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STRATEGY & PROGRAM DESIGN

5 Things to Consider When
Creating Health Benefits Plans

Creating a high-performing health benefits plan that does right by employees while also being aligned to business goals and benefits strategy is no easy task. Chances are good health insurance will be part of the mix as it is a must for most workers when it comes to employee benefits. But what form of health insurance will best serve the needs of employees? And what other health and wellness benefits might help your workers and your business achieve the goals that matter most? Answering questions like these is a process, and it’s one that ends up confusing many companies. This is when the help of a benefits advisor to help a company learn what they need to know and guide them through the process can be invaluable. And it’s exactly what we do at LHD Benefit Advisors.

LHD Benefit Advisors: A Trusted Partner for Strategy and Design

Now more than ever, businesses across every industry in the US are revisiting the healthcare benefits they provide to employees. They want a plan that will help every worker get the health services they need to stay healthy and productive, a plan that can minimize long-term financial risk and control costs, and a plan that gets the best results possible. Meanwhile, it’s nearly impossible for a business to have the in-house expertise needed to achieve these goals through the health benefits program design process. 

What are the most important factors to be thinking about in the process? LHD has been helping businesses design and implement high-performing health benefits plans since 1999. In fact, we’re in the top five independent insurance agencies that do this type of work. In this article, we’ll present five things to consider when creating health benefits plans. 

1. Data: Crafting High-Performing, Data-Driven Health Benefits Plans

We put this one first because in the digital age of the twenty-first century, if the goal is to craft a high-performing, results-oriented health benefits plan, the most important pathway for getting there is through data. LHD is data-driven every step of the way. Why? More data is available than ever before, and we have the computing power and analytics capabilities to extract actionable insights from the data to inform the business process of designing, implementing, and evaluating health benefits plans that make a real difference to your business and your employees. 

The data and the technology improve administrative efficiency for us and for you, and we leverage it into better business decision-making when developing cost-effective plans. You’ll see how data comes into the process every step of the way as we consider the remaining five things to consider when creating health benefits plans. 

2. Balancing Wants and Needs: The Employee Perspective

We draw on data about your employees and how they have utilized the health benefits your company has been providing to them. We study their demographics as well as their population health data. When we develop a fuller understanding of their current health status and health care usage patterns, we learn a lot about what your employees need in order to become and remain healthier in order to be productive individuals for your company. 

But we don’t stop there. We will also develop a customized survey tailored to your specific context of your business in order to find out their perspectives on a variety of issues. You can read more about that process on our [LINK] Intentional Design [/LINK] page. In this data we may learn there are particular wellbeing programs your company could offer are something your workers want, wouldn’t cost much, but would have a solid return on investment because of the potential positive impact they could have on population health, and thereby productivity. The data may also reveal particular healthcare challenges and needs your employees have, whether they themselves recognize them or not, that should be addressed in your health benefits plan in order to reduce the risk of big claims down the road. 

If your workforce skews heavily young and healthy, it might make more sense to offer a health savings account as an optional benefit in lieu of traditional health insurance. Many younger, healthy employees are dismayed at watching premium shares go to “waste” because year after year they never require enough care to even come close to meeting their deductible. The key here is to gain insights from the data to put together an array of benefits that makes sense for your business and your employees. What many workers especially appreciate is flexibility and choice in options rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to health benefits. They want real choice when it comes to selecting which specific health benefits best fit their unique situation, needs, and preferences. 

3. Communication: Plan for it Early in the Process

One thing we pride ourselves on at LHD is not letting communication slip through cracks, which includes both our communication with you as your benefits advisor, but also the communication you need to have with your employees about their health benefits. This happens all too often when a company makes changes to the health benefits it offers to workers. Whether the change is big or small, it’s happening for a reason. There are desired outcomes you want from the change, but you can’t hope to achieve those outcomes if you don’t strategically design and execute a highly effective communication plan to inform employees. Based on many years of experience in seeing what works and what falls short, LHD will help you develop the communication plan you need to reach everyone. 

4. Affordability: Controlling Costs While Getting Results

Did the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) make healthcare more affordable? Not really. It helped a lot of people get more affordable health insurance, but in terms of the actual cost of healthcare, it only slowed the rate of increase in healthcare costs. Because the problem of ever-increasing healthcare costs is not going to go away any time soon, every business needs to figure out how to control costs while still providing meaningful and effective health benefits. Regardless of what is or is not happening in Washington DC around healthcare policy, LHD works tirelessly to identify cost-saving measures while still delivering high-performing health benefits plans. 

Back in 2019, studying the data and the trends, we identified a surprisingly simple change we could make to the way we do PBM (prescription benefit managers) that resulted in a 20% reduction in Rx spend on behalf of our clients, saving them millions of dollars with no discernable impact on people getting the prescription drugs they need in a timely fashion. 

Another way we save money for our clients is by handling RFPs on your behalf. Putting various benefits out to bid is a process to which few companies can devote the time, resources, or expertise to do it right. But the payoff can be huge. One year we recently handled more than 250 RFPs, and the end result saving our clients more than $30 million. 

It would be nice if financial viability weren’t even part of the equation, but it is. Wouldn’t you rather be working with a benefits advisor who is continuously seeking ways to cut costs while still achieving a plan that gets the results you need? 

5: Evaluation: Regular Assessment is Key to Long-Term Performance

Making significant changes or completely overhauling a company’s health benefits plan is a significant project. One thing to avoid is thinking after you’ve made the changes then you’re done. In a competitive and constantly shifting landscape like health benefits, you can’t afford to just move on and not think about it anymore. Constant vigilance is needed to regularly collect ongoing data and evaluate whether the plan is producing the desired results. Everything changes faster than ever in the digital era, which means you need to be ready to make adjustments along the way to keep things on track. 

Few companies have the bandwidth or expertise to do this type of ongoing measurement and evaluation of their health benefits plan. LHD handles it for you and keeps you informed about what’s happening on a regular basis so you can focus on running your company and not worrying about what’s happening with your health benefits plan. When something that comes up needing your attention, you’ll be the first to know. Learn more about how Measure and Evaluate on your behalf.  

A Better Way to do Health Benefits: LHD Benefit Advisors

We hope the information presented on this page has been helpful to you in terms of thinking through some of the core elements to think about in relation to the employee benefits you offer. These five things to consider when creating health benefits plans cover a lot of what we do and what we’re about at LHD. We invite you to learn more by contacting us. You can call us at Call us at 371.751.7049 or send an email message to lhdbenefits@lhdbenefits.com. We look forward to hearing from you.

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