The data is out, and the word on the street is that benefit allowances are increasing with the widespread adoption of the Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements. Diving beyond the latest findings and reports, what most businesses and employees are concerned with is how this increase will affect them respectively. From what the data suggests, it’s exciting to see companies transition to ICHRAs as an affordable way to offer increased benefit allowances to staff. And those employees have access to more conducive coverage options and affordable care than ever before.
What Employees Can Expect with the Increase in Benefit Allowances
If you’re interested in learning what an increase in benefit allowances might affect employees, the news is good. Workers of a variety of class types can explore more options for health insurance coverage. And the benefit allowances provide more affordable choices for employees to customize and tailor their plans in line with their household budgets and healthcare needs.
How Much of an Increase Can Employees Expect?
Preliminary data already suggests that the average employee allowance for benefits is $882.51. This is a roughly five percent increase over last year’s average amount. For many employees now exploring their options exchange options via the employer-sponsored ICHRA, finding better health plans is feasible and managing those out-of-pocket healthcare expenses is easier.
Remote Workers Find Benefits with ICHRAs
For any employees who maybe weren’t qualified to take advantage of an employer’s traditional group health plan, the ICHRA benefit allowances increase is a huge win. Remote workers, for example, are able to leverage these benefit allowances from wherever they work. And because the ICHRA model allows companies to extend reimbursements to other employee classes, including part-time workers, seasonal staff, and even temporary hires, nearly every type of employee can be eligible to use these increased benefit allowances.
Customization of Benefits
Employees used to be confined to the terms, in-network, and rising cost environment of a traditional group health plan benefit. With ICHRAs and the increased benefit allowances, team members can now have a more comprehensive selection of health insurance options at their fingertips. And it’s more affordable now, too, including those formerly unsavory and exorbitant out-of-pocket costs, co-pays, and deductibles. Many employees are submitting reimbursement requests for the costs of ACA premiums. Others are choosing to enroll in plans with better coverage or wider provider networks. This customization is a game-changer for employees all around.
What Employers Can Expect with the Increase in Benefit Allowances
When the employees are happy, the employers are happy. And the same is true for the increase in benefit allowances, as companies realize how affordable, manageable, and controllable the ICHRA model really is. Employers can also expect these increased allowances to drive even better productivity and performance since team members are more empowered to take charge of their health, working for an organization that provides the most ideal solutions.
The ICHRA Continues to Grow in Popularity
The former HRA and QSEHRA models were ok, but the ICHRA is proving to be better. Based on the data, more companies today are offering more allowances through ICHRAs than with QSEHRAs, abandoning the QSEHRA cap on reimbursements across the board. In fact, the increase is more than 142 percent more. In addition, other recently reported stats suggest that 58 percent of participating employers are choosing to expand reimbursements to “premium-plus,” which allows employees to apply those reimbursements and benefit allowances toward monthly premiums and other medical costs.
Businesses Can Shift Benefits Priorities
The ICHRA model requires participating employees to find coverage through the ACA or state-based exchanges. Under the federal guidelines, the health plans offered in these exchanges must also cover a broad roster of essential benefits. With emergency room, prenatal, and mental health services covered, employers can revisit their traditional employee benefits roster and reprioritize. The Harvard Business Review reported that 89 percent of surveyed business owners planned to shift and expand benefits due to the pandemic and economic changes. Many companies are revisiting how they handle child care, commuter, tuition reimbursement, and paid vacation day benefits since many no longer have the value they once did.
Employers Are Finding Better Affordability & Flexibility
On the surface, an increase of benefit allowances might sound like it may be more costly to the bottom line. However, employers leveraging the ICHRA model are experiencing quite the opposite. With customized control over the reimbursements, companies can format the ICHRA however the benefits budget allows. And when the lowest cost, self-only Silver Plan on the marketplace roughly costs $436, many employers are realizing there will be plenty of funds left over to shift toward covering employee family policies and additional out-of-pocket expenses.
How W3LL Can Help Employers & Employees
As the benefits allowances increase, more employers are considering the transition to an ICHRA. And to help at both the company level as well as the employee level, W3LL is positioned to be the ideal partner. With a wide range of user-friendly services, from ICHRA setup to individual employee plan enrollment, W3LL can shepherd the shift in company benefits.
W3LL Works with ICHRA Adopting Businesses
Employers are looking for ICHRA benefits guidance. W3LL provides all of the tools businesses need to take advantage of the increased benefit allowances, from inception to implementation.
- Decision tool: W3LL provides the analytics companies need to understand the benefit costs ongoing to ensure continued affordability and oversight.
- Compliance: W3LL can manage the burdens of employee notification and communication to ensure that each participating staff member continues to remain compliant with ICHRA and CMS guidelines.
- Enrollment tracking: W3LL can ensure employers keep a finger on the pulse of opt-in enrollment trends, allowing for better individual engagement and plan review.
W3LL Provides the Platform for Employees to Enroll
W3LL offers an ACA integrated platform that allows individuals to browse, compare, and enroll in marketplace health plans without the jargon or complicated steps. Employees who need to explore their options can look into applying for premium tax credits can do so easily with the W3LL dashboard. And it’s free to individuals, meaning anyone gearing up for Open Enrollment 2022 can take advantage of this easier way to enroll.
A True ICHRA Partner
The increased benefit allowances appear to be a win-win for employers and employees alike. And in today’s pandemic-affected environment, nothing is more important than affordable health coverage. W3LL is the ideal ICHRA partner for both companies and workers, taking the guesswork out of shifting benefits models all around.
To learn more about the latest increase in benefits allowances, need help transitioning your business to an ICHRA model, or assistance in browsing at the individual level for a qualified health plan, contact W3LL!