2020-09-16 【文章分享】Planning 2021 Benefits Changes for the COVID-19 Era (2021年 Covid-19 疫情下的員工福利變革展望)

Planning employee benefits for the 2021 plan year presents HR with unique challenges, given that the outlook for the COVID-19 pandemic is still unknown. As employers await word on health plan costs for next year, which insurers usually provide in November, they must decide how to allocate benefits budgets, choose which benefits programs to offer and figure out how to communicate changes to employees.

 

在COVID-19疫情仍充滿變數的情況下,2021年的員工福利規劃,對人力資源部門是格外挑戰!一般而言,保險公司會在11月份建議下一年度的保險方案,但是企業必須決定如何配置保險福利預算、選擇何種保險福利方案,以及思考如何向員工溝通保險方案的改變。

 

Short-Term Gains, Long-Term Pain? 企業保險福利是短多還是長空?

 

"Most employers are experiencing short-term gains in their health plans," said Kelly Conlin, a principal with benefits consulting firm Buck in Philadelphia. That's because some individuals' decisions to defer or cancel elective care lowered spending in 2020, more than offsetting added health care expenses for COVID-19 testing and treatment. However, employers cannot afford to be complacent about health care costs going into 2021.

 

位於費城的Buck管理顧問公司顧問Kelly Conlin表示:「大多數的企業正從健康保險計畫中,獲取短期利益。」主要是因為部分企業員工希望在2020年先遞延或取消醫療照護的花費,並將這筆支出用在可能產生的COVID-19檢測或治療費用。然而,企業不應該對健康保險成本下降而自滿,因為這筆健康照護的保險成本,可能僅是延遲到2021年才發生而已。

 

An increase in demand for delayed procedures and continuing care related to COVID-19 is likely to drive health care costs higher next year, Conlin and other experts said.

 

Conlin和其他專家指出,由於疫情而延緩某些醫療花費,以及對COVID-19醫療照護需求的逐漸增加,可能導致企業在明年會產生更高的健康保險費用。

 

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to surge in many states, "many employers are going to make changes to benefits as a result," said Dani Macauley, a senior vice president with consultancy Aon Hewitt in Denver.

 

怡安保險顧問集團丹佛分公司資深副總裁Dani Macauley也提到:「隨著COVID-19疫情在全美各州持續蔓延,導致許多企業必須在員工福利做出改變」。

 

Although 37 percent of employers do not anticipate adjusting benefits for 2021, 48 percent are still monitoring the situation, according to a June 2020 survey of 505 employers conducted by benefits consulting firm Mercer.

 

根據美世管理顧問公司在2020年6月,針對505家企業的調查,儘管有37%的企業不打算在2021年調整員工福利,但有48%的企業正密切關注這個議題。

 

Twelve percent of respondents expect they will have to take moderate cost-saving measures while another 3 percent anticipate taking significant measures, the survey showed.

 

美世管理顧問公司的這份調查也顯示,12%的企業預期將採取適度的福利成本節省措施,另有3%的企業預期會採取較大幅度的福利調整措施。

 

Potential Changes 潛在的改變

 

Among the most common changes companies are considering, Mercer found, are:

●        Expanding virtual or telehealth programs (32 percent).

●        Enhancing mental health support, such as employee assistance programs or additional services (25 percent).

●        Increasing cost-sharing for plan expenses such as deductibles, premiums or co-payments (20 percent).

●        Adding or expanding voluntary benefits (16.5 percent).

●        Augmenting services for managing high-cost claims, including specialty pharmacy claims (13.5 percent).

 

美世管理顧問公司發現,大多數公司考慮要調整的部分是:

●        擴大虛擬或是遠距醫療系統 (32%)

●        加強心理健康支持,例如:員工協助方案或是額外的服務(25 %)

●        增加計畫費用的成本分攤,例如:自負額、每月保費或是部分負擔(20%)

●        增加或是擴大自選式保險 (任意保險/員工自行選擇保險方案)(16.5 %)

●        擴充高額理賠協助服務,包含特殊醫療理賠 (13.5%)

 

Separately, employers may need to reduce their retirement plan contributions for 2021, both matching and discretionary amounts, depending on how the economy performs through the rest of this year. As plan sponsors and fiduciaries, employers should always explain to employees what's changing and why these actions are necessary to keep the business afloat.

