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Employee Benefits

manufacturing labor shortage

Tackling the Manufacturing Labor Shortage

By | Employee Benefits | No Comments

If you work in manufacturing, we don’t have to tell you that the industry is facing a labor shortage. You know about the high number of Baby Boomers retiring from the workforce. But the shortage goes beyond that important factor. A skills shortage is facing younger workers entering the workforce. All of this is going to affect recruiting methods for younger workers in the future. Attracting talent is hard. But, there is something you can do. Offering insurance benefits can help you stay competitive in an already competitive workforce.


What to Consider When Choosing Insurance

Different generations expect different things from their insurance packages. Finding a package that benefits everyone is hard but possible. Your employees know what they want when it comes to insurance. Listen to them to try and find a flexible option.

Despite the differences between generational insurance needs, there are commonalities. How you market those everyday needs is what attracts new talent to help shrink the labor gap. Since we work with numerous insurers, we can help you compare.

Insurance as a Recruiting Tool

The skills shortage makes it hard to recruit new employees. An insurance plan provides an attractive incentive to potential new hires. It also helps with retention. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 46 percent say insurance is the deciding — or even positive — influence in choosing a job. Additionally, 56 percent of employees say insurance from their employers is how they decide to stay with their current company.

How Insurance Helps Business

Unless you’re in the state of Hawaii, you aren’t obligated to provide health insurance to your employees. However, most companies try to offer some insurance and benefits package. Today’s workforce is competitive. By offering the best insurance packages for your employees, your business will run more efficiently. You will save on recruiting and onboarding costs. And, if someone does get sick or injured, you know they can afford care so that they can return to work as quickly as possible.


Benefits of Offering Insurance Packages

It’s hard to please everyone. But by offering insurance packages, you’re providing benefits into the workplace that can help make you more attractive and competitive in the workplace.

More Employees Enrolled Means Lower Costs

It seems counter-intuitive, but the more employees enrolled in an insurance program means you spend less on insurance costs overall. Offering insurance to your employees can serve as a tax break for your business, helping you save money in the long run.

Improves Office Morale and Decreases Absenteeism

A company functions well if employees perform at peak performance. When employees have an insurance package, they’re more likely to take better care of themselves. When people take better care of themselves, they’re less likely to get sick. This results in better work attendance, which allows your company to fire on all cylinders.

Employees Expect Insurance Benefits

While they may not enjoy the research involved in getting insurance, most people like having insurance. That way, should something happen to their health or anything else, they have a little bit of coverage and protection. FindLaw reports that some employees are okay with a lower salary if it means they’re getting some insurance coverage.


At Booker Insurance, we offer a variety of services for all your insurance needs, whether it’s transportation or personal insurance. View our options on our website.

insurance premiums

How Much of Your Employees’ Premiums Should You Cover?

By | Employee Benefits, Insurance Insights | No Comments

Many businesses want to offer better medical benefits and job incentives for their employees but aren’t sure how they compare with the competition. How much to contribute toward your employees’ premiums is a common question from business owners.

Let’s take a look at some statistics and guidelines you can follow to make your company’s health plan a good value that’s also attractive to employees.


Employer Premium Contribution Trends

There are many variables, so it’s impossible to give a one-size-fits-all approach to covering employee premiums. However, there are some great resources available, such as the annual Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Health Benefits Survey.

The KFF survey gives employers a good sense of trends in employer contributions. Something to keep in mind is the difference in the size of these businesses, as well as geographic location.

These highlights may help you get started:

In 2016, employers contributed an average of 82% at $5,306 for single coverage. For family coverage, employers covered 71% at $12,865 on average.

In 2017, employers again contributed an average of 82% for single coverage, at $5,477. Also, for family coverage, employers covered 70% at $13,049.

In 2018, employers contributed an average of 82% at $6,896 for single coverage. For family coverage, employers covered 71% at $19,616.

Keep in mind that these figures are for all plan types combined. For example, there will be some variations when comparing HMOs vs. PPOs.

You’ll notice that employers are continuing to spend similar amounts on employees’ health insurance year over year. If you are paying anything less than these percentages, you may have to adjust to stay competitive for employee retention and hiring.


Large vs. Small Employers

According to the 2018 KFF survey, small employers (3-199 employees) usually contribute less for family coverage. The averages for small employers premium coverage in 2018 are 82% for singles and 62% for families.

