Too Small To Innovate?

Small and even mid-sized employers can sometimes pass up opportunities to bring innovative programs/solutions into their benefit program simply because they are caught in what I call the “too trap:” We are TOO small, the budget needed is TOO big, and our HR/Benefit teams are TOO busy to vet all of the options. It’s just TOO much!

And, in fact, until recently, I would have agreed. But times have changed. Today, new vendors offer both high-tech and high-touch solutions that can be scaled for any employer size or HR budget. And the great thing is that these solutions are highly targeted—spanning mental, emotional, behavioral, financial, and physical well-being—so you can find the right match for workforce – solutions that address your employees’ most pressing needs. In addition, most major carriers offer programs targeted to specific populations, often at no additional cost to the employer or employee. However, these programs often go under-utilized due to lack of communication. Employees need to know what programs are available and be educated in how, when and why to use them.

Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans consistently finds that employers that have implemented more “best practice” programs and strategies for controlling healthcare cost and promoting employee well-being have lower cost trends and even lower turnover. And while the largest employers are typically the first to adopt a new solution or approach, plenty of small and mid-sized employers are getting in the game as well. For example, just over two-thirds of employers with 5,000 or more employees offer one or more “point solutions” to assist employees with specific chronic conditions (such as diabetes or asthma) or other health issues (such as infertility) – but so do 39% of employers with 50-499 employees and 53% of those with 500-4,999 employees.

Vetting the vast number of vendors in the health and wellness space may seem like a daunting task. But you can start by finding out what solutions are available in your current carrier mix and how to make better use of them. From there you can map out a strategy to bring in other solutions to address the most prevalent (and costly) conditions within your population.

Time to leave the “too trap” behind. Given that opportunities exist to help you drive down healthcare costs, increase employee engagement, and improve population health, you’re too small NOT to innovate!

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