 

另外,雇主在2021年也可能需要降低退休金提撥額,其中包含相對提撥和自行提撥的金額,這將取決於今年年底前的經濟表現。身為保險計劃的發起人及受託人,雇主應該隨時向員工說明保險內容修改的部分,以及這些改變對維持企業運轉的必要性。

 

Stressful Times 高壓時刻

 

Not all of these changes are necessarily bad news. Adding or enhancing access to telehealth and mental health care could be welcome moves by employees and their families, who may be struggling to maintain their physical and mental health during a stressful time. This is especially true if some level of social distancing continues to be necessary.

 

並非所有的改變都是壞消息,增加或擴大遠距醫療及心理健康照護系統,可能會是受到員工及其家人歡迎的改變,他們或許正處在一個高壓時期,努力的設法維持他們的身心健康。如果必須保持社交距離的情況繼續下去的話,這些服務就更有實質上的需要。

 

Employers with employee assistance programs (EAPs) or other similar programs can also take this opportunity to make sure employees know about the types of support these offerings can provide.

 

公司也可以利用這個機會,讓員工知道雇主所提供的員工協助計畫(EAPs)或是其他類似的計畫,可以提供那些服務和支援。

 

"There is a huge concern about employees' mental health during the pandemic, especially people living alone," said LoriAnn Penman, SHRM-SCP, director of human resources at TTC Inc., a technology firm with 130 employees based in Hampton, Va. She plans to emphasize what the company's EAP offers to employees in support of their mental health, financial stability and other concerns.

 

位於美國維吉尼亞州漢普頓市,雇用130名員工的TTC科技公司人力資源總監LoriAnn Penman表示:「在這次疫情大流行中,公司會特別關注員工的心理健康,尤其是獨居的員工」她打算在公司內加強宣導,強調公司的員工協助方案可以提供員工心理健康、財務穩定及其他方面的協助。

 

"People tend to be familiar with the term 'EAP,' but they don't know how to use it," Penman said. Her focus will be on communicating what the EAP covers and the depth of resources it offers.

 

Penman也提到:『人們通常會知道EAP這個名詞,但他們並不知道如何利用它。』因此Penman的重點會擺在溝通EAP所涵蓋的範圍,以及它所能提供的資源。

 

Voluntary Benefits 自選式保險

 

By adding or expanding voluntary benefits programs, which provide group rates for insurance that employees pay for themselves, employers can provide ways for employees to bolster their health care coverage with, for example, hospital indemnity and critical illness coverage.

 

藉由增加或擴展自選式保險的項目,可以以團體保險的費率來承保員工自費的保險項目,雇主可以透過許多方式加強員工的保險涵蓋範圍,例如:增加住院理賠以及重大疾病保險。

 

However, if employers are going to add voluntary benefits programs to help employees enhance coverage in specific areas, they must take the time to understand the products and how they can help employees meet their insurance coverage needs. "The critical success factor for voluntary benefits is a clear explanation of these plans and how they work," said Howard Gerver, president of consulting firm HR Best Practices in Franklin Lakes, N.J. "If employees are paying X amount for coverage, what will they get for that money?"

 

如果雇主想要增加自選式保險並提升員工在特定項目的保障,雇主必須充份了解保險產品以及協助員工得到他們所希望的保險範圍。位於紐澤西州富蘭克林湖市的HR Best Practices顧問公司總經理Howard Gerver指出:「自選式保險的關鍵成功因素在於清楚的解釋保險計劃的內容及其運作方式,如果員工付了某個金額的保費,他們會得到什麼保障。」

 

It is also important for employers to consider how voluntary benefits are structured. "There are elements of voluntary benefits design that are not modern," Macauley said. "Some of these products were designed for workforces of the past." For example, employees may not realize that critical care insurance does not always provide coverage for every illness, including COVID-19. In addition, an employee's spouse or family members may not be eligible for the same coverage provided to the employee.

