It’s no secret many employers plan to shift more costs on to employees as healthcare premiums climb. If you’re in that group, here are three things you’ll want to consider before the shifts potentially disrupt morale.
1. Employees may stop going to the doc
One thing some employers may not realize when they decide to shift some healthcare cost increases toward employees: It may lead employees to put off going to the doctor for routine checkups — or when they’re sick.
When the cost of going to the doctor goes up (whether it’s through increases in co-pays or deductibles) more people will put off routine/preventive care.
That means the short-term cost savings your company would see by shifting costs onto employees may quickly be swept away if the overall health of your workforce declines due to diminished care — resulting in more major medical claims or being placed in a higher risk pool by your insurer.
2. Wellness workers — in the long run
If you’re in the group that believes increasing out-of-pocket costs would diminish employees’ health, there is another option that can reduce healthcare costs — but it won’t help overnight: Ramp up your wellness initiatives.
Whether you increase incentives to motivate employees to participate in your wellness programs or add activities — like blood pressure screenings, cholesterol tests, or flu shots — improving the health of your employees can save you big bucks in major medical costs in the long run.
3. There are other benefits employees want
If cost-shifting is the only option, there are ways to soften the blow to your workforce.
- Offering more voluntary benefits. Even when they’re asked to cover most of the costs, many employees look at voluntary benefits (disability, dental coverage) as being financially beneficial.
- Offering flexible spending accounts (FSAs). These can help employees put away pre-tax dollars to cover increasing healthcare costs.