While employees focus on the amount in their paycheck after deductions, they fail to recognize some of the employee benefits that they are entitled to. As an employee, it is important to know what your employee benefits choices are, to help you plan for your future and emergencies. An example of such a benefit is a health care plan which aids in adding money to your health savings account and acts as insurance for old age and medical coverage.
With broad experience in the industry, Filice Insurance Services built its business by taking a holistic approach to benefits consulting helping employers and employees maximize their investment. Today we speak with Steve Arreola, Chief Product Officer, at Filice Insurance Services. Being an expert in employee benefits, the health savings account field, and financial awareness related to employee benefits choices, he is the right pick for this discussion. Here’s an article we derived from our conversation with him.
A significant change in the Benefits Consulting Industry
According to Steve, one major change in the industry is the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. Employers are expected to offer a health care plan to each of their employees or face a penalty for not offering the financial program. They should also ensure that the amount paid for the health plan should be enough to satisfy any requirements.
Another significant change is the push toward automation of benefits. Now the rates are more balanced between the highest deductible plans and there’s not that huge spread there was over a decade ago; it’s not always about finding a cheaper plan, instead, the priority is how can we provide more value to the client. In turn, money spent on health care is redirected to employee’s benefits hence adding health savings account and health reimbursement arrangement, supplemental accident plan, and supplemental cancer plans.
“..The biggest thing is making sure that the employee can customize their benefits package. By leveraging technology platforms, it doesn’t overburden the Human Resource Department to offer different programs. We can bundle it all into a simple employee interface, plug in all the information online and have the employees enroll. The virtual no paper experience is kind of what has taken over.” Said Steve.
The most misunderstood aspect of the Industry
Steve claims that the most misunderstood aspect is understanding the program, primarily the health plan.” Most people worry about their deductible while ignoring the maximum annual co-payments that they could have to make. Which includes the deductible but often that maximum liability on a higher deductible is right about the same amount as the low deductible plan…” he added.
An employee is more likely to benefit from a higher deductible plan especially with lower premiums, which they have to pay out of their paycheck. They can also be funded by their employer through depositing dollars, for instance, into their health savings account. When the employee adds everything into the equation, including lower premiums, savings from their paycheck, and funding from the employer, the higher deductible plan will turn out to be a better option for them.
Even with large claims, an employee is better off with a high deductible health plan.
How Covid-19 has changed the Benefits Consulting Industry
Covid-19 has brought about changes in the way businesses operate. With the new day and age of communication, businesses have to build a product, package it and educate the customers. Most of the employees are working remotely and meetings are held virtually. Gathering employees for an employee benefits meeting in person is now much less common, with these meetings now being held over Zoom or other meeting platforms. “We were already starting to do virtual employee benefit meetings before Covid because of how effective it is to reach the entire staff, and Covid probably just sped up the transition to virtual meetings.”
Steve says that the good thing about working online is that people will no longer lose their paperwork. He believes it’s even more convenient to reach more staff through online working. Businesses are incorporating work with technology and online platforms while adapting to the new working environment.
Life-changing events and the use of Employee Benefits
Old age, sickness, and death are life-changing events that are inevitable. For example, we’re often not saving properly for long-term care. ”People should save their money in health savings accounts for future use and for long-term care…” Steve commented. Due to the pandemic, more mental health issues have been reported. More employers are looking to provide mental health support programs for their employees to give them counseling. Most employee assistance programs are affordable, requiring few dollars every month for each of your employees. As an employer, it is important to look out for the employee and make them feel good about where they work.
”..We are doing more than just employment benefits,… and keep them satisfied with what their job offers and we help the Human Resource Departments of each of those employers to build their package in support of the employee making them feel better about where they work….” he added.
Through Filice Insurance Services, Steve Arreola has been able to educate people about why a higher deductible plan may make more sense, when combined with programs such as health savings accounts. Steve takes a holistic approach to packaging benefits to ensure all of the individual needs of the insured are taken into consideration.