Given the razor-thin labor pool and long-term positive economic and employment forecasts, the battle for quality talent will be waged for some time to come. Add to that, the Millennial Invasion, and you have a full-on war for these sharp young minds as they enter the workforce.
The thought of paycheck, let alone payroll deductions, is a new concept and one that comes with education and adjustments to the working world. Enter the free health plan concept.
While many employers charge 30% or better of health plan costs to their employees, Millennials approach the health plan selection process with a ‘Friday Beer Money’ frame of mind. Thus the allure of a low or no-cost health insurance plan selection. The combined H S A / HMO program presents the lowest price offer to employers, and when structured properly, oftentimes can be at or below the 70% threshold of pricier plans offered by employers. The result, a free plan offering to entice not only younger personnel but any employees blessed with good health that are non-users of the plan.
Many health insurance carriers will allow multiple plan offerings, of two to four options, depending on the number of insured / eligible employees. Designing at least one plan offering that comes in at no cost to your employees, is something that many employers have not offered for years. This can be a game-changer when competing for talent, where wages are comparable, but benefit costs may vary greatly.
The price point of some H S A / HMO combo plans can provide such savings that it allows room for some employer seed money into the H S A program. Employer seed money could also be done on a matching basis, to incent employees to contribute to their own H S A, which oftentimes is viewed as a medical 401(k) plan. Given a few years of H S A growth under their belt, when they reach the ‘I just might need this’ thought process, they will have built a small nest egg to offset eventual health care costs that we all face at some time in our lives.
The bottom line, as employers look to hyper-creative ideas to recruit and retain talent, the ability to offer a free health plan is something familiar only to the prior generation of employees. Its rarity is eye-catching today.