1st Quarter 2020
Retirement plans have had some recent successes in participation rates, contribution rates and investment performance due to innovations in autoenrollment, autoescalation and default investment choices. Of these three developments, the use of target-date funds (TDFs) has notably been the most visible, given their use of one-size, simple glide paths that generally appeal to most participants. However, some practitioners are raising questions about whether TDFs could be disrupted through better personalization. How real is the disruptive threat to the TDF vaunted status from personalization? This article examines the question from a number of angles: the structural limitations of TDFs, the growing consumer demand for personalized products and services that “know them,” and foundational notions of trust and intrusiveness.
Employers and other purchasers of large group health plans have a myriad of choices when it comes to proposed innovative solutions or disrupters designed to improve care and reduce the cost to the member participant and the plan. Coincidental with the expansion of these health care disrupters and failed promises of value from some of these entities over the years, large group health plan purchasers are demanding a greater level of support for the value propositions, including analyses that are specific to their popula-tions and claim utilization profile. This article focuses on best practice approaches to establish actuarial credibility for the stated value propositions of health care disrupters, taking into account the design of the specific solution and available data, including the purchasers’ actual population and claim experience history. Achieving a successful partnership with a third-party solution provider does require the dedication to understand the unique characteristics of a health plan and development of study methodologies that align with the solution and the available data.
Less than 17% of 401(k) plans incorporated automatic features, according to a 2005 Plan Sponsor Council of America survey. Many deployed automatic enrollment only for new hires with a 2% deferral default rate, cash equivalent investments and without automatic escalation. Today, 60% of plans have one or more automatic features. However, only a handful have migrated to a “full auto” design. This article describes one plan’s transition—from a passive strategy of “access while employed” to a full auto design that includes behavioral economics/choice architecture designed to maximize enrollment, contributions, employer match, savvy investment allocation and asset retention.
Millions of Americans provide unpaid caregiving to their parents, siblings, children and others. A large percentage of those caregivers are employed full-time. According to a 2019 report by Harvard Business School, more than 80% of employees with caregiving responsibilities admitted that caregiving affects their productivity at work. This article provides insight on how caregiving affects the workplace and offers practical solutions for employers to consider. A thoughtful and well-designed unpaid caregiver benefit program that is properly administered and communicated will strengthen an employer’s connection with its workforce. This will lead to improved productivity, engagement and retention.
Worksite health centers have been around for decades; however, in recent years this concept has seen growing popularity among companies looking to employer-sponsored primary care as a solution for reducing their health care costs and improving employee health and retention. As the market opportunity has expanded, so has the number of vendors and business models. And with the proliferation of available choices, employers are facing increasing complexity when choosing a partner. So how do employers know if their investment is, in fact, reducing their health care costs and improving employee health? This article presents research demonstrating the impact of engagement with employer-sponsored primary care services on employee health and employer health care costs. The analysis uses data from three companies of varied size and industry whose medical plan members engaged with OurHealth’s on-site and near-site primary care clinic services and presents results on utilization of services, health improvements and employers’ cost of care.
Plan sponsors can take a once-overlooked “lazy” or sleepy asset known as employee benefits and trans-form it into a strategic lever for workforce and organizational optimization. This article identifies health care cost challenges and describes how and why employers should find prescriptive solutions that minimize the negative impact these challenges can have on the long-term sustainability and viability of their companies. The authors identify a contemporary measurement approach that is a leading edge to population health management through its evaluation of noncompensation-related employee expenses. They contend that continuous improvement via data and analytics fosters business excellence, but they also encourage plan sponsors to not rely on vendors for this information.