As 2015 approaches, employers are getting prepared for the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate that’ll be coming into effect from next month. Since employers are taking it seriously to increase their benefit offerings and withstand the rising costs, here are the key areas that need their attention.

Plan Wellness Programs:

As the employers are seeing increased health care premium costs, there is a need for well-administered wellness program that can help companies reduce premiums while promoting healthier and productive workforce. Many employers are struggling to understand the rules for the plans as there are still some unanswered questions related to Disabilities Act, ACA and related employment laws and regulations. Thus, the plans must be well-controlled.

Minimize Costs Through Smaller Networks:

Majority of insurance carriers are expected to implement micro networks with a view to minimize costs for employers within ACA framework. As employers need to deliver affordable health coverage to everyone, thus, they are considering joining smaller networks through proper planning and investigation. Since the parameters for micro-network are very specific, employers must know their employee size accurately and evaluate the available options properly.

Private Insurance Exchanges:

In order to find better ways to deliver health coverage to employees, employers are moving towards the private insurance exchanges. Employers are also openly transferring the responsibility of health care decisions to employees in order to make them better health care consumers. Additionally, employers can also benefit from the predictable costs. However, it may not be that easy for employees as they are not accustomed to making decisions and usually cringe away to see the out-of-pocket burden.  It is thus, employers’ responsibility to help employees through the transitions and orient them by introducing the defined contribution approach and other concepts such as fixed dollar contributions, premium transparency and multiple plan options.

Cyber Insurance:

Employers are increasingly moving towards cyber insurance as they not only want to safeguard intellectual information, customer data, financial data, and employee records, but also want to be prepared against the expected financial hit. Thus, it is being viewed as the cash flow tool. It is for the reason that if any cyber attack occurs, then to fix the problem, a lot of cost will be incurred including those for consultants as well. In order to cover these expenses, cyber insurance becomes inevitable.

Forensic Underwriting:

With a view to reduce annual benefit costs, employers are adopting the forensic underwriting practice that audits employer’s insurance rate structure and coordinates with carriers to bring down the costs.

These are the major employee benefit trends that will be focused upon in 2015. Thus, employers must be ready for adopting the trends and staying ahead of the curve.

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