As oil prices fall, health care cost increases become increasingly meaningful. Based on Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, health care cost increases continue to outpace inflation and wage growth. Could switching to a private exchange help you keep your employees happy while keeping costs down?
With the emergence and anticipated growth of private medical exchanges in the US, employers have a new option to consider that may help them optimize their reward programs. Given job security is paramount, now may be the time to introduce a private exchange with minimal employee disruption. Employees are more likely to be focused on financial security (i.e., keeping their job and base pay) and understand that changes are necessary to remain viable long-term.
To better understand how introduction of an exchange delivery model could affect employee commitment and engagement, Mercer conducted focus groups for an oilfield services company. While a range of topics were discussed, those related to health and welfare benefits are analyzed in this article.
After providing focus group participants the basics of a private exchange, and how it differs from a “traditional” health and welfare benefits program, employees were asked for feedback on whether introduction of an exchange would be considered a positive or negative as part of a broader set of questions pertaining to their current benefits program.
When it came to what employees valued in their health and welfare benefits program, they placed high priority on:
- More health plan choices
- Decision support
- Less costly benefits
- Ability to keep their current physician in-network
Providing the right rewards can keep your most-needed workers by your side even during difficult times. Should you be considering switching to a private exchange?