 

雇主必須考慮自選式保險的內容,這是非常重要的,Macauley表示:「自選式保險有許多內容的設計並沒有跟上時代,有些產品是針對過去的勞工設計的。」例如:很多員工可能不了解重大疾病保險並不包括所有的疾病,新冠肺炎就是其中之一。此外,員工的配偶或家人可能也不在保險承保範圍內。

 

To address these issues, Macauley recommended that employers:

 

為了解決上述的問題,Macauley建議雇主可以做到以下兩點:

 

■     Work with carriers to offer benefit designs that mesh with the reality of employees’ lives and circumstances."Employers often have a 'set it and forget it' mindset when it comes to voluntary benefits," Macauley said. In this environment, it should be "don't set it if you're going to forget it."

■     Offer new ways for employees to leverage their existing benefits.For example, technology startup PTO Genius in Miami now allows its 11 employees to take up to 70 percent of their paid vacation time in cash if they choose. "This provides a source of funds if something comes up and employees need money," said co-founder Adam Gordon.

■     與保險公司合作,提供一個更符合員工現時生活和實際情況的保險組合。Macauley提到:雇主對於自選式保險經常有一種「買了就忘了」的心態,因此,如果雇主不時常關注保險內容的話,那就不要做這樣的安排。

■     提供新的方式讓現有保險的效益最大化。例如:邁阿密的科技新創公司PTO Genius允許公司內的11名員工,可以選擇將70%的有薪特休假轉換成現金。該公司的共同創辦人Adam Gordon認為:「員工如果需要現金的時候,公司的這項政策就可以成為他們的現金來源。」

 

Handle with Care 小心處理!

 

The elephant in the room for 2021 is core health insurance coverage. Employers may face hard choices when it comes to which health plans to offer and how to structure cost-sharing.

 

2021年大家不願意提及的話題就是健康保險的內容。雇主可能面臨的難題是該選擇提供哪一種保障內容以及如何分攤成本。

 

"Employers may need to offer skinnier plans just to tread water," Gerver said. These employers can offer a basic plan to all employees with opportunities to "buy up" additional coverage.

 

Gerver說:「雇主可能傾向維持現狀。」這些雇主可以在提供基本的健康保障方案給所有員工的同時,也讓員工自費投保某些額外保險項目。

 

"Communication about these options should be crystal clear," he said. "Employees need to understand what they are buying and the risks of doing so."

 

Gerver也說:「雇主必須清楚的溝通各種不同健康保險方案,員工也必須自己是買了什麼樣的保險,以及這麼做會有什麼風險。」

 

Not surprisingly, making health plan changes is something employers should handle with care. Penman remembers the reaction when one company she worked for switched to a health plan with a narrower provider network. "The feedback was horrible," she recalled. "Although the plan was a lot cheaper for employees, those employees didn't see the change as being to their benefit at all."

 

毫無意外地,改變健康保險方案是雇主必須小心處理的議題。Penman還記得她曾服務過的公司在改變健康保險方案時員工的反應,她記憶猶新地說:「反應非常糟糕!」雖然新方案的保費便宜很多,員工完全不覺得對他們有任何好處。

 

If employers have no choice but to move ahead with coverage changes, they should be upfront about why they are necessary. "Open and transparent communication about the impact of the pandemic on the business can help set the stage for communicating about increased costs, reduced choice and new requirements," Conlin said.

 

如雇主無可避免必須調整保險內容,那麼他們就需要公開說明為什麼要做這些改變。Conlin說:「公開透明的溝通疫情對營運帶來的衝擊,有助於進一步與員工溝通增加的成本、較少的選項以及新的要求。」

 

Looking Ahead 展望未來

 

With the pandemic's ongoing threat to individuals' long-term health and financial well-being, employers need to engage employees in benefits decision making as much as possible, because the decisions employees make for the 2021 benefits plan year could be more critical than ever.

 

為了因應疫情持續對個人長期健康和經濟狀況所造成的威脅,雇主在2021年的福利計畫,對員工來說將比過去都更為重要;因此,雇主應盡可能讓員工參與福利計畫的決策。

 

Get employees to pay attention to benefits, Gerver advised. "If there was ever a time to knock people over the head with a proverbial 2x4, it is now."

