How To Negotiate The Best HR Employee Healthcare Benefits For Workers

Before your company partners with a healthcare insurance vendor, it’s important to negotiate the best open enrollment agreement contract to ensure your employees will have a range of options to cover their lifestyle and care for their loved ones. 

Below are nine tasks that your HR department should carefully consider doing before you make the annual commitment, according to members of Forbes Human Resources Council.

1. Do A Cost Comparison 

Cost compared to what the average pay is within the company is the most important thing. This can motivate turnover, retention and morale within the company. Insurance benefits may seem small, but at the end of the day, it is a huge factor in all aspects of the company. – Melissa Bolton, JB Martin

2. Read The Fine Print

You have to understand the needs of your employees. Before negotiating benefits, make sure that what you are offering doesn’t just look good on paper but will actually be a resource for employees. You also need to read the fine print to make sure that the benefits you are offering don’t have any exemptions you did not consider before adopting. – Tina R. Walker, California Community Foundation

3. Be Clear And Concise About Newly Adopted Policies

Healthcare in the United States has always been a top consideration when evaluating a desire to move or stay. This has only intensified with the pandemic, so people have heightened skepticism regarding changes right now. It is imperative that your narrative for change is clear and concise or it could have huge negative consequences. – Paul Phillips, Avanade

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4. Vet The Vendor’s Support System

You need to know if your benefits vendor is compatible with your system, including payroll and your human resource information system. When, not if, there are issues, will the benefits vendor be available to assist you so that your employees have continuity of coverage and correct deductions? – Courtney Pace, FedEx Employees Credit Assoc.


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5. Utilize Previous Performance Data 

HR departments should look at utilization data from previous years to see what people signed up for and what they used, comparing this data to what benefits employees need and want now. Like most things, and particularly when it comes to healthcare, benefits needs evolve. Companies must listen closely to employees and consider ways to improve overall employee work-life balance. – Danny Speros, Zenefits

6. Negotiate Good Choices

When it comes to rewards and benefits, having a choice is king. If you have the opportunity to negotiate a contract that allows employees to choose the right benefits mix for them, take it. It’s one thing to know what employees want now, but people’s needs and the marketplace changes over time. So ideally, your company’s benefits offerings should have the flexibility to change dynamically too. – Nicole Fernandes, Blu Ivy Group

7. Provide Equal Access 

Traditionally, fairness and equal access have been considered hallmarks of healthcare benefits. I would invite HR departments to start thinking about equity instead so that benefits are not one size fits all, but take into consideration the different needs, constraints and priorities of their workforce. This could be a game changer to attract more diverse talent. – Bontle Senne, Virgin Media UK

8. Conduct An Employee Survey

Do a survey to see which benefits employees use and what benefits they want. Sometimes you can cut benefits that aren’t being used and add the benefits that are more valuable. Also, find out if you have options to be fully insured or level-funded, then decide what is best for your company. There are so many options for benefits so it is important to start evaluating this information early. – Erin ImHof, Circadence

9. Define The Word ‘Better’ (When It Comes To Benefits)

Is it better because it’s cost-effective to the company or is it better because it gives employees greater coverage? With that in mind, understand that better is a relative word and not absolute. Organizations should conduct employee engagement surveys to find out what employees truly want and how to best obtain their desires with the company’s ability. – Nakisha Griffin, Virtual Enterprise Architects

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