Rethinking Competitive Strategy Through Health Benefits

Updated on October 7, 2022
Image of business partners discussing documents and ideas at meeting
Matt Kim

Amid today’s tight labor market, CEOs continue to lean into their talent strategy as the key lever for growth. And while talent improvement has always been a driver of business competitiveness, few would seldom consider their benefit and employee enablement programs as a source of opportunity. For the longest time, corporate health insurance restricted CEOs to one-size fits all insurance models, resulting in overly bureaucratic processes, hours of administrative management and rising costs without much-added benefits. Today, this paradigm is changing with the passage of the Regulatory Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) and the emergence of innovative health insurance solutions like digital health plan platforms.

Traditionally seen as a government-mandated obligation, many employers are beginning to leverage these changes to health coverage requirements, alongside new technology solutions, to drive efficiencies and, ultimately, corporate competitiveness through talent investment. By ensuring their teams now receive the highest caliber health benefits, employers are now boosting employee health and happiness while eliminating cumbersome and time-consuming administrative tasks. Today, CEOs have an incredible opportunity to rethink their competitive strategy through health benefits. 

Streamlining Benefits Administration 

An estimated 73.2% of HR’s time is tedious administrative tasks, with 25% dedicated to employee healthcare-related issues, from selecting a carrier, dealing with claims, running enrollment, etc. They are also continuously working to retain and develop their most-qualified people to capitalize on market opportunities. ICHRA on its own is not enough to streamline benefits administration. Imagine a 500-employee company utilizing ICHRA and independently managing each staff member’s personal enrollment plan. The mammoth task of handling all 500 would be impractical for finite human resources (HR) personnel. However, CEOs can fully utilize the regulatory changes of ICHRA by integrating an automated platform for enrollment and processing. Such platforms would also manage compliance and pre-tax payments, reducing the higher costs and added logistics of managing enrollment.

With these newly launched health plan platforms, CEOs can minimize the time HR and benefits managers need to spend corresponding with health carriers, processing claims and navigating complex bureaucratic health systems. By leveraging ICHRA, health plan platforms also reduce the time and risk associated with managing health claims for a company’s HR department, as the claims get routed to the carrier (or health insurer) directly by the employee. And because employees don’t have to settle for group plans that serve as a staff average, businesses don’t have to build annual benefits packages or manage open enrollment.

Enhancing Recruitment Efforts and Cost-Savings

Benefits are a key driver in job choice as almost half of employees will leave their employment in the next twelve months over a lack of benefits. But, through ICHRA, a health plan platform can help CEOs position their companies strategically for competition in the talent market based on greater offerings more tailored to their employees’ needs, enhancing recruiting efforts substantially.

The traditional health insurance model is forcing companies to shift their employment strategy based on talent trends and distributed labor, compounding rising carrier premiums. However, by allowing employees to build benefit plans personalized to their requirements, organizations can focus more energy on recruiting and fostering the best team for success. Plus, the larger availability of healthcare plans will help businesses differentiate themselves and attract top talent. Drawing in the best people is paramount today as brands struggle amidst the great resignation and other challenging trends like distributed teams and remote work.

Moreover, allowing employees to choose the plan that fits their needs to drive contributions will ultimately save money for employers. These health plan platforms will bring considerable cost savings as carrier premiums don’t connect to other employees. In just the past twenty years, the average cost of health insurance rose 600%. To stay competitive in the post-pandemic talent market, CEOs must work to reduce rising premium costs of benefits.

Boosting Employee Happiness 

While CEOs should concern themselves with recruiting the best talent, they must also work to retain those employees. Burnout has increased considerably since the pandemic, most notably among Millennials and Gen-Z. CEOs need to rethink their benefit offerings in light of dipping employee engagement. Healthplan platforms can be a meaningful solution to counteracting burnout and turnover, enabling CEOs to promote worker happiness and engagement. By giving employees the freedom to personalize their coverage, they’ll have access to doctors and specialties that can address their care needs, strengthening trust in the organization. Likewise, the transparency and visibility of these platforms result in better coverage and care outcomes, increasing employee engagement, deepening ownership and enhancing productivity.  

Recognizing a Great Healthplan Platform 

As CEOs begin to reconsider their benefit offerings in the wake of ICHRA, they must also find a robust health plan platform. Of course, not all emerging health plan platforms are created equal. Business decision-makers should investigate the various options and look for the most comprehensive, cost-efficient and turnkey platform. Additional features include continued healthcare post-job separation; white-glove support for onboarding, integration and troubleshooting will also be a boon. Ideally, the most optimal platform will eliminate the administrative inefficiencies of conventional group health plans while enhancing recruitment efforts and boosting employee happiness.

Matthew Kim is CEO of SureCo. After helping launch SureCo as a co-founder, Matthew Kim grew into his role as Chief Executive Officer in a non-traditional way. Unlike many of his professional peers, Matthew didn’t attend college, work at an international consulting firm, or have VC funding to fuel SureCo’s growth. He did have copious amounts of determination and passion, which he shares generously with his team. Matthew began his career in insurance sales at HealthMarkets Inc, a Blackstone Group Company. He also built and led his own health care agencies prior to his current iteration of SureCo. A CEO with an open-door policy, Matthew has no qualms about rolling up his sleeves and getting in the trenches. He works closely with every department across SureCo, helping support, leverage, and advance our products and mission.

Cool Photos from Depositphotos