Studies show that employees are consistently healthier and happier when the workplace is flexible. Options in work schedules, the ability to work from home, and even multiple beverage choices in a kitchen — all give employees a sense of ownership and command of how they make their living and live their lives.
Just as this is true in numerous everyday areas of work, it’s also true with employee health benefits. These days, the biggest trend in the health benefits industry is allowing for more flexibility among benefits options. With these new flexible, employee-directed benefits plans, employees can pick and choose the coverage that will work for them — something they never had before.
Flexibility in Benefits and the Fastest Growing Generation
Today more than ever, Generation Y (20-somethings), Generation X (those in their 30s and 40s), and late and early baby boomers are thrown together in the workplace. Moreover, when it comes to benefits, they all have different opinions.
Smart employers can engage all four of these distinct groups but pay particular attention to the fastest-growing group: Generation Y. Today, these individuals make up only 25 percent of the Canadian workforce, but by just 2020, that number will rise to 40 per cent.
Generation Y employees have needs when it comes to their health insurance. In fact, 70 percent said they’d “prefer flexible benefits plan to a traditional plan.”
Mix and Match to Get the Perfect Fit
For those interested in learning more about these flexible options, there are numerous components available that you can mix and match to make your perfect plan. You may opt for an HSA paired with an EAP, or many even a Voluntary Benefits package. To learn more about what options are available, we’ve laid out some of the basics:
- Health Spending Accounts (HSA)
HSAs are health spending accounts. These are tax-free accounts that insurers can set up to provide employees with more choice when it comes to how they spend their money on healthcare. The employer funds the account with their desired amount, and the employee decides how they want to use those funds.
- Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs)
EAPs are employee assistance plans. These plans support employees’ mental health and wellness. They can help employees deal with mental health or mood issues that, when improved, will them happier and healthier overall. These plans provide employees and their families’ access to communicate with mental health professionals by phone, email, or video or web chat.
- Employee-Directed Benefits (Customizable programs)
These benefits combine simplified health insurance plans with options for each employee to personalize the plans themselves. Personalization can include selecting deductibles, co-insurance levels and/or the option to choose from other voluntary benefits.
Providing employees with the option of voluntary benefits is a rising trend in healthcare benefits. These benefits are supplementary, and employees may choose to opt-in to whichever of these taxable benefits that appeal to their lifestyle. They can also be used to build on and encourage the corporate culture you’ve cultivated for your business – do staff love bringing their dogs to the office? When not let them choose pet insurance as one of their additional benefits! Common types of voluntary benefits include critical illness insurance, disability insurance, and life insurance while emerging trends are in travel insurance, pet insurance, and wellness programs like gym memberships. These are typically paired with either an HSA or a more traditional option.
Moreover, How Do You Manage These Options? An Online Benefits Platform!
If you were worried about how to keep all of these options straight, there’s no need! Modern convenience and technology have made it possible to do (and automate!) these things online. One of the unique advantages of online benefits platforms is the improved communication that they provide. With everything online, employees and employers have their plans, benefits, and options at their fingertips. Elimination of paper and everything is on one, easy-to-use platform allowing for individual and employer control of every aspect of an employee’s chosen plan combination.
Allowing employees to have choice and flexibility in their benefits is a clear choice to make when trying to build a healthier, happier workplace. Benecaid Advisors can help HR directors and employers find benefits plans that will work for them and cater to their employee’s unique needs. For more information, contact us today.