The Environment of Employee Benefits
The overall employee benefits spectrum is in a constant state of change. These changes are a result of new governmental regulations, rising costs of medical care and benefits, and new benefit options. In 2014, the Affordable Care Act was implemented and changed the scope of health care benefits as a whole. The ACA aims to reform national healthcare and give more people access to affordable healthcare. The overall goal of the act is to cover all people, regardless of their conditions or other factors that play a role in receiving a health care plan. The ACA has incentives and tax breaks on individual and small businesses. However, it greatly impacts large organizations in a sense that they are now required to cover all employees and provide documentation supporting it. Employee benefits have become an expected and valuable part of the employees’ overall total compensation package. Benefits play an integral role when deciding to join or leave an organization. It serves as a powerful recruiting tool for employers looking to hire and keep the most talented workers in the competitive market place. Offering a competitive salary combined with benefits and perks has proven to promote improved work habits and reducing employee turnover. It also provides employees with a sense of job security and encourages them to remain within their organizations. As the price of health care services and coverage continues to increase, employers attempt to create benefits designs and strategies to help reduce costs. The paper explores aspects of the current environment of employee benefits and how employers are attempting to reduce health care costs. The impact of a multi-generational workforce on benefit plans is significant. As the demographics of the workforce changes, employees’ motivations and expectations evolve. Demographics drive plan utilization, which in turn drives costs. More and more companies are electing to keep current workers longer as they have valuable knowledge that may be lost if they leave their organizations. With an aging workforce result in higher utilization in the areas of health and disability will increase. The age of retirement continues to rise as a result of older worker staying on their jobs longer as Social Security is just not enough to support costs of living. There should be more governmental regulations to help assist with older generations and ensure that their financially secure upon the age of retirement. With older workers remaining on the jobs longer its makes it difficult for the younger generation to find employment in the workforce. In many cases younger workers with college degrees are sometimes faced with settling with underpaid jobs, unrelated to their field of study. Employers should design benefit programs to support the needs of the older and younger workforce. With different generations now active in the workforce, and the fact that the definition of family is not what it once was with blended families. Overage dependents and same-sex domestic partners are now eligible for employer health care benefits. With change to the legislation child dependents have the option to remain on their parent’s medical plan up to age 26. The two groups has contributed to the continual growth in health care costs for employers, which in turn employers continue to increase the health care premiums. Prior to the ACA legislation, the maximum age for child dependents was 19 years of age and could remain on the medical, dental, and vision coverage up until 23 with documentation of full time student status. Also before the ACA, same-sex domestic partners were not eligible to enroll on the plan. Now same-sex domestic partners have to submit an Affidavit of Domestic Partnership to the benefits department upon enrolling in employer benefits. At Comcast Corporation, Biometric screening incentives have been extended to spouses and domestic...
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