Too many times there is benefit bashing, whether based on cost, usage, carrier, employers, etc. Someone is always looking to blame someone else for the cost, lack of coverage, policy wording, access, etc. The fact of the matter is, as a benefit consultant, it is not a matter of we verses they, the user and the provider, but more a matter how can we all effectively work together for the common good to create the win-win scenario for all parties.
Without a doubt, benefits form an essential component of any corporation. From promotion of wellness and culture, to enhancing the overall compensation strategy for attraction and retention of top talent, benefits can attribute as much as 40% to any overall compensation package. Therefore, there is a cost, and with that comes enormous return on capital investment.
While it’s true, benefits need to be cost-effective in order to be retained, they also need to be approached with the common sense that goods and services have a dollar value. If we want employees to be able to utilize the plan effectively, have the coverage they need when they need it, then there has to be an acceptance that that comes at a price. The determination of cost is not only impacted by a corporations own usage, but of other economic factors which impact all elements of benefits. While we may not like paying the electric bill, there is a need for power to keep the lights on and charge the machinery and the cost is established as the cost of doing business.
Yes, the costs of drugs increase each year and that expense is flucuates based on someone utilizing a brand-name, or biologic, to generic substitution, or bio-similar. The same is true for the cost of glasses year over year, and dental visits, massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, etc. As these costs of the services increase, and usage by plan members continue to be processed through the benefit plan, the overall price point of the benefit plan will increase to accommodate these changes.
But is the non-taxable advantage which will always outweigh paying for these same services out-of-pocket with after-tax dollars which may erode your buying power as much as 42% or more.
Working with a consultant to build an effective benefit plan customized for a corporations specific needs will streamline these costs and make the budget planning acceptable to the bottom line. Having someone who works with the insurance carriers and benefit providers in a collaborative method will make all the difference to the bottom line.
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