One of the reasons that employees are dedicated and happy working for a company is the health insurance coverage that they receive as a part of their total compensation package. Great health insurance coverage with a low deductible has been considered key to attracting and retaining great employees. Unfortunately, the low deductible is becoming a thing of the past for an increasing number of workers.
Since 2011 health insurance premiums have increased 20% on top of even greater increases in the prior years. With health insurance premiums continuously rising, employers find it difficult to provide the coverage they would like to provide.
As employers are faced with the rising premiums, many have found it necessary to pass on health care costs to the workers. The most common way is to increase deductibles and other forms of cost sharing. Knowing that an increase in the deductible can be burdensome to many of their employees, companies, while reluctant to make that change, do so when they see it as their best or only choice.
Another means of lowering the cost of premiums is to reduce the coverage. But businesses that put a high priority on attracting and retaining their employees will make other adaptations in an effort to avoid reducing coverage. Some will take on the option of lowering costs by incorporating wellness programs, doing annual health risk assessments, and finding ways of assisting employees who are managing a chronic illness.
Knowing that the rising cost of health insurance has put so many businesses in a quandary, we requested an interview with two executives of AMS Fulfillment, Louise Aldrich, VP of Finance and Betty Lou Wiseman, Executive VP of Client Services. Like any other company AMS is paying higher premiums, but unlike many others, this company has not wavered on the commitment to provide affordable health insurance to all of their employees.
Betty Lou Wiseman began by offering the following: “Since 2005, AMS has maintained a Cafeteria Section 125 plan. This plan allows employees to pay their contribution for medical premiums with pre-tax dollars. Using pre-tax dollars further reduces the cost of employees’ medical, dental and vision insurance. On average employees will save 28 cents on every dollar they spend.”
Louise Aldrich went on to explain that AMS considers dental and vision coverage very important for employees as it pays for services that are extremely costly without insurance. Louise said, “AMS recently added a Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s) plan where employees may set aside, on a pre-tax basis, a set amount of money per year. These FSA savings may be used for paying eligible medical, dependent care, or transportation expenses.”
Betty Lou and Louise made it very clear that because of the company’s strong commitment to employees, AMS has held firm with their employee contribution percentages, even though, throughout the years, the cost to AMS has been steadily increasing. Every year AMS tasks their insurance brokers to provide the lowest, most competitive rates available in the marketplace while preserving coverage. With a steadfast commitment to employees, and management that is creative in problem solving, AMS does stand out as a very good company to work for.
“Our employees are the reason for our success,” Betty Lou said. “In the fulfillment business, employees are the greatest asset. We consider it vital to keep our commitment to employees by providing quality health insurance at the lowest possible cost to their pocketbook.”