While many businesses are flocking to ICHRA solutions for the first time, there are thousands of companies that already leverage the increased flexibility of an ICHRA for employees. If you’re in this camp, you may be looking for new ways to improve your ICHRA platform this year and in the future. Today, we’ll highlight three ways to enhance your reimbursement setup and systems to make significant ICHRA improvements. These improvements can be across a variety of ICHRA engagement points and will result in better adoption, more participation, and streamlined investment at the company level.
1. Improvements to Affordability
When you consider ways to enhance your company’s ICHRA ecosystem, it’s often best to start with affordability. Look at the budgets and spending over the last year. You can develop new strategies moving forward that ensure the ICHRA is beneficial to your staff and still conducive to your business’s bottom-line affordability, as well.
Adjusting the Reimbursement Budget
When you first started your ICHRA plan, you may have had a company reimbursement budget already laid out for the year. When searching for new methods of ICHRA improvement, check your budgets again. You’ll want to make adjustments in either direction, based on your company profitability and what’s affordable as an offering. If you over-allocated last year, you might consider trimming back the reimbursement budget. If your company grew and added more employees, you might need to reconfigure your employee classes for benefits and grow your budgets accordingly.
The rules always seem to be changing these days, and healthcare is no different. When looking at your company investment and expenses, be mindful of new compliance and regulations. Not adhering to the IRS affordability standards can leave you facing penalties and fees. Before rolling out an ICHRA plan, you’ll want to ensure your offering is in line with current benchmarks. And ongoing, you’ll need to keep your finger on the pulse of new regulatory shifts throughout the year.
Group Plan Customizations
You may consider leveraging the ICHRA flexibility this year to customize a blended offering. Many companies explore offering traditional group health plans to full-time staff and reserve the ICHRA offerings to part-time, seasonal, temporary, and other staff. Crunching your numbers, you might find a blended solution to be most affordable for your company, as well.
2. Improvements in Participation
Because an ICHRA plan is not the same as a group health insurance plan, you likely had to introduce the concept to your employees and answer a host of questions. ICHRA improvements to your participation rates and employee adoption can always be a significant step forward. Consider reworking to enhance how you roll out your ICHRA and follow up with team members throughout the year.
Getting Employees On-Board
Be sure you have a robust employee-facing platform for rolling out an ICHRA. Because there will likely be questions, you’ll want to have proper channels established to help provide answers. Employees who don’t understand the nature of the ICHRA may not readily see its benefits. Ensuring they understand just how great of a reimbursement offering it is and how simple the process for reimbursements flows, you’ll likely have more people willing to participate.
Offering Assistance with Marketplace Enrollment Questions
Because the ICHRA isn’t a health insurance product, your employees may be venturing out into the marketplace for the first time to buy on their own. Consider offering general guidance or assistance by putting tools in the employees’ hands to help them navigate and select their own plans. Not every team member will need help or have questions. However, you can improve upon those who did not secure insurance properly, thus making them ineligible for your ICHRA by providing resources like Healthcare.gov and W3LL to help.
Keep your employees on board with retention strategies. Consider offering a digital dashboard that efficiently allows participating staff to use and upload receipts for expenses. Send reminders to employees about remembering to submit for your specified costs, like pharmaceuticals or routine doctor visits. Follow up with participants with surveys, asking for ideas and areas of improvement, as well, to help you gauge where you might be able to encourage retention.
3. ICHRA Improvement in Operations
ICHRA improvements can often be made at the operational and maintenance level. As you reflect on your past methods, look for areas that might be better served with efficiencies. Here are a few areas that might be enhanced to save time and money.
Tracking Opt-In Data
How much data do you have about employee participation and reimbursements? If you don’t have a lot or enough, you might want to explore digital dashboard options that offer analytics. The best way to stay ahead and on top of your reimbursements for the year and employee opt-in rates is with accurate data. Having accurate snapshots about what expenses employees seek reimbursement for the most can be helpful. It can be cost-saving as you plan year-over budgets and look for ways to improve participation.
If the thought of maintaining thousands of paper receipts and doctor invoices is giving you a headache, it’s time to think digital. As a small business, you’ll need to hang on to your records for seven years. And thousands of receipts are stored much easier on a hard drive or in the cloud, rather than document boxes under the HR desk.
Partnering with a TPA
If you’re looking to make serious ICHRA improvements this year, you can do so by partnering with a third-party administrator to help. Working with a company like W3LL means having a professional partner to help set up, rollout, and ongoing management of your ICHRA. You’ll be able to delegate any compliance concerns, develop that digital platform for implementation, and have all the analytics you need to make educated enhancements.
Making a few of these enhancements can translate to significant ICHRA improvement overall. And if you need help analyzing your implementing these changes and strategies, contact W3LL! We can help at every level, including in a more robust third-party administrative partnership. Take advantage of all the flexibilities the ICHRA ecosystem has to offer and ensure you’re making improvements that benefit both your employees and your company bottom line.
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