Health plans should be as flexible as your business

As employers we all know, health plans and their benefits are like hats, suits or dresses: One size doesn’t fit all.

Just as your business must adapt to the changing needs of your customers, you need to be flexible when choosing and designing employee health plans. The right “fit” for your business will depend on a number of factors, including your size, type of business, stage of development, composition of your competitors, employee mix and, of course, budget. Some questions you might want to consider include:

  • Is employee recruitment and retention a top priority?
  • Which health benefits are most important to your employees? (If you don’t know, ask them!)
  • Who are you competing for when it comes to employee recruitment and retention and what are they offering?
  • Would your company benefit from a wellness program?
  • How many of your employees have or are likely to develop chronic health problems?

Whatever your answers, there are two things we all know to keep in mind. First, when it comes to health plans, you have plenty of choices. And second, when it comes to benefits, your employees also would appreciate more options.

Employers can choose from a wide variety of health benefits products. Some PPO and HMO plans have cost-sharing features to keep premiums affordable; others focus on personal accountability or reward employees for living healthy.

Some experts recommend providing employees with at least two or three plan options. In recent years, consumer-directed, high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), which reward employees for spending health care dollars wisely, have become a popular choice. More than half of U.S. employers that offer health benefits offer a HDHP.

Given the diversity of today’s workforce, your employees are likely to have different health coverage needs, depending in part on their ages, health conditions and marital or economic status.  As Scott Chouinard, the CFO of the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Traverse City remarks in a video on this  website, “Some of the challenges we’ve been grappling with the last few years are costs, which are No. 1, but also giving our employees some flexibility.”

Yet while flexibility is desired for benefits, predictability is employers’ top concern when it comes to controlling costs. A relatively new coverage option, defined contribution plans, can give your business the best of both worlds. According to the 2012 Employer Health Plan Study by J.D. Power and Associates, 47% of employers say they “definitely will” or “probably will” switch to defined contribution health care.


Rising benefit costs is a challenge for all companies. GlidePath, a new solution from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, offers your mid-size company an innovative way to manage spending and risk. It can transform the way you finance your company’s health insurance coverage. With GlidePath’s defined-contribution solution, you can determine your company’s health benefit budget and simplify the administrative work that goes along with offering health benefits.


Photo Credit: Dwonderwall

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