How the Pandemic is Changing Benefits Plans, for the Better

group insurance plans

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed massive changes to the workforce, to industries, the economy, and to the health of millions of people.  Managers of health benefits plans were already making changes before the pandemic arrived, but the crisis has accelerated the change and resulted in major shifts in their thinking. 

Plan members have increased their use of their benefits for prescription drugs, mental health services, home care and health issues exacerbated by COVID-19, or because surgeries were put on hold in 2020.  Plan managers now look at shifting costs rather than reducing them.  A global health crisis has meant a big re-think on how best to serve plan members, and the word which sums it up is:  CUSTOMIZATION.  To do this efficiently means using health spending and personal spending accounts. 

Let’s look at customization for mental health support. When COVID-19 arrived and many businesses and companies went into lockdown, many plan members were asked to work from home, and this had huge implications for their health and mental health. The spike in mental health issues shone a spotlight on how important it is for plan managers to take seriously increasing mental health support, education, and customization.  Some members would benefit from virtual care including internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy while others need face to face counseling. Some need to add exercise into their lifestyle and/or dietary changes as well to improve their mental health. Supporting mental health can look very different for people who might need a gym membership, a naturopath, or a psychiatrist, or all three,  to help them restore their mental health.

The pandemic also revealed that even in shutdowns, employees continued to need access to dental and paramedical services.  But many of those were also shut down for a period of time except to deal with emergencies. Plan members might be more likely now to appreciate their benefits plans and less likely to take them for granted.

Benefits plan managers will be mining the data from 2020 to assist them with making the right changes to their plans as the pandemic will still be a reality through 2021. 

At Health Risk Services, we work with plan managers to understand the data and what it means for their plans. In particular, we have expertise in crafting robust health spending accounts and personal spending accounts to accompany their traditional plans, including prescription drug plans.

We would like you to know more about how Health Risk Services can assist you with a 2021 plan to increase flexibility for your members, so please schedule a Complimentary Consultation with us.

At Health Risk Services we will Empathize, Educate, and Empower you and your team into 2021! 

To schedule your Complimentary Consultation with Health Risk Services, please call 403-236-9430 OR email: [email protected]