Businessolver Blog

Unpacking Industry Benefits Insights with Three HR Pros 

Unpacking Industry Benefits Insights with Three HR Pros 
Posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 by Sara Vidoni

Each industry is made up of unique employees, deserving of a unique approach to benefits engagement, decision support, and more. 

Last month, we invited three HR and benefits pros to discuss their people and their benefits. And it was an absolute delight to hear what these experts, with several decades of experience between them, had to say about delivering benefits to today’s diverse workforce. 

The genesis of our discussion lies in our recent Benefits Insights Report where we were able to “look under the hood,” so to speak, of our platform Benefitsolver® and better understand how employees engage with their benefits… And what we can learn from it. 

I was joined by the following talented individuals: 

  • Ron LeBlanc, Senior Benefits Manager, Envision Healthcare 
  • René Tappata, AVP Benefits, Tokio Marine North America Services 
  • Angela Thusat, Senior Benefits Analyst, Swagelok 

How do healthcare employees make benefits decisions? 

On their feet all day, Ron’s population consists of many hospital workers. These hardworking employees may not have a work computer or even a work email. This makes them hard to contact and stay updated on benefits communications. On the other side of the spectrum, Ron takes care of non-clinical staff which are 95% remote. His benefits plan must address these two diverse employee groups. 

It may be ironic, but healthcare employees, though working in the industry every day, may not have any more understanding of their benefits than anyone else. As they look out for patients, we must look out for them. 

One way to do this is with decision-support tools. Increasing benefits engagement and self-service, decision-support tools save an astronomical amount of time. 

Ron added, “Amino [MyChoice Find a Provider] is the app that searches for in-network doctors for the lowest cost and the best quality… They’re using it to book their appointments and it saves them a lot of time. ‘Someone books my appointments for me’ and they love it.” 

For healthcare workers who may work 12 or 24-hour shifts, the confident convenience they get from digital decision tools is the difference between seeing their provider and putting off care for another year. 

When thinking about benefits plans and offerings, Ron must consider the range of salaries and the proportion of highly-comped employees. Unlike other companies which see a pyramid of wages, Ron strives to create equity in medical plans.  

While making benefits as equitable as possible, the plans can become more complex and more difficult to communicate. His medical plans with salary-based premiums include four salary bands and four tiers. Additionally, plans are weighted differently to try to encourage employees to enroll in what makes the most financial sense to them.  

That’s when technology really comes into play, not only to manage members seeing the right rate for the right plan, but also to communicate all this to employees. 

How do manufacturing employees make benefits decisions? 

Angela has been hiring like crazy in the manufacturing industry. About 75% of employees are working on the shop floor. Like healthcare workers, they probably do not have a work email address or access to a work computer. The other quarter of workers are hybrid professionals, in the office two or three days out of the week.  

Her new workforce is a much younger population. Benefits engagement is tricky with younger employees as they are often healthy (or perceive themselves to be) and yet to experience the chronic conditions that can be exacerbated by lifestyle choices.  Additionally, Angela found that cost was a big factor in enrollment. She was able to change carriers and add a zezo-cost premium plan and see an increase in overall participation numbers. Employees simply needed something affordable. 

Care coordination supplements Angela’s medical plan to help answer questions, access benefits, and manage chronic conditions. Members can make cost-effective decisions whether it is for prescriptions, an upcoming surgery, or finding a care provider.  

How do business service employees make benefits decisions? 

This industry includes all those professional desk workers, many of whom became fully remote in the last couple years. In benefits her entire career, René has a population of insurance employees which lean female. No matter their gender, these employees tend to have dependents, including their entire household in their coverage choices.  

Although business service employees tend to be more financially savvy, a holistic wellness program is key to connect financial wellness with physical wellness. With high enrollment in voluntary benefits, René’s team has expanded their offerings to include critical illness, group accident, accidental death, pet coverage, fertility care, legal services, and more. 

She emphasized, “One focus that we had very specifically in the last couple of years is really looking at our plan offerings, and the provisions within those plan offerings, through a DEI lens. What plan provisions are in place for equal and appropriate access for each of those groups?” 

Looking at benefits through a DEI lens, they decided to remove additional provisions for fertility offerings. Normally, employees would need to receive an official diagnosis of infertility in order to leverage fertility benefits. Since René’s organization is self-insured, they were able to remove this requirement for reproductive services. Future mothers and fathers alike are grateful. 

Certainly, parental needs are at the top of the list for what employees consider empathetic benefits. However, I’d like to emphasize that the technology behind-the-scenes is also empathetic, making all these resources more accessible and easier to use. 

There’s a lot to manage in 2023: Rising healthcare costs, the need for robust and equitable plans, and a focus on mental wellbeing. I’m impressed with how these benefits pros are taking care of their people.