UBP blog


What keeps employees up at night more than their debt and retirement funds?

How about providing health insurance to both themselves and their families?

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards’ 2009 National Consumer Survey on Personal Finance reveals that “generating current income” and “providing health insurance” are numbers 1 and 2 respectively on this year’s list of greatest consumer concerns.

Here’s their list of the top 5 concerns: 

  • Generating current income (59%)
  • Providing health insurance coverage (55%)
  • Managing or reducing debt (53%)
  • Building a retirement fund (51%)
  • Creating an emergency fund (47%)

What this means for employers:

Right now, employees’ greatest concerns are generating an income and insuring themselves and their loved ones. For employers, this means effective benefit and compensation communication is key.

1. Communicate total compensation:

One great way for employers to address the top two employee concerns is through online Total Compensation Statements. These statements show employees every dollar that you’re contributing towards their income generation and their insurance coverage. When employees see the big picture of these two figures put together, it will help them to appreciate everything you’re giving them that much more.

Through our proprietary online HR and benefits management platform, The HR in a Box™, Universal Benefit Plans gives our clients’ employees free access to online Total Compensation Statements 24/7/365. 

2. Offer helpful hints:

In addition to communicating employee total compensation in a streamlined, green and easily-accessible way, HR professionals can offer employees helpful tips for managing their incomes and debts. For example, there are numerous ways to pay down credit card debt faster, such as consolidating all of your credit card debt to a lower interest card and finding small amounts of everyday savings to apply to the principal.

There are many other helpful hints out there that employers can pass along to employees. To access these hints, HR professionals can subscribe to receive free daily or weekly tips from financial websites and select tips to pass along to their employees.

The Hr in a Box™ Employer platform is a great employee communication tool that HR professionals can use it to send financial tips (as well as other HR communications) to all employees.

To sum everything up, Total Compensation Statements highlight all you pay for your employees and the communication tool on The HR in a Box™ lets you help them manage their financial resources better. So now, you can show your employees you care about the things that are keeping them up at night without spending any additional money (which would probably keep your fiscal department up at night!).


Three reasons your employee benefits information should be online

Filed under: employee benefit communication — ubpblogger @ 12:00 pm
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We are almost a decade into the 21st century and just about everything has migrated onto the Internet. You can shop online, book travel online, bank online and in Boston, MBTA customers can now update Charlie Cards online. Shouldn’t employee benefits information be online too?

Here are three good reasons to put all of your company’s benefits information into one user-friendly online portal.

  1. Books and binders are for the dark ages.

 Yet, many employers still use them to communicate benefits. Paper is becoming more and more obsolete each day as employees spend greater amounts of time surfing the web. So, when you hand your employees a huge binder with all of their benefits summaries stuffed into it, you might as well just be handing them a scroll written with one of those feather pens. 

In fact, why don’t you just write their benefits information in old English while you’re at it? How does “thou shalt have access to thine health insurance 90 days following the date thou art hired” sound? Pretty old fashioned, right?

If you want to move your employee benefit communication away from the outdated and old-fashioned, there’s no better time than now to make the move to the Web.

 2.    HR needs a permanent vacation from redundant questions.

Anyone in HR knows that it’s more than a full-time job. You’re responsible for recruiting and retaining top talent, compliance with federal and state laws and so much more. Then, there’s benefits. Not only do you have to administer and communicate them, you have to answer the same questions about them every day.

Putting all employee benefits information into a user-friendly, secure online portal will take this burden off your shoulders. The next time employees come to you with redundant requests (i.e. “can I have a claim form?’) you’ll just need to point them in the direction of your website and they’ll be good to go.

 3.    There’s no such thing as “take your spouse to open-enrollment day”

This is significant because 50% of employees (who make up the audience at open enrollment meetings) don’t make the benefits decisions for their families, their spouses do. If the spouses are making benefits-decisions, shouldn’t they have self-service access to benefits information too?

An employee benefits portal with self-service access from anywhere there’s Internet helps out a lot with this. It allows employees and their spouses to view information on all benefits offered, make intelligent decisions together and even enroll from the comfort of their own homes.

Universal Benefit Plans has fully recognized that the future for benefit administration and communication is on the Internet. We have all the resources you’ll need to make your move to the Web a seamless one so call us at (617) 859-1777 and we’ll gladly share them with you.


Employee contributions to monthly premiums up 14.7% from last year

A recent study from benefits consulting firm Millman Inc. revealed a not too surprising figure. Although the total cost to insure the average family on an employer-sponsored health insurance plan went up 7.4% from last year, the employee contribution to this year’s amount went up 14.7%. Employees, on average, paid $4,004 in premiums and $2,820 in out-of-pocket medical expenses.

This year is the third consecutive year that the Millman Medical Index (MMI), which measures average annual medical spending for a typical American family of four on an employer-sponsored PPO plan, found a double-digit percentage increase in employee contribution amounts. Counting premium payments alone, Millman found that the total cost to participate in an employer-sponsored plan can exceed 8% of the average annual household income of $50,000.

Millman expects this trend of growth in employee contributions to their medical benefits to continue after the recession subsides. This is because as the recession began to take hold, employers responded with quick and definite cost-saving strategies such as pay cuts and layoffs. Benefit plans, and consequently benefit plan contribution amounts, are only changed annually and cost-saving changes in these are slower to materialize as a result.

Have employee contributions to insurance costs gone up in your company and do you expect double-digit increases in them over the next few years?

How have you communicated this to your employees?

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