Strategy-Driven Plan Design

Aug 20, 2013

There are many different elements to a complete benefits strategy that aligns with your company goals, vision, and philosophy.  Plan design is just one of them but it can impact many of the other elements often considered in an organization’s benefits strategy.

When considering plan design, sustainability can be one of the most important elements in your benefits strategy.  Health care costs continue to rise at alarming rates.  The Canadian health insurance industry estimates that health care costs will increases 10 to 15 percent annually if current trends continue unabated.  This is simply not sustainable in the long term and plan sponsors need to get creative to ensure the sustainability of their benefits strategy over the long term.

The road sustainability leads to another important element: engaging plan members in good consumer behavior.  Plan sponsors can effectively reach plan members with intelligent plan design and targeted communications and education. Empowering your employees to be a part of the solution by engaging them in paying attention to where and how they shop for health services can have a very significant impact on the cost of claim payments.

A benefits program is not simply a transaction between plan sponsor and plan member. It is one of the most significant ways that an organization reaches out to its employees.  A best practices approach to plan design will often include correlating the company’s vision, mission and culture into elements of the benefits program.  It is not easy, but it can be achieved to varying degrees if plan sponsors take the time to examine the many components of plan design that can be customized to align and support organizational values.

These are just some of considerations that can make the difference between a program that is simply unsustainable and one that is manageable, affordable, and sustainable for the long term.  Being on the right path has a corollary benefit – your employees will have a better understanding of their benefit plan and the meaningful contribution the company is making for better health outcomes!

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