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We often share the most important benefits of adopting an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) platform for company benefits. And those reasons may be enough to finalize your decision to do the same. However, if you’re still weighing your options, you may benefit from an ICHRA discussion about why this model makes the most sense now in a post-pandemic workplace environment.

1. A Keen Focus on Health

The pandemic taught us all about the importance of health. And forced lockdowns and remote-working environments proved to many employees, there is a healthier way to work. So now, with a keen eye on wellness, workers venture back to the office, production lines, and stores, knowing there is a better way to work and stay well. Fortunately for businesses, the ICHRA is an ideal solution to prioritize health and deliver the wellness-conscious workplace employees want right now, post-pandemic.

Mental Health & Emotional Well-Being Matters

There has been an explosion of app-based and digital therapy options since the early months of the pandemic lockdowns. People spent months cooped up in their homes and apartments, with increased anxiety and worry about loved ones and the circulating virus. Add to those stresses the financial strains of furloughs and layoffs, and mental health concerns skyrocketed. The ICHRA makes perfect sense post-pandemic because it allows employees to choose their own plans based on their own health needs. And the ACA options have provisions that include telehealth and mental health services.

One-Size Fits-All No Longer Works

Now that we’re somewhat post-pandemic (despite continued exposure risks and emerging new variants to contend with,) people know more about co-morbidities, health conditions, and underlying symptoms. As an employer, you recognize, too, that each employee has unique health and wellness needs. The traditional group health plans, based on a one-size-fits-all coverage, aren’t going to fly nowadays. Employees might be keener to address underlying health conditions. Maybe some of your team members contracted COVID-19 and continue to require ongoing care. You can’t predict what they’ll need or want, which is why the ICHRA makes so much sense now. With an ICHRA, the employees can make those critical decisions regarding coverage based on their unique needs.

A Rise in Telemedicine Options

Along with the growing number of mental health apps, telemedicine, in general, has also surged. What began as the only way for patients to connect with their doctors has now transitioned into the new way to connect with them. But not all group health plans cover those remote care methods of engagement. If your business model has transitioned to a remote working environment or at least a hybrid one, you recognize how well this new system works. Healthcare can be more accessible to employees if they have coverage options that allow for those engagements. An ICHRA, again that allows individuals to make their own selections, can provide the flexibility employees need to find those plans that cover the telemedicine they need.

2. A Stronger Need for Affordability

One of the most significant ICHRA benefits is affordability. And post-pandemic, more companies, and individuals are aware of their financial health than ever before. Shutdowns, economic fluctuations, supply chain concerns, and politics are playing a role in how companies and people assess their budgets and finances. When so many are focused on affordability, it only makes sense to adopt an ICHRA.

Health Insurance Costs Are Rising

In the post-pandemic environment, healthcare costs are on the rise. This is driving health insurance costs upward, as well. The traditional group health plans weren’t typically on the “cheap” side to begin with and are now surging in price. The ICHRA offers a more affordable approach to health insurance since employees can take advantage of the premium tax credits available with the Marketplace. And employers can set and predict budgets for reimbursements, too.

Business Budgets Are Tighter

Businesses across a variety of industry segments felt the strains of the pandemic. Even those companies providing “essential” services and products were pinched. And now, business owners are looking to find the best ways to stretch their budgets. Health insurance benefits with the most value, like the ICHRA, perfectly complement those narrowed spending margins right now.

Household Budgets Are Tighter

No one has to tell you that families and individuals across the country struggled financially during the pandemic. And yes, there were stimulus payments and supplemental unemployment benefits. But those only bridged the gaps so far, with many people. And even for those who aren’t necessarily challenged financially are hyper-sensitive to the fluctuation of the dollar these days. Just like the business owners, individuals and families NEED to prioritize health and budget. And since affordability varies between employees, the ICHRA is the best way to allow each worker to choose an affordable plan that fits their needs.

3. A Priority on Control & Flexibility

ICHRA benefits include increased control and flexibility at both the employer and employee levels. When so much remains out of our control these days, having the ability to control healthcare and health insurance-related decisions is mission-critical.

People Need to Choose Their Own Providers

There’s no question that employees likely preferred having the option to choose their own doctors. But now, post-pandemic, it’s even more of a priority. The traditional group plans would dictate which providers were in and out-of-network. Alternatively, the ICHRA allows employees to choose the plans that specifically allow their choice in provider as in-network. That level of control isn’t available in a group plan.

Companies Need to Control Their Benefits Offerings

With the group health insurance model, companies would be responsible for premiums determined by the carrier. And those costs could fluctuate over time, based on the rising costs of healthcare and employee claims. In the ICHRA platform, companies aren’t bound to premiums set by carriers or affected by surprise claims. Instead, reimbursement budgets can be predetermined for the year, allowing for a better predictability of health coverage costs.

ICHRAs Check All the Boxes

Your business, much like the employees who work there, is unique. ICHRAs offer the mold-breaking solution to health insurance benefits. And the ICHRA benefits everyone involved with the criteria that matter most right now, post-pandemic. Affordability, flexibility, control, and health-focused decisions are easier for employers and employees alike.

If the ICHRA sounds like the best-fit health coverage solution for your company, contact us to learn more about adopting and implementing the ICHRA model. We can help you realize the many ICHRA benefits, especially now in uncertain, post-pandemic times.

Pete English With nearly two decades in health insurance, Pete English’s diverse experience makes him uniquely qualified to help health plans and brokers leverage innovative technology in partnership with W3LL. From growing sales staff by 126% over 4 years at a large health plan, to building his own health insurance brokerage firm from scratch with over $7.2MM in annualized premium, Pete has done it all.

Pete English
(631) 681-4898
PEnglish@w3ll.com