Game-changer’: How One Employer Got Off the Hamster Wheel

Terrie, the benefits director for an organization with subsidiaries in the heavy construction equipment and services arena, distinctly remembers dreading open enrollment each year. It wasn’t a matter of if they were going to receive an increase; it was just a matter of how much. She describes the experience with the same old tired solutions as a “decade long hamster wheel and revolving door of shuffling carriers.” In 2010, her company was presented with a 26% rate increase on their fully insured health plan. Terrie and her CEO agreed they were not going to spend a penny more on a fully-insured plan and decided it was time to make a change. They moved their plan to self-funding, joined the Everlong Captive, and over time implemented wellness and disease management programs to reduce claims costs.

Ten years later, the organization AND the employees are both paying less for health care than in 2009. With the ability to manage healthcare spend and reduce costs, the company has been able to provide strong coverage while lowering employee premiums to the point where employee contribution for family coverage is $277 per month in 2019. They have also been able to provide additional benefits such as vision insurance at no cost to employees and their dependents, an annual contribution to employee Health Savings Accounts (HSA) of $1,000 minimum (up to $1,250), and a comprehensive wellness program which offers no cost annual biometric screenings to employees and their spouses.

As a result, health benefits have gone from an expensive burden to an excellent recruitment tool in a tight labor market. Terrie describes self-funding in the Everlong Captive a “game-changer” solution for her employer and the employees.

There is something employers can do about the never-ending increases in their group health insurance costs—something besides pushing those increases onto employees. Self-funding and joining a captive with sophisticated programs to control claims costs takes a little effort and a broker consultant who is innovative and competent, but the potential to significantly improve benefits with the same or sometimes less cost for the employees can be a competitive game-changer in a tight labor market.

Catch up on Part 1: From Hamster Wheel to Game-changer

Catch up on Part 2: Employer Health Care Benefits: There is a Better Way

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