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The practice manager’s guide to employee benefits

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Whether you’re a Practice Manager, Practice Owner, or Human Resources Professional, there’s no escaping it: in today’s environment, your role is integral to managing healthcare costs and employee benefits for your practice and staff.

  • The most successful benefits managers are well-versed in:
  • Positioning their benefits with employees (value perception is key!)
  • Long-term strategic planning
  • Managing the renewal process
  • Benefit trends – it’s critical to stay informed on new ideas that might give you a competitive advantage
  • Non-medical benefits – often overlooked, but just as important as health insurance!
  • Employee education – you can offer the best benefits, but if employees don’t understand them, then it’s all for nothing
  • Compliance

Positioning Benefits

The way that employers communicate benefits information to employees has a tremendous impact on how well the programs are understood, utilized and perceived by employees. Providing your employees with ample informative resources will help better convey your message. The better your benefits are communicated, and the better employees understand them, the more valuable they will become!

Long-term Strategic Planning

Competitive employee benefits packages are essential for attracting and retaining quality employees, but continuing to offer them can be tough with the rising cost of health care squeezing an already tight budget. Cutting benefits may seem like a necessary reality for some practices, but could have serious long-term consequences.

Benefit Renewals

Whether you are looking for a new employee health plan or renewing your current plan, careful preparation can make your health plan renewals more effective. Being prepared means knowing your situation and what alternatives exist, to select the best plan for your practice and employees.

Benefit Trends

Most practices are looking to lower their rising health care costs and improve their employees’ overall health. When HR professionals look toward the future, they are evaluating strategies to help manage both short- and long-term costs. In order to evaluate these costs, it is important that employers understand what their employees think about their benefits.

Benefit Benchmarking

An attractive benefits program is vital for your recruiting and retention efforts, but it is also a significant expense. To ensure you are providing a package that is both competitive and economical, you need to know how your offerings compare to others in your industry. Benchmark data can provide valuable insight for evaluating your benefits package, something that is more important than ever in light of health care reform.

Employer interest in benchmark data has grown over the past decade, as the cost of providing health care benefits continues to skyrocket and practices look for new ways to manage costs. Analyzing how other veterinary hospitals are structuring their plans and the strategies they are using to cut costs may make your own benefit plan decisions a bit easier.

Non-Medical Benefits

As healthcare costs continue to rise, so has the demand for voluntary, non-medical (or ancillary) benefits. Since many employers find it increasingly difficult to provide employees with a complete benefit package, voluntary benefits have become an ideal solution. Voluntary benefits allow employers to offer benefits that are attractive to employees without added cost to your practice.

In our Practice Manager’s Guide, we share pro tips, highlight cost management strategies that work, and review other key components to successfully manage your practice’s benefit program. Request your free copy here. You aren’t going to become a benefits expert overnight, but there are steps you can take to improve your experience!

About the Author

Cory Friedman, CBM, is Vice President of Benefits Consulting at Alera Group. Alera Veterinary has been AAHA’s preferred-provider of employee benefit services since 2009, and is part of the VHMA’s Business Alliance Partnership. 

Photo credit: © iStock/bagi1998