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week ending November 8th, 2019
Employers are not only focusing on reducing their own health benefits spend, they know they need to reduce costs for employees. A Mercer survey identified ways midsize and large employers are doing so, but pointed out smaller employers may not have the same resources. A separate survey found 92% of small businesses are willing to work together to push for changes to make health care more affordable. Mercer found that to improve utilization of health benefit offerings, 41% of large and midsize employers say all or most of their benefit offerings are accessible to employees on a single, fully integrated digital platform (most often through a smartphone app), up from 34% in 2018. Doing so is one factor that can improve employers return on their health benefit investment. Enjoy this edition of PLANSPONSOR Weekend!
Editor's Choice
Benefits
Employer Health Benefit Costs to Rise 6.5% in 2020
A focus on managing chronic conditions, and education to improve health care utilization can help employers manage cost increases.
Benefits
Survey Reveals Emerging Health Benefit Cost-Saving Measures
Employers are encouraging the use of biosimilars instead of specialty pharmacy products, creating an environment that makes it clear and easy for employees to opt for high-value services, and engaging effective programs to help manage anxiety and stress.
Benefits
Employers Recognize Need to Reduce Health Benefit Costs for Employees
Many are turning to innovative tech-enabled programs that cut costs for them while not shifting costs to employees, Mercer found.
Benefits
Small Businesses Willing to Band Together to Reduce Health Benefit Costs
A survey found 92% of small businesses are willing to work together to push for changes to make health care more affordable, but there are options created by regulators that could help some of them now.
Benefits
Return on Health Benefits Investment Can Be Improved With Single Access
Research found low engagement levels with health benefit programs, and one problem it identifies is employees are often required to access multiple disparate systems to learn about and access their full range of health benefits.
Popular Reads
Deals and People
Vanguard Transfers Recordkeeping Operations to Infosys
Through a strategic partnership, Infosys and Vanguard will provide a cloud-based recordkeeping platform, with planned enhancements for plan sponsors and participants.
Administration
Get Beneficiary Designation and Missing Participant Practices in Order
The pandemic has highlighted the need for plan sponsors to actively encourage revised beneficiary designations and have missing participant procedures in place.
Administration
Risk for Cyberattacks Heightened as Remote Work Continues
Remote work is expected to lead to more attacks on retirement plan accounts, but there are an increasing number of measures to handle the threat.
Products
Alight to Offer Auto-Portability Solution to DC Plan Clients
Retirement Clearinghouse says it hopes other recordkeepers will adopt its product to help reduce the depletion of retirement savings from premature cash-outs.
Opinions
COVID-19 Compliance Corner: IRS Eases 401(k) Safe Harbor Suspension Rules
Each week, Carol Buckmann, with Cohen & Buckmann P.C., will explain legislative provisions or official guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic that affect retirement and health plan sponsors.
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