Cost-Saving Strategies for Public Entity Benefits Plans
Director of Education & Government Practice
Under normal circumstances, public entities face budgetary restrictions. COVID-19 has required counties and municipalities to stretch their dollars even further in order to maintain a high level of service to their communities while adapting to working remotely as well as social distancing and sanitation guidance.
With budgets already in place, and unexpected expenses and reduced revenues likely have public entities looking for opportunities to cut costs in other areas of their financial plan – even employee benefits. The good news is that cost savings does not have to result in lower quality benefit packages. Our decades of experience working with public entities have shown us that, if you’re willing to get a bit creative, you can lower plan costs without losing the industry-leading total rewards package that drives talent attraction and retention for your organization.
INNOVATIVE EMPLOYEE BENEFITS COST-SAVING STRATEGIES FOR PUBLIC ENTITIES
Competitive insurance options
Legacy state and local insurance plans may have been the best option when they were first created, but are you sure they are the right choice for your organization today? Speaking with insurance brokers to determine what other opportunities are in the market for your organization could result in cost savings and greater flexibility to design employee benefits tailored to your team.
Joining up with other public entities to purchase insurance builds your buying power, giving you access to better benefits at a lower cost. We’ve worked with cooperatives and consortiums to create low cost, high quality benefit packages with great success.
Like a cooperative or a consortium, joining a captive can be a great solution for building greater buying power and purchasing insurance in a group. However, this cost savings idea comes with another benefit: greater access to your data. Captives allow you to join together with other organizations, share similar risk, and proactively implement strategies that can lower your employees’ health care costs like wellness programs and biometric screening.
Voluntary and worksite benefits
Every staff member is different, with unique needs and desires in their benefits. Offering voluntary benefits allows for personal decision making about what coverages fit an individual’s needs best, from policies like accident and long term disability to innovative options like pet insurance or student loan repayment. Voluntary benefits come at no cost to your organization, yet allow you to maintain an industry-leading benefits package and tap into resources like virtual communication and enrollment assistance.
HRA and HSA strategies
HRAs and HSAs allow your organization to effectively manage risk and take on less financial burden when it comes to employee benefit plans, while still offering a high-quality benefit package. Staff members can securely save funds in an account created specifically to offset unexpected appointments, procedures, or medication that may not be covered by their employer-sponsored benefit plan.
Intentional strategy for health insurance, wellness programming and workers’ compensation insurance
Employee health is reflected in health insurance utilization, engagement in wellness programming, and unfortunately, in workplace injuries. Developing a strategy to reduce workplace injuries by focusing on employee health, communication, and education can create significant cost savings for your organization in both employee benefits and in workers’ compensation premiums.
Leveraging health care data
Use your data to your advantage. Knowing the amount of dollars that your organization pays to health care systems can give you the leverage you need to decrease benefit costs and increase the well being of staff and community.
Any of these strategies may be a good fit for your organization, but we encourage you to have a conversation with an M3 Account Executive to determine which option would have the greatest impact on your budget while maintaining the culture that you’ve worked so hard to create.