ATHENS, Pa. — Hiring new employees is one of the most difficult and potentially expensive things you do. No matter how good your screening process, bringing on a new employee is always a “roll of the dice.” You are never sure if your new team member will be the right fit. If you don’t make a good choice, you have to start again at the beginning of the process. It’s also important to remember, you’re always in competition for the best employees with neighboring farms and businesses. How can you differentiate your offer from the others?
Obviously salary is an important component of a job offer. But, research has shown that employees view their benefits package as an important part of their compensation. One recent study showed that 78% of employees are more likely to stay with an employer because they are happy with their benefits program. Critical components of a benefits package include, health, vision and dental insurance.
Offering the right insurance plan for you and your employees can be challenging. There are several factors to consider as you make this decision. Below are some of the keys to making the right choice.
Plans and Designs:
Health insurance can be complicated and expensive, as you’re working with your agent to develop your plan, you should consider the following:
- Plan Type – plan types are an alphabet soup of letters – HMO, PPO, HSA and many more. Each of these plans will cover your employees a little differently. Different plans have different network availability, deductibles, savings components and other variables. Your agent can help you build a plan that meets your needs.
- Deductibles – A deductible is the amount you pay for healthcare services before your insurance kicks in. Most plans offer several deductible levels from $0 to thousands of dollars. The size of the deducible directly affects the cost of the plan.
- Maximum – out of pocket maximums are the most an individual or family will pay during the year for covered services. Maximums can vary greatly and affect the cost of your plan.
- Prescriptions – prescriptions are an important part of a healthcare plan and can drastically affect how much someone pays each year. You should consider what drugs are covered, which pharmacies participate, among other things.
- Provider Networks – networks can vary, some have a broad range of providers while some use a limited set of doctors. Out-of-network care is another consideration. You need to make sure local providers, hospitals and pharmacies are included.
One of the major concerns when offering healthcare to your employees is cost. Below are some of the things – combined with plan design – you can do to keep costs down.
- Work with an experienced agent – you’re not a health insurance expert, so make sure you work with one. Find an agent you can trust who has years of experience and access to multiple programs.
- Wellness and technology programs – technology and wellness are becoming important tools in health and health care management. On-line tools help engage employees and encourage them to make healthy choices using fun, easy, trackable activity platforms. In todays world, telemedicine is becoming key way to communicate with healthcare professionals.
- Flexible contribution programs – Health Savings Accounts and other flexible spending programs allow employers and/or employees to contribute (often pre-tax) to an account that can be used to cover approved medical expenses.
- Advocate and educate – you want to work with someone that will advocate on your behalf in the event of a claim. Additionally, you want your agent to keep you up to date on regulatory changes that could effect your coverage and your costs.
There are many benefits to offering your employees health insurance. Along with bringing down costs in the long run, research shows that offering health insurance is a good idea for employer and employees:
- Stable & motivated workforce – Offering health insurance benefits to your team can help ensure a stable and motivated workforce and lower turnover rates.
- Improve productivity – Productivity improvements have been seen when employees have health coverage. Health insurance coverage allows your employees to be healthier, return to work quicker, and stay on the job.
- Attract and retain employees – As the labor market gets more competitive, it can be difficult to attract and keep good employees. Employees see value in health insurance benefits and it gives them a reason to choose you.
- Improve Morale – Health insurance benefits can increase morale throughout your staff and generate a positive culture.
- Tax benefits – There is also a potential tax benefit to offering health insurance; you may be able to deduct your health plan contributions. We recommend consulting a legal or financial advisor before taking advantage of this possible tax benefit.
Offering health insurance benefits to your team is a great way to attract qualified, skilled workers, decrease turnover rates, and increase morale and productivity. There are many options and factors to consider that could make the process seem overwhelming and confusing. Working with a qualified agent can make the process much easier, together you can design a plan that meets your needs and your budget.
About Emma Stalker-Miller
Emma Stalker-Miller is a benefits insurance specialist with ASA, she’s licensed in life and health insurance and works primarily on group health plans for farms and agribusinesses. Emma grew up working as a ranch hand on her family farm going on to graduate with a degree in animal sciences from Kansas State. Emma’s continues to put her experience and expertise to work for her clients. Give Emma a call at 620-255-2459 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
About Agri-Services Agency
ASA has been providing health insurance to farms and agribusinesses for over 50 years. ASA offers a variety of competitively priced, high-quality insurance programs designed to give agribusiness owners a competitive edge and to help attract and retain good employees. Our Sales and Service Center is available seven days a week, 365 days a year, to answer questions and help you find the plan that is right for you. We also have team members located around the country who work directly with customers on a local level.
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