I recently started doing crossword puzzles. They can be challenging and will exercise your mental muscle. When evaluating the clues, you have to think outside the box as the answers are often not as obvious as you’d think. Many times you need to complete sections around the most difficult words so the letters help complete the picture. Completed words lead to other words.
I started to relate my newfound hobby to the process of building a complete benefit package. After all, that’s an immense puzzle that must be solved each year! Just as filling in words on a crossword puzzle helps solve surrounding words, I think bundling benefits into one package helps solve many ills employers are dealing with in today’s benefit plans.
Based on feedback from my clients, I’ve compiled a few clues you can listen for as you work toward building the perfect benefits package for your employers.
Clue 1: Employer is experiencing significant medical plan rate increases each year.
Solution: A no-consult fee telehealth plan will redirect office visits, urgent care and emergency room visits away from the health plan, thus reducing claims. Specialty care email services provide second opinion support and consultative service to reduce specialist visits.
Clue 2: Employees complain of increasing out-of-pocket costs and smaller physician networks in the medical plan.
Solution: No-cost primary care telehealth plan and specialty care email service provides employees more convenient, less expensive options for accessing care. Advocacy services provide employees price transparency and bill reconciliation to help them save money. Prescription savings plans give employees options to reduce medication costs and become aware of pharmacy price differences.
Clue 3: Employer wants flexibility to change medical plan designs and/or carriers to manage rate increases.
Solution: Ensure the bundle is separate from the medical plan to smooth out disruption to employees. Advocacy benefits can help employees select doctors in the new plan networks. Prescription savings plans can help employees offset potential cost increases with changing formularies.
Clue 4: Employer sees the value of telehealth, specialty care email service, advocacy and prescription savings plan, but doesn’t want to set up direct plans with each vendor.
Solution: This is an easy one. HR teams are time-starved, so bundling benefits allows for easier implementation and service. One invoice, one account management team, one file feed or eligibility system, and one member services number makes for efficient delivery of these complementary benefits to employers and employees.
Clue 5: HR doesn’t have time to implement an effective communication plan for the new benefits.
Solution: A shelf ready, easy to implement employee engagement campaign is necessary to support the client. This will increase awareness of the benefits, drive utilization and improve workplace satisfaction. An exceptional campaign will include physical cards and benefit booklets, a member app and portal, monthly newsletters, engaging videos, blogs and easy-to-read flyers.
When we follow the clues and look outside the box, we can find solutions that will delight the customer. While a bundle of complementary benefits may not be the main word in the benefit package puzzle, it can provide key letters to fill gaps and help complete the puzzle. As a seasoned benefits consultant, you don’t want to ignore the clues!
Now it's your turn! How are you using bundles to help employers meet their benefit needs? What do you look for in the bundles you recommend? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.