How to Deliver Benefits Plans and Programs That Fit


A study conducted by SHRM in 2018 found that 92% of employees feel that benefits are important to their overall job satisfaction and retention. This means the organizations you’re competing against for talent are actively promoting their healthcare plans and programs as a reason to jump ship. If you’re not providing a robust benefits package, or you don’t know how your benefits package stacks up, you could lose some of your most valuable resource – your people.

That’s why it’s essential to conduct a benefit plan design comparison at least once a year. By effectively analyzing your benefits plan, you can identify areas of weakness and fill the gaps before your employees start to turnover.


How do you determine employee benefits?

To effectively run a benefit plan design comparison for your organization, there are a few key areas where you need to focus your time, energy, and effort.


1. Understanding Your Population’s Biggest Wants and Needs:

The first step in any plan design analysis is understanding your population’s current satisfaction with their benefits plan. You can leverage employee feedback through surveys and yearly reviews to gauge your overall employee satisfaction with your benefits package.

However, you can also gain valuable insight into your competition along the way. The majority of your team has likely come from organizations that you actively compete with for talent. With this in mind, you have a sea of knowledge about what benefits packages are offered at other companies. Tapping into this knowledge can be done by running an employee survey, asking questions such as:

  • How does our benefits plan compare to the last company you worked for?
  • Do you pay more or less for your healthcare out-of-pocket than you did in your last job?
  • Are you more or less satisfied with your current benefits package than the package you had two years ago?

These questions provide dual benefits of both gauging current employee satisfaction and providing insight into the benefits you’re competing within the marketplace.


2. Benchmarking Your Health Coverage Against Similar Organizations:

Once you understand your team’s satisfaction levels with your current benefits package, you can dive into benchmarking your plan against similar organizations. High-level benchmark reports are easy to find online and can provide effective direction at a 30,000-foot view. If you want to dig deeper, however, you’ll need a tool with a finer point.

Solutions like the Springbuk Health Intelligence platform equip you with an efficient benchmarking feature to see how specific details of your benefits plan stack up. This allows your leadership team to see how your current benefits offerings compare to organizations like your own. Moreover, these benchmarking tools can compare health costs and claims, meaning you can also identify areas where your spending diverges from your competition.

You can leverage these findings to validate your leadership team’s current health management investments and justify expansion where relevant. For example, suppose you notice that you’re spending more than other organizations like yours on tier 3 pharmaceuticals. In that case, the argument can be made that an investment in an employee engagement solution to promote generic equivalents would make financial sense.


3. Running a Benefit Plan Design Comparison of Various Coverage Options:

Finally, once you have assessed your team’s satisfaction and compared your benefits to other organizations like yours, it’s time to start running hypothetical benefit plan design comparisons. Again, this process can be extremely cumbersome and costly without turning to an intelligent solution like the Springuk Health Intelligence platform to put your data to work for you.

To adequately determine the optimal use of your healthcare dollars, you need to see what various plan scenarios will look like for your population. This requires a plan design modeler built to analyze your population based on actual health claims and forecast future spend. For example, Springbuk Plan Design Modeler, backed by actuaries, allows you to design, compare, and analyze unlimited plan scenarios. This allows you to compare your plan scenarios head-to-head to determine the value of each plan for your population and the total forecasted cost of each plan to the next year.


How has COVID-19 impacted employee benefits design?

When benefits leaders were tasked with evaluating current benefits to ensure employees are equipped with the resources they need, there was no playbook with a framework to build off of. Over the coming months, organizations will have to consider multiple scenarios and plan options to mitigate short and long-term impacts while maintaining a competitive edge to retain top talent.

During a webinar highlighting how employers are responding to COVID-19, Lisa Uthenannt, Former CHRO of LabCorp, stated, “From a benefits plan perspective, we spend so much time benchmarking. I would say given this pandemic, all bets are off. There will need to be new benchmarks, as everyone reviews their plans. We'll need to identify what it means to be competitive in this new environment. We need to look at tactics to alleviate revenue pressure, and we need to be making responsible decisions. It goes back to understanding balance – what does your organization need to do to ensure financial stability and what needs to be done to ensure we're prepared to move forward in an environment where this sort of pandemic could happen again."

To highlight which employee benefits have historically been the most impactful, we reviewed our 2019 Health Employers Assessment Data. Discover the three we found to be the most prominent across last year’s participants.