In boardrooms and Human Resources offices across the country, the discussion of the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) is prevalent. Today’s economy is much different from the pre-pandemic landscape. Company leaders need better solutions with flexible and affordable controls to offer employee benefits. And today’s workers have new focuses on certain priorities, with preferences and new expectations of their employers.
The ICHRA solution is providing the most ideal benefits solution model for many businesses. And it’s also garnering mass adoption and widespread enthusiasm among employees. The demand for ICHRA-based benefits only continues to rise as a result of these new employer and employee needs.
1. Employees Are Focused on Health & Wellness
Looking back before the pandemic, employees valued a variety of company-sponsored perks. From free lunches and parking spaces to vacation days and group health plans, workers would find value in a host of different employer offerings. But today’s employees have shifted needs and preferences, with a priority on health and wellness. It’s this renowned emphasis on health that is contributing to the ongoing demand for the ICHRA solution. While those former company-sponsored amenities made sense at the time, today’s workers will expect employers to offer benefits addressing a different value set.
The Pandemic Put a Spotlight on Health
Employees have always wanted and needed health insurance. But the pandemic has put a spotlight on health for many Americans. As a result, having an affordable health insurance plan is prioritized for employees who want to know they can seek out the medical attention they need and take preventive care measures to stay healthy, affordably.
The Rise in Mental Health Services
With the pandemic came another spotlight, one on mental health. The effects of the lockdown, job loss, health concerns, and socio-economical unrest urged the conversation about mental health to the forefront. As a result, there is an acute heightened awareness of potential mental health stresses and the growing need for solutions, care, and treatment. Employers are also recognizing that mental health impacts worker productivity, making it a top priority for companies to address, as well. Unfortunately, not all traditional group health plans offer provisions specifically for mental health preservation.
Tele-Health Services on the Rise
Another trend stemming from the effects of COVID-19 is the rise of the telehealth movement. People are looking for new ways to connect with their healthcare providers with reduced physical risks. And the provisions out of Washington enabled many providers to meet their patients online for approved health services. As the telehealth ecosystem enhances today, employees will be keen to find coverage with plans that include these virtual care connections.
2. Employers Are Focused on Flexible & Affordable Benefits Platforms
Companies felt the impacts of the pandemic to the bottom line. And as businesses re-emerge from shutdowns, leaders are eager to get back to profitability. Unfortunately, the traditional group health plans of yesterday aren’t providing the value and affordability they once did.
Rebounding from 2020
Even those businesses allowed to continue operations through the shutdown face change in the post-pandemic economy. A new focus on digital engagement, contactless deliveries, and socially distant customer engagements means finding new ways to drive revenue. Since businesses can’t run without employees, employers are exploring more affordable options that will allow them to offer the benefits their teams need within budgets. It’s the ICHRA model’s unique flexibility that is allowing many businesses to do just that.
A New Remote Workforce Dynamic
Companies are discovering, too, that a remote working environment can be equally productive as an in-person one. But those remote workers aren’t going to need front row parking or commuter reimbursements like they used to before the pandemic. So in reworking the benefits platform, business owners need solutions that cater to the off-premise staff model.
Shifting Away from Costly, One-Size-Fits-All Group Plans
While businesses change how they engage customers, they’re also changing how they manage, motivate, and support their employees. Part of that shift is forcing leaders to re-examine how they offer health insurance benefits. The one-size-fits-all group plans are costly to today’s tighter budgets for employers and employees alike. And companies don’t want to invest in coverage that their teams can’t afford to use any more than employees want to enroll in it.
3. ICHRA Solutions Continue to Meet the Needs of Both Businesses & Employees
The HRA model was good, but the ICHRA model is proving to be even better. Companies can find the flexibility and control they need to offer benefits their employees can individually select and afford with an ICHRA. And the added benefits of such a platform are actually improving how workers and their employers both meet their needs.
Flexible Budget Options
Companies can determine their contributions to an ICHRA based on existing budgets. Since the sponsoring business controls the ICHRA platform, company leaders can manage reimbursement amounts, guidelines for submissions, and approvals. And leveraging the ICHRA solution allows employers also to remain compliant.
Ability to Provide for Several Employee Types
Today’s workforce is increasingly diverse by employee type. For example, companies are exploring remote working environments, along with seasonal hires, part-time workforces, and temporary contractors. The ICHRA reimbursement offering means each of these employee types can also benefit from the offering, a stark contrast to the employee type regulations of the traditional group plans.
The ACA Marketplace Improvements Help Everyone
With increased support and funding from Washington, the ACA Marketplace continues to grow and become an affordable platform for individuals and families to find health insurance coverage. Companies offering an ICHRA solution can direct employees to take advantage of the more robust ACA Marketplace. And those reimbursements become more affordable for companies since additional relief and funding drive down the costs of monthly premiums and enforce essential health benefits for all participating plan providers.
The demand for ICHRA solutions continues to grow, and W3LL is here to help companies with ICHRA setup and management. Connect with us to discuss how our third-party administrative solution can be just the guidance you need to start reaping the ICHRA benefits. And W3LL can also be the best resource for ACA Marketplace-browsing individuals ready to enroll this upcoming Open Enrollment period.