Mount Laurel, NJ, October 17, 2013 – According to a new Corporate Synergies Quick Poll, human resources (HR) professionals say cost containment and employee education and communications are their two biggest concerns. However, they remain uncertain over an emerging solution designed to address both needs—private exchanges (or “marketplaces”), an alternative to controlling costs for employers while providing guidance and decision support for employees choosing benefits.
According to the Quick Poll*, 58% of respondents consider cost containment to be their biggest health benefits concern. Educating employees about available benefits came in second at 28%. While HR professionals recognize cost containment and employee education and communications as critical issues,40% said their organization would not consider implementing a healthcare marketplace.
“The poll results demonstrate that we still have work to do when it comes to educating HR professionals about the potential benefits of private exchanges for both employers and their employees,” said John Turner, CEO and President of Corporate Synergies, a national group employee benefits and business insurance brokerage and consulting firm. “History shows us that adoption of new ideas in employee benefits takes time: even when something isn’t delivering what you need, it’s hard to break old habits. We’re convinced that, over time, private exchanges will become an obvious solution for employers with the twin goals of controlling costs and helping their employees become smarter healthcare consumers.”
There has been increasing media coverage and industry talk about private exchanges/marketplaces, over the last several months. In such a model, the employer pays a fixed amount and the employees use the money to purchase health and welfare benefits that best fit that employee’s needs. However, making the right choices is difficult for most employees—health insurance is complex and difficult to understand.
To combat that, Corporate Synergies’ private exchange/marketplace, SynergiesSELECTSM, uses technology to provide decision support for employees as they choose their insurance. The technology behind SynergiesSELECT is built to be very intuitive. It features an avatar named CHRIS, an acronym that stands for Communicating Human Resources Information Simply. CHRIS helps the employee determine his or her risk tolerance and specific circumstances, and recommends the most appropriate health insurance plan for that person.
With open enrollment beginning and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) becoming a reality, nearly half of the respondents, 49%, said they are ready and planning to be fully ACA-compliant in 2014. On the other hand,46% indicated that they slowed down when the “play or pay” mandate was pushed to 2015, but are still in good shape.
The Quick Poll surveyed 40 HR professionals and benefits managers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia companies with up to 10,000+ employees.
*The Quick Poll surveyed 40 HR professionals and benefits managers from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia companies with up to 10,000+ employees.