2019’s Benefits Predictions

Hot on the heels of a full year of economic growth in 2018, employers are now focusing their attention on how to stay ahead in 2019. They’re already thinking about what benefits employees want and how to maximize their current offerings.

For many employers, hiring is becoming more difficult. Benefits plans are going to be a way to stand out in a crowded job market to attract the best talent. Alongside concerns about employee’s personal data, 2019 should be a year that employers refocus their attention on how their benefits fit into their organization.

Benefits Offerings

The strong economy has made it tough for businesses to attract the talent they need to succeed. Employees can be more selective about the companies they send resumes to and which jobs they ultimately select.

For many, their decisions are being influenced by the benefits employers are offering instead of just the base salary.

For employers, 2019 should be a year to expand their benefits and focus their attention on solutions that address targeted needs such as student loan assistance, health savings accounts, and college savings plans. The good news is that these employers do not need to wait until open enrollment to add voluntary benefits — it can be done at any time.

Congressional Confusion

Healthcare and tax reform are still top of mind even after the midterms.

For employers, recent expansions to Medicaid and the passing of ballot initiatives in some states could mean changes to healthcare premiums.

With Congressional power split between parties beginning in January, employers will need to stay vigilant around changes to healthcare and tax reform.

Brokers will likely be a source of calm as companies navigate potential changes.

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Direct Contracts

As healthcare costs continue to rise, employers are seeking ways to try to mitigate them.

Employers have been shifting their attention away from broad plans and working to strike deals directly with hospitals and specialty care professionals.

By reducing the network size, employers can not only get better deals with high-quality low-cost physicians, but they can also reduce the overhead costs that come with a large care network.

2018 saw big gains in direct contracts and 2019 is already on track to continue growing for self-insured employers.

Data Security

Some of the world’s largest brands — including Adidas, Best Buy, Facebook, and Macy’s — suffered large data breaches in 2018.

If employers want to stay ahead in 2019, they not only need to focus on data security for their customers, but also their employees.

As benefits customization becomes more common, benefits solutions will be collecting more information about employees’ preferences and goals.

HR managers should take time to talk to their broker about the security protections in place at their benefits providers to ensure employees’ data is secure.

With just a few weeks left in 2018, employers should take time to evaluate what’s working with their current benefits platforms and create a plan for the new year.

Businesses planning on hiring in 2019 should start thinking about next year’s open enrollment offerings as well as benefits they can implement any time of the year. It’s a good idea for HR managers to talk with their tech team about boosting data security and schedule a recap meeting with their benefits broker to talk about employees’ data protection.

Custom Communications

More than ever, employees want benefits that communicate directly with them.

Every employee’s needs and goals are different, which is why having a benefits package that meets their unique needs is important.

Employees want wellness benefits that can identify areas they can improve and give customized recommendations of how to achieve their goals.

In 2019, employers should focus on implementing programs that speak to employees in communication channels they prefer and that continually adapt to the progress they make.

Chris Whitlow

Chris Whitlow
Chris Whitlow is the founder and CEO of Edukate, a workplace financial wellness provider.

Chris Whitlow

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