By comparison, large employers spend the same for single coverage but more for families at 71%. Also, the average for all employers, regardless of size, is 67% premium coverage.

This can be chalked up to cost. Smaller businesses cannot afford as much as their larger counterparts. Health insurance costs continue to increase, and maintaining the same coverage has become increasingly challenging for all businesses. A common approach to maintain coverage at manageable expenses is to increase employee cost-sharing for family plans.


Cost-Saving Alternatives

Another option for small businesses to cope with rising health insurance costs is to provide a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA). This plan allows employers to decide their contribution for an allowance paid towards employee’s individually purchased health insurance premiums and is often more affordable for small businesses.

There are some general rules to adhere to, such as the Affordable Care Act‘s (ACA) affordability standards. This law states that the lowest-priced individual plan offered by employers must cost 9.56% or less of the employee’s household income. That includes other family members contributions to the household income.

Premium Coverage by Industry

A good strategy when deciding how much to contribute to your employee’s premiums is to compare what other companies in your industry are offering in your area. It may be okay to offer less if you have additional incentives, but if you can afford to, it would most likely help your recruitment and retention rates to spend a little more than the local competition.

Some industries may spend more or less on their employee’s premiums due to the variance in other expenses such as their general liability policy. For example, manufacturers and contractors spend more on general liability insurance than the vast majority of different industries. This is due to the high risk of doing work that involves someone else’s property.

Also, the larger the manufacturing company, the more they will end up paying for workers compensation. These are just some of the factors involved in determining a health insurance and benefits budget for a company in a specific industry.

The significant differences among premium coverage in any industry are the size of the businesses. Both large and small tend to pay the same for individual coverage but significantly differ on family coverage – the more expensive premium. Alternatives to traditional health insurance coverage such as a reimbursement strategy (HRA) is becoming more popular during the recent rise of insurance costs.


Take a look at your current employee premium coverage and compare it against your competitors. If you need help deciding what the right amount to spend is or alternative strategies to save on cost and still offer good coverage for your employee’s, contact a benefits specialist at Brooker Insurance at 440-238-5454. We are experts at finding the appropriate target premium for your unique business’ needs.


Millennial view on health insurance

Different Generations’ Expectations for Group Health Insurance

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When you set out to provide benefits to your employees, it’s important to understand their point of view. The different generations currently in the workforce — Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials — each have different views on health care and health insurance. It can be a challenge to find a group health insurance plan that’s right for everyone.

Keep in mind, no one likes being stereotyped. There are stereotypes about each generation, like Millennials are lazy and Baby Boomers don’t like technology. Set these aside to make an informed decision about health benefits. Get the facts on each generation’s preferences before you jump to conclusions. We also suggest that you ask your own employees what they value most, as every company is different.


Baby Boomer View on Health Insurance

Baby Boomers are the generation starting to retire from the workforce now. They tend to view healthcare more traditionally. They want everything related to their healthcare to be in one place, whether it’s for a doctor’s visit, lab work that needs completing, or any other medical services they need.

When it comes to them choosing a health insurance plan, they rely heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations. If they hear that someone prefers one plan compared to another, they’ll be more likely to choose the plan better received by their friends and coworkers. Because they may potentially have more healthcare problems in the future, they’re going to want a plan with plenty of coverage.


Generation X View on Health Insurance

Members of the Gen X generation tend to look up anything related to their medical care digitally compared to the baby boomer generation, but less than Millennials. StatNews reports that they’re also in a unique position because they may be caring for their aging parents as well as their children, who may range from school-aged to teens.

Gen X prefers convenient access to healthcare, whether it’s going to an actual doctor’s office or going to a convenient clinic, so their insurance plans will most likely want to include more generalized rules about where they can receive their care. Also, because this generation is starting to get their preventative screenings, they will need more coverage based on which kind of screening they are receiving.


Millennial View on Health Insurance

Because the millennial generation is considered digital natives, they view healthcare as something that should be somewhat digital, whether that’s using the internet to figure out symptoms or video chatting with a doctor instead of going into the office. Just like Gen X, they prefer an ease of access to healthcare. However, unlike previous generations, Millennials are less likely to have a primary care physician.

When it comes to choosing among plans, Millennials want to see everything that’s considered so they can compare and make the best decisions. They also want to see highlights of benefits offered in the plans in a technological setting.


Common Threads Among Generations

Even though the different generations want and need different things from their health insurance plans, there are still commonalities they all want.


