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With benefit offerings growing more competitive, employers need to respond to the needs of their employees and constantly improve the health insurance experience. The Employee Benefits Survey, administered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), consistently ranked health benefits as the most important benefit category. Employers must explore innovative ways to enhance the benefits experience to increase overall employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity.

Offer Integrated Wellness Programs

Investing in your employees’ well-being boasts a wide range of benefits, including an increase in retention and satisfaction rates. Programs allow employees to capitalize on premium discounts, cash rewards, gym memberships, and other incentives that increase overall well-being. Offering wellness programs is commonplace in today’s competitive benefits packages.

In 2019, 84% of employers with 200 or more workers offered a workplace wellness program designed to provide a positive lifestyle change. Focus on mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness results in employees who are rested and more productive at work. This boost in both personal and company morale leads to an overall greater employment experience that resonates throughout the company.

Wellness programs are typically provided by the employer, but insurance plans are increasingly offering them directly to enrollees. Capitalizing on either of these routes to secure a comprehensive wellness program will increase overall employee health and their experience with health insurance.

Offer Personalized Options and the Tools Needed to make Informed Benefits Decisions

Companies need to understand that everyone has a unique healthcare journey, and limited plan options will not fit the needs of all employees.

Additional company insurance options designed to match employee and employer needs include:

  1. Small business health options program
  2. Self-funded plans
  3. Individual coverage HRA

Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
SHOP provides an option for small businesses or nonprofits by offering insurance at a lower cost as a group compared to the individual. Businesses can choose health and dental insurance plans to best fit the needs of their employees.

Self-Funded Plans
With self-funded health insurance, claims are paid out of pocket by the employer. Self-funded plans tend to be more flexible than traditional options as they offer opportunities to customize plans to meet unique business needs.

Individual Coverage HRA (ICHRA) 
ICHRA allows employees to select and pay for their own healthcare, and then the employer reimburses them.

This allows for employees to choose their own plans instead of being limited to only a few plans to choose from. ICHRA can be coupled with another group health insurance plan as each option can be offered to different classes of employees in the same company.

Additionally, the benefits enrollment experience can be improved by offering tools that support personalized enrollment decisions. Examples of these tools include offering benefit consultation to offering a user-friendly shopping and enrollment platform.

Implement Employee Feedback

Understanding what employees are looking for in their health insurance experience is the first step in improving it. Employee benefits surveys should be utilized on an annual basis to further understand employees’ preferences and pain points regarding benefits. Constant feedback allows the company to know if they are heading in the right direction for their efforts to improve employee health insurance options.

While employee benefits surveys are useful tools, employers need to act on the feedback received. According to a 2020 employee experience report, companies that proactively respond to employee feedback have twice the engagement score than those that do not — 80% and 40% respectively.

Since health benefits are ever-changing in the workplace, analyzing the results of consecutive employee experience surveys helps craft an evolving healthcare and benefits strategy. Metrics reveal information about the past and future successes of initiatives. Companies do not want to fall into the trap of providing expensive health benefits changes to the company that fails to improve the experience for employees.


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