Thursday, October 20, 2016

2016 Employee Benefits Survey Offers Insight into Cost and Compliance Challenges

HANYS Benefit Services’ 2016 Employee Benefits Survey, Understanding the Strategic Value of Health Benefits, highlights the need to take a multi-faceted approach when designing a cost-efficient and competitive benefits package.

A benefits package must be structured in a way that is competitive and controls costs, without shortchanging employee health and wellbeing. To achieve this delicate balance, employers are increasingly seeking guidance on compliance and plan design.

“This survey helped call to attention the increasingly complex circumstances under which employee benefit plans are constructed,” said James J. Kelley, President, HANYS Benefit Services. “Employers still need to design plans that are cost effective without a negative impact on recruitment or retention of key employees. The message is clear that the best way to accomplish this goal is to use creative strategies and seek professional guidance on regulations.”

Key takeaways from the 2016 HBS survey:
  • Employee benefit regulations and laws created trouble spots for employers. When attempting to meet Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliance requirements, obstacles to success were not so much about confusion over these requirements as about process issues and external factors, such as a lack of guidance as to what codes they should be using, which prevented completion of the reporting. 
  • Employers are relying on shared responsibility to offset increased employee health insurance costs. Doing whatever they can to leverage all the tools at their disposal, employers are taking a multi-faceted, comprehensive approach to solving this highly complex problem. They also recognize that keeping costs down needs to be a partnership approach between the company and its employees.
  • Employers are viewing their wellness efforts more holistically and creatively. Most organizations offer a wellness program, but included in the mix is an effort to address not only physical ailments but also the overall financial wellness of employees as part of a more holistic approach that recognizes the body-mind connection.
  • There is a need for guidance on regulatory and legislative compliance. At a time of increased government oversight, the vast majority of employers are turning to industry experts for guidance on regulatory and legislative compliance. The findings suggest that hiring and retaining a trusted adviser will be a crucial path to success.
The polling sample for this report primarily reflects experiences in the large employer market. Most of the executives polled (41%) work for companies with 1,000 or more benefits-eligible employees, including full-time and part-time staffers but excluding temporary help and interns. Considerable insight also was offered by companies with head counts of 100 to 499 (32%). Responses from human resources professionals were summarized and analyzed to help inform key employee benefits topics and provide insight to be used by human resources professionals.

Read Understanding the Strategic Value of Health Benefits to learn more. If you have any questions, or would like to begin talking to an advisor, please get in touch by calling (800) 388-1963 or e-mail us at hbs@hanys.org.

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