Quality Care

Even though the different generations have different needs when it comes to care, they all want quality care, whether it’s in-person care or video chat care. Regardless of age, people want the best care possible, and they want to feel like their needs are heard. Having quality care from their healthcare provider is going to keep them coming back, as most generations are very brand loyal.


Convenience of Care

No one wants to wait around for care if there is a pressing health matter. Having different options to see a doctor — like urgent care or care clinics in grocery stores — where they don’t need an appointment or can go in after-hours is viewed favorably across multiple generations.


Transparent Pricing

No one likes to spend money on something unexpected, and some view the healthcare industry as perpetrators of unanticipated medical costs. Members of the different generations like knowing all their healthcare costs upfront, even if they have extra income that would allow them to pay pop up medical costs.

Take the time to work with a broker and find the plan that fits your company best. The more people you get to sign up for group health care, the less expensive the overall insurance will cost.

insurance costs go down with higher enrollment

Insurance Costs Go Down with Higher Enrollment

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Health insurance costs continue to rise. According to a recent Gallup survey, more than three-quarters of Americans expect their prices to increase even more in the next two years. Those statistics can scare some employers from wanting to provide health insurance benefits, but you need them now more than ever.

Can a group health insurance plan for your business can lower costs for everyone? You bet! Whether you’re a mom and pop operation, or an enterprise business with employees, a group plan can save you money.


Upsides for Both Business Owners and Employees

Are your employees seeking out the care they need to happily and safely perform their jobs? According to Gallup, a significant number of Americans are deferring care, forgoing care altogether, or borrowing money to get it.

Helping them get the care they need can actually improve worker performance, reduce sick days and boost morale. Plus, preventive health care costs can stave off more expensive treatments or even disability costs down the road.

Other benefits include:

– Receiving tax credits and other tax benefits.

– Job satisfaction and improved recruiting.

– Healthier employees who are more productive.

– Increased job security.


Group Health Plans for Small Businesses

Small business owners can save too. A small business can be up to 100 employees. The more employees you have, the more you save, and even going from one person to two means savings. Premiums are 10 percent lower per person, on average, with 40 percent lower deductibles versus individual enrollment.

Health insurance for business owners goes to work for you, bringing rewards in real dividends.

Group plans, which include individual’s family members, are usually more affordable for employees and offer more extensive coverage. You can split up premiums with employees.


What’s the Tax Credit?

The SHOP tax credit applies if you have fewer than 25 full-time employees and offer health insurance to all of them. You can receive up to 50% off your contributions toward employee premiums. This will drastically reduce the cost of providing benefits to employees.

You can even set up your health insurance so employees can pay their premiums with pre-tax money. When you provide benefits and cash-saving solutions, you will have happier employees.

Another option to consider for group savings is partially self-funded coverage. As an employer, you cover some of the potential cost for employees’ medical care every year. The trade-off is that you’ll receive a sizable refund at the end of each year if those costs are lower than forecast.

This is an excellent option for employers with young and healthy employees that rarely visit the doctor.

Did you know that a mid-sized small business (50-99 employees) can typically negotiate for a lower premium? Depending on the size of your business, you may have some leverage with your premium payments.


Looking for Profitability

By | Commercial Lines, Employee Benefits, Profit | No Comments
Bill Brooker, Commercial Account Executive, discusses his interactions with a commercial customer in regard to an insurance review of the coverage on one of their large office buildings. The review resulted in the realization that the business contents, which was currently being insured by the business policy, was being double-covered by their building policy. In only about ten minutes time, Bill was able to recommend changes which would result in approximately a $10,000 premium savings each year.
The main point is one of profitability. At Brooker Insurance, our goal is to help you manage your risk in a way that not only maximizes your coverage, but also considers your long-term profitability. We highly encourage you to take the time to have a review of your insurance policies and the associated coverages at least every three to five years. As an independent agent, we value the opportunity to shop on behalf of our clients in order to keep their insurance costs as low as possible, while still maintaining proper coverage.
Employee benefits is another place to evaluate costs and look for options to help keep your bottom line healthy. The ever-changing landscape of healthcare regulations and benefits systems means that frequent reviews are always valuable.
At the end of the day, one of our main goals as an insurance agency is to help your company remain strong and profitable!

“Our goal is to help you manage your risk in a way that not only maximizes your coverage, but also considers your long-term profitability.”