For many Americans, meaningful access to basic healthcare is out of reach. That number is growing as more and more employees are hit with significant increases to their employer sponsored plans and opt to go without healthcare benefits due to costs. As more and more employees decline coverage, employers are seeing increased utilization of their workers’ compensation plans as these plans often become the de-facto route for employees who don’t have access to healthcare.
The construction industry continues to struggle with delivering affordable healthcare and has unique exposure to work related injuries—that drives increased eMod scores which dictates workers compensation premiums.
In the absence of an affordable healthcare plan offered to employees, too often we see the following situation play out.
Employee is hanging Christmas lights on Saturday afternoon and hurts their back, no affordable access to care, Monday morning while stacking 2x4s on the job site when suddenly, the employee hurts their back. Coincidence? Maybe, but these types of situations could potentially be avoided by delivering access to high-quality, low-cost health that can allow an employee to get the care they need without the need to potentially abuse the workers comp plan for off-job injuries.
So how can construction firms balance the increasing cost of healthcare for employees and maintain control over their workers comp premiums?
1. Start with a foundational plan that delivers meaningful access to healthcare for your employees. At Redirect Health we’ve built a plan specifically designed for low-wage earners that removes the biggest barriers to accessing healthcare that starts at $105/mo or about .61 cents an hour for a full-time employee. EverydayCARE, as it’s known, removes barriers by initially delivering care via our TelePCP services 24/7 in English and Spanish. This new-found access is critical for most food service employees who work long hours and often can’t find off-hours to visit a doctor.
When your employee does need in-office care, cost can be a challenge especially when there is a copay. In fact, in a national survey, 40 percent of Americans say they didn’t go to a doctor in the last 12 months due to costs, and another 32 percent said they didn’t fill a needed prescription due to cost. Make sure that your foundational healthcare plan delivers primary care office visits with no-additional out of pocket for your employees. As you might have expected, EverydayCARE delivers in-office primary care, labs and even chiropractic care for $0 copay and no-deductible.
2. Identify your budget and forecast an ROI. Most industry experts agree that the cost of turnover for a $10-12 hourly employee is between $3000-$4000. For many positions that require specialized training, this cost could be much higher.
The businesses working with Redirect Health usually want to compete in this highly competitive labor market, so they are leveraging affordable core healthcare plans and offering them for free to their employees. The result is significantly reduced turn-over.
3. Offer additional insurance options as a “buy-up” for catastrophic or high-dollar needs. Everyone has a different definition of catastrophic, to a $10-12 hourly employee that might be $200. To a manager or supervisor that number might be higher. Each will likely have different financial protection requirements.
There are a lot of affordable solutions that can help protect against the unexpected.
- Fixed Indemnity Plans: We have found that fixed indemnity solutions are a great option for lower-wage earners, not only are they affordable, but they typically don’t have a deductible associated with using the coverage.
- Medical Cost Sharing: A rapidly emerging solution for businesses we serve is medical cost sharing. The concept started back in the early 80s, with predominately ministries, and today over a million people are participating in the sharing of medical expenses with a number of different communities. Redirect Health partners with Sedera, a business based (non-ministry) medical cost sharing community and delivers a comprehensive healthcare care solution that’s typically half the cost of traditional major medical.
- Self-funded/level funded major medical: For employers looking to offer a traditional major medical to employees, a new breed of high-performance affordable plans gives them transparency into the real cost of their healthcare spend. With this comes predictability of cost over multiple years and the opportunity to receive funds back at the end of year. While these types of solutions have typically been available to only large employers, new level funded solutions are more popular than ever with small and medium-size employers looking to gain control over their healthcare costs.
Construction companies can deliver healthcare benefits to all employees without breaking the bank. The costs to provide benefits is a fraction of the costs associated with increases in workers comp premiums—not to mention the opportunity costs of not having the right employees (and enough employees) on the team.
As director of business development, David Slepak oversees Redirect Health’s distribution strategy and execution among brokers, advisors and direct members. He also manages innovation, including new product strategy and development.