Employee Benefits: Like a Rolling Stone
By Chuck Green
How are employee benefits like a Rolling Stone magazine ad?
In 1985, Rolling Stone magazine ran one of the most persuasive media campaigns ever. Referred to in the industry as the “Perception/Reality” campaign, it’s essentially about breaking inbred ideas about the status quo – a common theme here at Liazon. The ads challenged the then prevailing notion that Rolling Stone readers were long-haired hippies who never left the 1960s, by demonstrating that their readers were, in actuality, trendsetters among “the most affluent consumers in America.”
The subject of employee benefits, too, is loaded with commonly held perceptions that simply don’t prove out in the new reality of the twenty-teens – largely being shaped by the adoption of private exchanges.
Expensive Plan ≠ Best Plan
One of the classic misperceptions is that by buying the most expensive health plan an employee can afford, they will be well-protected against the risks in life. The reality is quite different when it comes to true protection. It really isn’t just about health insurance. The best protection strategy for an employee’s benefits portfolio is a matrix of different types of coverage for different risks faced by that individual and their family. Spending maximum dollars on a gold-plated health plan, while skimping on other financial protection like long- and short-term disability, doesn’t provide adequate financial protection should an illness or accident keep someone from receiving an income during their recovery period. Most any health plan will help to cover the cost of a major illness after out-of-pocket maximums are met. But can the average employee make rent or mortgage payments while they’re out of work for three months? In all likelihood no – not without the income protection provided by additional insurance.
We find that when employees using Liazon’s Bright Choices® Exchange are given the option to spend benefit dollars as they choose on a wide variety of coverage alternatives, they select less expensive medical coverage, while electing other types of financial coverage to help fill the gaps should they become ill.
There’s Nothing “Supplemental” About It!
The popular industry term for these types of non-medical coverage, including accident, hospital indemnity, critical illness and others, is “supplemental insurance.” But the perception that they “supplement” expensive medical coverage belies the reality that when employees consciously combine lower-cost health plans (like high-deductible plans with Health Savings Accounts, HSAs) and other types of coverage (like long- and short-term disability, catastrophic, etc.) they can achieve greater levels of financial protection without sacrificing essential medical coverage. They don’t supplement coverage, they synergize for better all-around risk protection. Remember, it’s not just about health insurance.
The reality of true financial protection is now achievable thanks to the new benefits exchange models available in the marketplace. Explore our site to learn more about Liazon’s private benefits exchange, Bright Choices.
Chuck Green is Liazon’s resident expert on all things benefits. With more than 20 years’ industry experience, he now turns his attention to educating the masses on why benefits aren’t just about health care and why private exchanges are the wave of the future; that is, when he’s not leading the charge on jigsaw puzzles in Liazon’s NYC office.