This SPONSORED POST was written by Greg Colen of Ultimate Benefits LLC (Morganville, NJ), a full-service benefits consulting/brokerage firm, operating since 2001. The company offers a complete line of plans, including group health, dental, vision, health savings accounts, and health reimbursement arrangements aimed at startup and small businesses. Greg Colen is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any strategy for a tech startup company to recruit the best and brightest workers must include a competitive benefits package. Candidates assume a standard array of benefits, such as sick/vacation time, medical, dental, vision and retirement plan benefits. However, in an effort to control rising benefits costs, many companies are experimenting with insurance plans that make employees more cost-conscious via “consumer-oriented” health plans.
These plans involve employees in the healthcare system through the use of deductibles and employee cost-sharing. This can have the negative effect that some employees may not utilize healthcare effectively because of costs or merely confusion in dealing with healthcare system. From an employer perspective, employee frustration with the benefits plan reduces the value of the investment and can lead to lower employee productivity and retention.
There are several ways an employer can avoid this problem, such as creating better employee awareness of the benefits, providing more employee training and support. One of the more innovative ways an employer can promote a benefits plan is through the services of a personal health advocate.
Health advocacy companies do not provide health insurance or medical care, but rather they complement employer benefit plans by facilitating employee interactions with health care providers and health insurance companies. An advocate is a trained professional, typically a registered nurse, who understands the intricacies of the healthcare system and how to navigate through it. An advocate carefully explains the details of coverage, including employee cost-sharing, while answering other claim-oriented questions to help get the most out of the health benefits. Most employers don’t have this expertise in-house and would prefer to maintain the privacy of their employees through a professional outside service.
The mission of an advocate is to help employees with whatever problems they are dealing with in health care: clinical, administrative, covered under insurance policies or not covered under insurance policies. A major health situation by a family member can eventually touch many parts of the health care system and an advocate needs to help work through them. An advocate will interface with all vendors and services, competently assisting employees with various roles (coordinator, negotiator, facilitator, researcher, concierge), depending upon the needs of the specific situation. This is more than most employers can do by themselves, is a very innovative benefit and is a great employee satisfier.
The benefits to the employer of providing an employee health advocacy service include:
· Employer Productivity: Time saved promoting the benefits plans and helping the employees to understand and use them.
· Employee Productivity: Better health outcomes and appreciation of the company benefits.
· Employee Recruitment/Retention: Many advocacy services are extended beyond the employee, to family members and even parents.
More information about health advocacy services available to NJ small business can be found at this link.