 

Gerver建議:「如果要讓員工清楚了解公司的福利計劃,現在就是最好的時機!」

 

More Would Sacrifice Pay for Better Benefits 選擇保險福利優先於薪資

 

Even before the pandemic struck, a growing number of U.S. employees were willing to give up additional pay in exchange for more-generous benefits.

 

即使在疫情爆發前,美國的上班族就已經逐漸有愈來愈多的趨勢,願意放棄額外的薪資,而選擇比較優惠的福利。

 

The 2019/2020 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey by HR consultancy Willis Towers Watson, based on responses from 8,000 U.S. workers polled at the end of last year, found that 37 percent of employees would rather receive more-substantial benefits than additional salary/wages or bonuses. In addition.

 

一份由WTW(韋萊韜悅)顧問公司在2019年底,調查8000位美國員工後所提出的2019/2020年度全球福利意願報告,指出37%的員工更願意選擇實質的福利,而優先於額外的薪酬。

 

57 percent said their benefits package is more important to them than ever before, driven largely by their desire for greater security.

 

57%的受訪者表示,對他們來說,比起過去,現在更好的福利帶來的安全感更為重要。

 

42 percent would sacrifice additional pay each month for a more expansive health benefit plan, a sharp increase from 27 percent in 2013.

 

42% 的受訪者願意每個月犧牲額外的薪酬,換取一個較昂貴的健康保險計畫,比起2013年的調查,顯著增加27%。

 

"Employees of all ages want more security, and getting benefits through their employer is an important way to obtain it," said Steve Nyce, senior economist at Willis Towers Watson.

 

WTW的資深經濟專家Steve Nyce解釋:「不分年齡,員工期待更多的安全感,透過雇主來獲得這些保障是一種很重要的方式。」

 

Among other survey results:

 

Benefits found lacking. Only 40 percent of employees feel the resources their employer provides to support their health and well-being meet their needs. Even fewer (32 percent) say the resources to help manage their finances meet their needs.

 

While 70 percent of all employees surveyed say their health care benefits meet their needs, that figure drops to 56 percent among respondents who are in poor physical and mental health.

 

其他調查報告結果:

 

福利是不足的。只有40%的員工認為公司對於健康和福祉所提供的資源和支持,符合他們的需求,甚至只有32%的員工認為雇主所提供的福利計劃,能夠符合員工管理自己的財務規劃之所需。

 

另外,有70%受調查的員工表示,他們目前的健康照顧福利符合他們的需求。然而,這個數字在身心健康欠佳的受調者群組中,大幅下降到56%。

 

Meaningful choice wanted. Nearly two-thirds of employees (64 percent) prefer a moderate number of benefits choices, an indication that they are happy to choose their benefits but having too many options can be confusing.

 

"Employees want benefits packages that meet their specific needs but don't overwhelm them with too many options," said Jennifer DeMeo, senior director for retirement at Willis Towers Watson. "While this balance may be tricky, employers can help employees by offering education, communication and decision-support tools."

 

有意義的選項是需要的!將近三分之二的員工(64%) 期望有足夠的福利選項可以選擇, 數據顯示他們很樂於做選擇,但太多的選項則會令人困惑。WTW 退休管理資深主管Jennifer DeMeo說明:「員工希望有足夠的福利方案,可以依據他們特定的需求做選擇,但要避免過多的選項讓他們招架不住。」Jennifer也說:「當然這種平衡的拿捏是很棘手的,但雇主可以提供相關的訓練、溝通或有利於決策的工具來協助員工」

 

Added Nyce: "They also want choice and personalization and are looking to their employers to provide tools to ensure they make good decisions on issues that are often quite complex."

 

Nyce也補充說明:「員工也希望有選擇、有個人差異化,並期待雇主提供協助,以確保員工在這些通常是複雜的議題上,做出好的決定。」

 

 

 

指導顧問:劉文章常務顧問

翻譯者:王程皓委員、忻維冰委員、張素徵委員、陳道文委員、温健宏委員

文章來源:SHRM - Planning 2021 Benefits Changes for the COVID-19 Era


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