fertility benefits.
Fertility benefits can improve the lives of your employees and position your organization as a coveted place to work, especially if your competitors are slow to adopt similar benefits.
At Sonus Benefits, we build cost effective, long-lasting benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health. Located in Kirkwood, MO, we help clients throughout the greater St. Louis area identify and manage complex employee benefits challenges. If you would like help managing your employee programs, we may be the insurance consultant and business partner you need.
Content for this article was provided by Zywave, Inc. and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances or be used as legal or medical advice.
Dr. Bruce Campbell, PhD, MD | Chief Medical Director
Join Dr. Bruce Campbell for a special webinar on Preventative & Disease Management Strategies. Prevention and disease management has moved into the forefront of health as research continues to show the significant benefits of lifestyle changes on health. Register today to learn how to develop a strategy to benefit your employees.