Using Data to Think Strategically About Health Benefits

For many middle-market companies, health insurance plan years begin either December 1 or January 1.  This means that many employers will soon be gearing up for renewals and shift their focus to guiding their employees through the open enrollment process.

Annual health plan renewals and open enrollments often bring up many questions for employers and employees alike:

  • Does the health plan provide good value?
  • Are the benefits offered competitive in today’s market?
  • Are there sufficient options offered?
  • Are employees carrying the right amount of the plan cost?

While decisions for 2024 plans have likely already been made, it is never too early to start thinking strategically about your employee benefits program and to consider how your offerings compare to those of peer organizations. By leveraging benchmarking data, you can make informed decisions about your employer-sponsored healthcare benefits strategy, plan ahead for future years and confidently answer the questions that may arise.  Continue reading

2024 Health Plan Renewal Perspective

As we have reached the year’s midpoint, employers are increasingly focusing on their upcoming 2024 health plan renewals. Numerous factors contribute to the renewal rates and overall costs of health plans, and this year, employers may experience higher premiums than in the recent past due to ongoing COVID-19-related impacts and general inflation, among other factors. Employers may also consider changing their health plan’s carrier or administrator, weighing the potential cost savings against the impact it might have on their employees. Continue reading

Investment in Employee Well-Being

Employers have a vested interest in the overall well-being of their employees. A happy and healthy workforce increases productivity, reduces absenteeism, improves retention and lowers total benefit costs. There are several ways employers can invest in employee well-being. Employers can focus on one or more of the four pillars of well-being: physical, mental, financial and social, or they can take a more comprehensive approach.  Continue reading

How the End of the COVID-19 Emergency Periods Will Impact Health Plans

UPDATE – COVID-19 National Emergency Ends Sooner Than Previously Announced

On March 29, 2023, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution that would end the COVID-19 national emergency declaration that has been in place since 2020. The U.S. House of Representatives voted in February to terminate the order, and President Joe Biden had indicated that he would sign the bill despite strongly opposing it. Biden had previously announced plans to end the national emergency declaration implemented by former President Donald Trump in May 2023. This resolution will not change the end date of the public health emergency which remains May 11, 2023.

On April 10, 2023, President Biden signed a resolution ending the COVID-19 national emergency. Since the national emergency now has been determined to end on April 10, 2023, the 60-day period would end on June 9, 2023 (rather than July 10, 2023, as previously predicted). But we understand the DOL has indicated that it will continue to use the May 11 date, meaning the outbreak period would end on July 10, 2023 (60 days after May 11) as originally announced. We are hopeful the agencies will issue formal, written guidance to confirm the end of the outbreak period.

Our original post about the plans to end the national emergency and public health emergency is included below.  We also hosted a Q&A webinar on this topic on March 2.  Click here to watch the webinar recording.

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