This article is provided by the Southern Ohio Chamber Alliance, a partner to Greater Harrison Chamber.

A well-run company looks after its employees. That’s why any long-established business has a health benefits strategy program. 

But what is a health benefits strategy program and what does it seek to accomplish?

A health care benefits strategy is a detailed plan that aims to help your business secure the cost of health insurance, increase employee satisfaction, and make your health care plan more efficient.  

The average cost to insure an employee sits around $14,000 every year. It is no wonder that so many businesses are focused on keeping costs down without sacrificing quality. 

Some businesses place their emphasis on cost reduction, while others need a plan to reduce costs year after year. Across all industries, employers are prioritizing keeping employee satisfaction high.  

Your business does not have to choose between employee satisfaction and reduced cost. You can have both when you create a smart health benefits strategy program.  

In this post, SOCA has assembled a list of tips for creating an effective health care benefits strategy.  

Tips for a Healthier Benefits Strategy 

If you run a small business, and especially if it is relatively new, you may not have ever needed to make a health care benefits strategy before. When you only have a handful of employees, managing health care costs is much easier.  

As your business grows, you will need to create a comprehensive health care benefits strategy, or else your health care costs will quickly spiral out of control.  

Use the tips below to help you create a health care benefits strategy that finds the best balance between cost and care for your business.  

Define Your Goals 

Before you can create a strategy, you need to know what you are trying to accomplish.  

Are you primarily focused on reducing costs? Do you want to improve the quality of care? Or do you seek to reduce costs year after year to make for more sustainable health care?  

Look over your numbers and books, talk to your employees about their health coverage, then determine which direction is best for you.  

Once you make your decision, write down an action statement to get the ball rolling.  

It should look something like this: 

“In 2022 Business X will create a health care benefits strategy to reduce overall health care costs for each individual employee.”

Create Objective to Meet Your Goal 

Baby steps are the key to progress. Come up with three objectives that will help you meet your goal.  

Use this as an example for the previous action statement: 

Objective 1: Improve employee health by implementing a fitness plan that encourages and rewards healthy eating and exercise.

Objective 2: Perform quarterly surveys on employee health care satisfaction to ensure that health care quality does not fall.  

Objective 3: Identify one area that which Business X can cut health care costs.  

Three clear objectives will help you make progress towards meeting your action statement. Set start dates and end dates and hold yourself accountable for meeting them. 

Access Employee Needs 

Health care should be focused on meeting employee needs. Your health care benefits strategy should take this into account.  

Have a clear understanding of employee needs, risks, and usage of their health care plan. This will help you determine which areas are necessary and which are eligible for reduction or elimination.  

Before you start making cuts, remember that health care plans can help attract new employees. If your business is expanding quickly, making cuts now might cost you more long term than it is saving you now.  

Only make cuts if necessary. You never know when health benefits will come in handy.  

Establish Benchmarks 

How will you measure your progress?  

Benchmarks help you determine what is normal for your industry. Use them as a general baseline as figures can vary from state to state.  

Here are some commonly used benchmarks: 

  • Cost per member per year 
  • Chronic condition prevalence 
  • Claims analysis 
  • Out-of-network utilization 
  • Specialty pharmacy usage 
  • Preventive care utilization 
  • Health engagement 

Create an Engagement and Measurement Plan 

Work with your broker or provider to turn your plan into action. Create specific initiatives that will help you reach your goal. 

This will be tailored to your employee’s specific needs. Continue to communicate with your employees throughout and relay important information to your provider.  

Measure each key phase for a metric to succeed. Every step along the way to reaching your goal should be measurable and actionable. This will help you discover more opportunities, what is working, and what is not.  

Measure regularly. Monthly reports will tell you how close you are to meeting your goal, potential roadblocks, and short- or long-term challenges.  

Here is an example: 

Goal: Business X wants to increase preventative care.  

Metric: Percentage of employees who had yearly checkups.  

Superior Health Care One Step at a Time 

You won’t get the best health coverage overnight. It takes time, effort, and commitment.  

Set goals, communicate with employees, and follow your progress. You should aim to facilitate better health care for your employee’s long term.  

A quality health care benefits strategy will help you meet this goal while also decreasing costs.  

One of the best resources you can use to improve your health care coverage and lower costs is to unite with other small businesses through Greater Harrison Chamber and our partnership with SOCA. This self-funded health insurance plan can potentially lead to monthly premium savings and a richer plan benefit plus rate stability for small employers with 2 to 50 employees, or sole proprietors.

For more information, please contact Cincinnati Benefit Solutions at (513) 661-1114 or email Scott Marston Questions can also be directed to Greater Harrison Chamber via email.