Updated: Aug 17
The impact of diabetes on your group health benefits plan pricing and how to offset it.
Are you paying for diabetes???
The short answer is YES. Here is why...
If you provide your employees with health insurance benefits, your company is likely paying for overall increased healthcare costs that factor in the cost of diabetes. 22.3 million people in the U.S have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recently shared that the total cost of diabetes in 2012 alone was $245 billion, which resulted in higher overall healthcare costs for everyone.
But it’s not just health insurance costs that force a company to “pay” for diabetes. Think about your workforce. If your top performing sales employee has to leave work this year because an undiagnosed case of diabetes progresses into heart disease, kidney failure or blindness (this is not that uncommon), your company will immediately start losing money until he or she is back to work or replaced. When employees (sales employees especially) are sick and unable to work, the employer loses money. When they need to be replaced, turnover and the cost of hiring is very expensive, not to mention time consuming.
So, what can you do to prevent diabetes among your workforce this year?
Employee Wellness Programs – For starters, have an employee wellness program (EWP) in place. These programs don’t need to be time consuming or costly, either. The primary cause for type 2 diabetes is obesity and if we can create environments that promote, support and encourage healthy habits, we can have healthier employees. At HR Shield, we have an entire section of our blog dedicated to EWPs – click here to learn more!
Annual Eye Exams – An annual eye exam is the fastest and easiest way to detect and prevent advanced diabetes. If you’re able to raise awareness and encourage annual exams, you could prevent a health issue before it ever arises. If you’re able to sponsor an annual “eye exam” day for the workforce, that’s even better! As we’ve mentioned above, untreated diabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, kidney failure or blindness.
For more information on employee health and wellness, as well as healthcare costs, call us at (877) 636-9525 or fill out the brief form found on our contact page. HR Shield offers immediate access to expert advice from licensed HR professionals.
What Are Voluntary Benefits?
Are you trying to piece together an employee benefits package for the first time? Perhaps you’re a growing business looking to cut costs yet still provide your team with highly desired benefits. In either one of these scenarios, voluntary benefits could be the solution for you!
Voluntary benefits are insurance products that are not paid for by the employer, but are offered to employees at rates that are lower than they could obtain on their own. A few examples of voluntary benefits are dental, vision, supplemental health, cancer insurance, life and disability.
Many employers prefer voluntary benefits versus offering full-suite employer-sponsored packages for the following reasons:
Employers can offer extremely robust benefits packages with little to no employer costs.
Additional administrative costs can be offset by the payroll tax savings the employer gains from Section 125.
Employees also enjoy low costs when set in comparison to individual plans (by utilizing the purchasing power of your group, the employees get access to benefits at low group rates).
Customization: Employees choose from options that fit their individual health care situations and don’t pay for the extra products they do not want or need.
Voluntary benefits offered through your organization may provide employees with insurance products they otherwise would not be able to obtain at all (especially if the select product is only offered through employer sponsored plans and not on an individual basis).
Designing an EIP (Education Incentive Program) For Your Workplace
Looking for ways to promote a “smarter workplace?” Perhaps you have a few employees interested in continuing their education. Whatever the specific case may be, offering employees access to an education incentive program (EIP) is a great way to assist employees in upgrading their work skills and knowledge. It also ensures your workplace stays up to date on the latest technologies and business techniques.
A workplace education incentive program (EIP) is essentially an employer-funded scholarship program that helps workers pay for the training and education they desire or need in order to advance on their career path.
Because this is “your” plan, it can be designed in any way that you choose. It is recommended to meet with your company’s tax professional and/or financial advisor though, because offering such programs could result in tax benefits for your business. You also want to be financially prepared in the event that you have more employee interest than anticipated.
Ideas for EIPs include:
An allowance of up to $X per year for employees interested in continuing their education
Incorporating an EIP into an existing employee wellness plan (EWP)
Incorporating an EIP into a certification or workplace training program
Covering select classes at a community college for those interested (example: typing classes or computer workshops)
Providing an EIP for specific employees that qualify (for example, they have accomplished something within the workplace or have worked with the company for 5 or more years)
Education incentive programs can also be utilized as a hiring tool/competitive advantage. Although a great benefit, there are still many companies that do not offer them, and they are a great way to position your organization as a company that gives back, is dedicated to the employee, and offers added workplace value and benefits.
For more information on EIPs or assistance in designing your very own EIP, contact your HR Advisor at HR Shield today: (877) 636-9525.