3 essential questions every business must ask in 2014

December 2013

According to the 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report (AWR), 78 percent of employees say their benefits package affects their job satisfaction.  Did you know that?

For many small businesses, employee satisfaction and loyalty can be the sink or swim difference. While health care costs continue to rise and the Affordable Care Act has begun to fuel changes for business owners, it’s likely your company will need to make some important decisions in 2014.

Need help getting started?

These three questions are a great place to begin.

1. Should I continue to offer employer-provided coverage or not?

The 2013 AWR revealed that 65 percent of employees claim their benefit options affect their level of loyalty, and most business leaders agree that health benefits offer employees peace of mind and protection. Also, it’s important to consider that employer-sponsored benefits may offer you a cost-effective way to boost your total employee compensation.

2. How much can my business afford to spend?

You may want to give your employees every perk available, but sometimes it’s just not in the cards. If you already offer employer-sponsored benefits, you most likely have a pretty good idea of what your business can afford.

But what you could afford in 2013 may not translate to 2014, since health care premiums and other costs are likely to continue to increase. If you’re eligible, using the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) could cut costs. If your business is mid-to-large sized, investigate private marketplaces that offer fixed- contribution plans to help control costs.

And, if you’re considering offering benefits for the first time, discuss your options with your benefits consultant or broker to help gauge cost.

3. Which strategy will I choose?

If you’ve decided to provide coverage and determined how much your business can afford to spend, now it’s time to focus on strategy. Changes in health care mean more options to choose from including defined contribution plans, high-deductible plans, becoming self-funded and adjusting your current health plan.

One place to start is to talk with your broker about your current health plan. You may find that your benefits already meet or exceed federal standards and you can concentrate on making sure your employees understand and use the benefits you’re providing.

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This material is intended to provide general information about an evolving topic and does not constitute legal, tax or accounting advice regarding any specific situation. Aflac cannot anticipate all the facts that a particular employer or individual will have to consider in their benefits decision-making process. We strongly encourage readers to discuss their HCR situations with their advisors to determine the actions they need to take or to visit healthcare.gov (which may also be contacted at 1-800-318-2596) for additional information.
HCR13103 12/3/2013