Non-Insurance Products are the Next Evolution in Employee Benefits
Aug 31, 2015
As the EVP Employee Benefits Practice Leader with New Benefits, I spend a lot of time talking with brokers. I often ask them if they remember back 10 years ago, when I encouraged them to go out and sell voluntary benefits. Back then, they basically told me to get lost.
Those early products were what I call “Johnny Lunch-Bucket” benefits, created primarily for the fixed-wage earner who couldn’t afford traditional insurance. Since then, product manufacturers have paid close attention to the evolving needs of the employee and the changing landscape of employer-sponsored benefit programs. Thanks to the evolution of products such as life insurance, critical illness and accident plans, everyone from the fixed-wage earner to the highly paid executive now has the opportunity to piece together a comprehensive benefits offering tailored to meet their specific needs. Although they were reluctant at first, brokers today have embraced voluntary benefits.
The Next Evolution
Today non-insurance products are truly light-years beyond what they were a decade ago. In this day and age, many leading consultant and brokerage houses include non-insurance products in their arsenal. Simply put, their clients see how these programs provide employees with increased advocacy, helping them navigate an increasingly complex healthcare system. To top it off, these innovative products complement an employer’s core benefits program, helping to further stretch the employee’s health care spending dollars.
There is no question that non-insurance medical and lifestyle benefits help employees save time and money in the face of uncertainty. However, non-insurance solutions do so much more than that. These state-of-the-art products offer employers a unique opportunity to increase employee productivity, boost morale and decrease absenteeism.
Employer interest in telehealth is skyrocketing. Implementation of telehealth programs is expected to reach 37 percent in 2015, with another 34 percent considering this option in 2017[i]. It’s time for brokers to get educated about this increasingly popular benefit.
Here are three critical Telehealth facts you need to know:
1. Telehealth is the ideal solution for common illnesses.
This benefit is most commonly used for:
- Sinus problems
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Pink Eye
- Upper Respiratory Infection
- Nasal congestion
- Ear infection
2. Telehealth is incredibly easy.
Here’s how it works: Once a member completes their medical history online, they’re ready to request a phone consultation. A doctor calls back within 16 minutes, on average. The doctor listens to the member’s symptoms, diagnoses the issue and prescribes medication when necessary. The doctor then calls in the prescription to the member’s specified pharmacy of choice.
3. Telehealth saves employers a bundle.
This valuable benefit redirects ER and urgent care over-utilization to a more affordable option. Check out just how much employers save through Telehealth[ii]:
- Average cost of an ER visit = $1,477
- Average cost of urgent care = $163
- Average cost of a specialist = $196
- Average cost of primary care physician = $131
- Average cost of Telehealth consultation through New Benefits = $0
These days, there are multiple generations in the workforce: from the multi-tasking Millennial who wants everything right now, to the busy Gen X’er with a full-time working spouse and three kids at home, to the Baby Boomer who’s still working because he/she hasn’t squirreled enough away for retirement. And employer groups have the unenviable task of finding a way to meet all of their diverse needs.
Not only do each of these distinct generations have varying benefit requirements—but how they access their benefits is extremely different. If you can present your employer clients with a benefits solution that meets the needs of such a wide-ranging group, you’re way ahead of the game. To cater to a multi-generational workforce, many employers are turning to health advocacy programs.
Benefits Behind the Benefits
As a broker, when you discuss health advocacy products with an employer group, it’s important to explain the “benefits behind the benefits.” Employers soon realize how non-insured products provide employees with guidance to navigate an ever-increasingly complex healthcare system, while also giving them complementary programs that help stretch their health and lifestyle spending dollars.
Here are just a few ways a health advocacy program can serve the needs of Millennials to seniors and everyone in between:
- Young Millennials: Health advocacy is ideal for young employees who haven’t owned insurance before and don’t understand how to tap into their benefits. These programs include a call center, offering Millennials a place to turn and ask the questions they are accustomed to asking their parents. Additionally, online resources provide the speed of access Millennials want.
- Gen-X: As these employees are starting and growing their families, they need help gathering resources and information. Health advocacy can help them compare facilities and get advice on what to expect.
- Baby Boomers: While these middle age employees typically understand insurance, they often don’t have the time to deal with complex insurance issues that arise along the way. They need someone to call on who can coordinate and resolve issues for them, such as when they need help finding a specialist. Health advocacy is an attractive benefit for Baby Boomer employees who want more personalized attention from a medical health advisor.
- Seniors: Because these traditionalist employees often have multiple plans, they need help understanding bills and coordinating claims. Health advocacy is the perfect solution.
Health advocacy programs not only help today’s multi-generational workforce spend their healthcare dollars more wisely—these innovative benefits also keep employees happier, healthier and more productive.
This is just one example of many non-traditional benefits employers should consider for a multi-generational workforce. It’s become clear that these cutting-edge products are the next evolution in employee benefits. As a broker, if you are not currently offering these contemporary solutions, you’re already a step behind the curve.
About the Author
Brian Latkowski, EVP of Global Sales at New Benefits
Brian helps brokerage firms, consulting firms, insurance companies and TPAs find benefits that fit their needs. Prior to joining the New Benefits team, Brian was SVP at Frost Insurance Employee Benefits; VP Health & Welfare for National Financial Partners; and various sales and leadership roles with United Healthcare and Health Net. New Benefits is the leader in non-insured health, personal security, financial, travel and leisure benefits. Read their blog here.
[i] Source: Towers Watson 2014 Health Care Changes Ahead Survey Report
[ii] Source: Teladoc, 2014.