A new article from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) points out big trends in benefits and health care for 2019.
So, what’s new? A few items to look forward to are health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and an expansion of health savings accounts (HSAs) opportunities. While HSAs allow for employee and employer contributions into an employee account, HRAs will allow employees to pay for health care and employers can reimburse partial costs.
Because of delayed effective dates and other factors, these changes are most likely to happen further down the road. However, advances in current benefits in place for voluntary benefits, parental leave, and emotional health are under way.
Voluntary benefits are getting a personalized touch to better address specific needs by providing tailored guidance for individual employees. Family-friendly benefits, such as paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers, are also expanding with the expectation that paid care-giver leave for family-related absences is not too far behind.
To continue individual-specific support, employers also are addressing the need for better care options for a range of mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, stress, and addiction. Along with a commitment to not only move forward, but improve access to behavioral health services, employers may choose to provide on-site and virtual counseling, network expansion (where possible), and incorporation of employee assistance programs. As employer-sponsored coverage continues to grow, so does the need for better health care education.
To remain competitive when recruiting, employers are aiming to offer not only benefits but easier enrollment. With the expansion of HSA opportunities and personalized voluntary benefits on the horizon, employers are considering various strategies to simplify the process. Instead of going out and comparing prices, employers are looking to make the process easier on the employee by contracting directly with health care providers.
Also, the shift from paper to online HR platforms with user-friendly tools can ease decision-making for employees making elections and HR representatives processing those elections.
Although districts currently enrolled in TRS ActiveCare may see some of these changes, those not participating may have more opportunities available.
Yuri Cho is an HR data analyst at TASB HR Services. Send Yuri an email at email@example.com.