Unlocking Cost Savings: How Employers Can Slash Expenses with Level-Funded Plans

Discover how employers can take advantage of level-funded plans for their employees and save on healthcare costs. 

As healthcare costs continue to surge, employers struggle to keep up with the ever-increasing expenses of employee healthcare. The challenge of providing comprehensive health coverage to employees while keeping costs under control can seem impossible. However, a solution is gaining popularity among employers: level-funded plans.

These innovative plans allow employers to customize their healthcare benefits while taking advantage of cost savings, making providing high-quality coverage to employees without breaking the bank easier. With rising healthcare costs showing no signs of slowing down, a level funded health plan may be the key to finally unlocking cost savings for businesses of all sizes.

Understanding Level-Funded Plans

Employers pay a fixed monthly amount to a health carrier in a level-funded plan. This amount covers estimated claims costs, stop-loss insurance premiums that cover healthcare costs above a set dollar amount, and plan administration expenses. If actual claims costs are higher or lower than anticipated, the carrier adjusts at the plan year’s end. Employers receive a refund for lower claims, while higher claims increase the premium on the stop-loss insurance renewal.

Stop-loss coverage is crucial in this agreement. It limits an employer’s financial liability for claims above a certain amount, either on a per-employee basis or for the entire covered population.

The Benefits of Level-Funded Plans

Level-funded plans provide several benefits over fully insured plans, including:

  • Lower premiums compared to fully insured plans: Employers can often save money on premiums compared to fully insured plans, where insurance companies set premiums that may be higher to account for risk.
  • Greater control over plan design and customization: With level-funded plans, employers can choose the coverage options that are most important to their workforce, such as dental or vision coverage, and adjust deductibles and co-pays to balance costs.
  • Cost transparency and predictability: Employers know how much they’ll pay each month, and because the plan is self-funded, they can see exactly where their money is going.
  • Potential for financial savings through claims experience: Any savings from claims experience are returned to the employer at the end of the policy period, providing an incentive to keep employees healthy and promote preventive care.

Assessing Employer Readiness for Level-Funded Plans

Employer readiness for level-funded plans is an important consideration as businesses strive to balance their bottom line with providing quality healthcare coverage for their employees. The company size and risk tolerance are two important factors that should be evaluated. 

Furthermore, understanding the employee’s healthcare needs and demographics is important when selecting the right health plan. Lastly, analyzing the potential financial implications and savings can help employers decide whether a level-funded plan is a viable option for their business. 

Implementing Level-Funded Plans

Implementing level-funded plans can be a smart financial move for businesses seeking more control over their healthcare costs. However, navigating the ins and outs of this process can be overwhelming. One solution is partnering with an experienced insurance brokerage to help streamline the transition, monitor plan usage, and provide ongoing support. Additionally, plan design considerations and cost-sharing strategies can help strike a balance between affordable premiums and comprehensive coverage. To ensure the new plan’s success, engaging employees in the process and providing comprehensive education about the benefits and potential drawbacks is crucial.

Mitigating Risk and Ensuring Financial Stability

Risk is an inherent part of any business. This is especially true in the healthcare industry, where a single high-cost claim could potentially bankrupt even the most financially sound organization. Fortunately, there are several strategies that healthcare providers can implement to mitigate risk and ensure financial stability.

One such strategy is using stop-loss insurance, which protects against high-cost claims. Understanding the difference between aggregate and specific stop-loss coverage is important, as each offers unique benefits and drawbacks. Additionally, managing risk through wellness programs and preventive care can greatly reduce the likelihood of high-cost claims in the first place. 

Controlling Healthcare Costs with Data Analysis

One highly effective strategy in controlling healthcare costs is utilizing data analysis to gain insight into where costs come from and how they can be reduced. Claims data is a particularly valuable resource, providing a detailed picture of medical expenses and usage patterns that can be used to pinpoint high-cost areas and identify opportunities for cost-saving initiatives. In addition to these analytical approaches, employers have also found success by encouraging employees to participate in wellness programs to reduce costly health outcomes over the long term.

Healthcare stakeholders can work together to create a more sustainable and cost-effective system by harnessing data and empowering employees to take control of their health.

Employee Engagement and Communication

Effective communication and employee engagement are critical components for maintaining a thriving workplace. Whether it’s fostering a culture of health and wellness, promoting cost-saving measures, or leveraging technology for convenient access to healthcare resources, it’s essential to create a sustainable plan that captures the attention of every employee.

Especially with level-funded plans, which come with additional compliance considerations, addressing these areas is necessary for a successful outcome. Open communication channels and accessible resources help build a strong foundation for an engaged workforce willing to take on the changing healthcare landscape.

Compliance Considerations for Level-Funded Plans

When it comes to level-funded plans, there are several compliance considerations that employers and plan sponsors must keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to understand the regulatory requirements set forth by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other applicable laws and regulations. This includes ensuring the plan is properly filed and administered, meets minimum funding standards, and provides adequate disclosures to plan participants.

In addition to federal regulations, navigating state insurance regulations and consumer protections is also crucial. States may have specific requirements for plan design, coverage, and marketing, and employers must ensure their plan complies with these rules. Employers should also know state-specific taxes or fees that may apply to their level-funded plan.

Finally, another important consideration is compliance with Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions. Level-funded plans are subject to many of the same ACA requirements as fully-insured plans, including providing essential health benefits and compliance with annual out-of-pocket maximums and other cost-sharing limits. Employers must also ensure their level-funded plan meets the ACA’s minimum value and affordability standards.

Monitoring and Adjusting the Level-Funded Plan

Effective employee benefits programs require a keen focus on monitoring and adjusting the level-funded plan. Regular review and analysis of plan performance is critical to ensure that the program is working as intended. This process can identify and address any areas that require improvement. Additionally, adjusting plan design and cost-sharing based on data insights can help optimize the plan and provide better value to employees. However, implementing such changes requires clear communication with employees about the plan changes and an open dialogue to address feedback.

Case Studies: Real-world Examples of Cost Savings

Here are some examples of companies that have successfully implemented level-funded plans and achieved significant cost savings:

  1. Power Design Inc. – A construction company based in Florida, Power Design Inc., implemented a level-funded plan and saw a 19% reduction in healthcare costs in the first year. Additionally, they were able to improve employee engagement and satisfaction by offering personalized healthcare services and wellness programs.
  2. The Good Bean – This healthy snack company was facing premiums that were 20% higher than the industry average. By switching to a level-funded plan, they were able to reduce their monthly premiums by 10%, resulting in significant annual savings. The company also saw an improvement in employee satisfaction with the new plan.

Conclusion

Concluding the benefits of level-funded plans for employers, it is important to highlight the significant cost savings potential. With their flexibility and transparency, these plans allow businesses to take control of their health insurance budget and customize their coverage according to their employee demographic. By leveraging their claims data and monitoring their plan’s performance, employers can manage their expenses effectively while providing comprehensive benefits to their workforce.

In today’s competitive job market, offering affordable and quality healthcare is more critical than ever, and level-funded plans can help businesses achieve this goal and stay ahead of the game.

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