Mercer Identifies Health Plan Priorities

December 17, 2012 ( Health benefit consultants from Mercer compiled a list of the top five concerns for employer health plan sponsors going into the new year.

Prepare for the health reform law’s 2014 requirements. In 2014, employers will be required to offer qualified health coverage to all employees working 30 or more hours per week. In 2013, they need to determine who those employees are, confirm that their health plan qualifies and inform employees about the new state exchanges.

Evaluate the level of benefits provided. As employers are asked to cover more individuals, they will need to rethink the level of benefits they provide and how much they contribute to the cost. Offering a low-cost plan—such as a consumer-directed health plan—as the core benefit with another buy-in option that provides greater coverage is one possible solution.

Review private health exchanges. Employers should examine private exchanges for retirees, active employees or both, to determine if they have a place in their health benefits strategy. Exchanges reduce the administrative burden for employers and can give members more flexibility in selecting insurance products to meet their needs.

Improve health management programs. For a healthier, higher-performing work force and long-term savings, employers that have some type of wellness or health management program should consider offering incentives for participation. Social media’s networking capabilities offer new ways to build engagement.

Rethink where and how care is delivered. Market innovations like telemedicine, surgical centers of excellence and medical homes are starting to transform the health care delivery system.