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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
Administration
Furloughs Vs. Layoffs: Which May Trigger a Partial Plan Termination?
‘Companies tend to use the terms interchangeably, which is why it can be confusing,’ says Lorie Maring, a partner at Fisher Phillips.
Ask the Experts
Coronavirus-Related Distributions From 403(b) and Governmental 457(b) Plans
Experts from Groom Law Group and Cammack Retirement Group answer questions concerning retirement plan administration and regulations.
Benefits
Employers Can Offer More Student Loan Repayment Help to Employees
The CARES Act allows employers to contribute toward employees’ student loan debt tax-free to employees, and employees need guidance on what they can and should do about deferring payments.
Administration
Administrative Considerations for CARES Act Transactions
Plan sponsors need to understand the details and ask themselves certain questions to make sure they are complying with the new law.
Compliance
DB Plan Relief Included in the CARES Act
The bill provides a delay for minimum annual required contributions and relief for plans that may have benefit restrictions triggered due to a drop in funding levels.
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