5 Steps to Benefits on a Budget

Whether you have offered insurance to your employees for years or are just considering it for the first time, the cost and administration of these benefits can cause many headaches and sleepless nights. The complexity and costs continue to rise as a new generation enters the workforce and older generations remain.  Here are some tips to modernize your benefit package while remaining budget conscious:

  1. Defined Contribution—consider putting a limit on what you contribute toward your employees’ plans based on a dollar amount or what your budget can afford. For example, you can allow up to $200, or $300, or more dollars for your employees to use toward any or all benefits (no cash value). Each year you can budget an increase based on the dollar amount, regardless of how much the insurance policy increase. This helps take some of the pressure out of choosing the right insurance plan each year and the fear of your rates skyrocketing.
  2. Multiple Plans and/or Multiple Carriers—along with the defined contribution approach above, consider offering a range of plans from low copays to high deductibles. Take it a step further an offer a 2nd carrier with similar options so that your employees can broaden their access to different doctors. We recommend 3 options from each carrier. The “defined contribution” becomes the “gift card” that you provide to your employees to go as credit toward their “menu” of insurance options. If they choose to upgrade, they just pay the difference.
  3. Ancillary Plans—generally these refer to anything that isn’t a core medical insurance benefit like Dental, Vision, Life, Accident, and so much more. By offering a breadth of supporting benefits, you have designed a more complete menu that allows for mass customization by your employees. You can have a separate contribution for these benefits, or just make some or all of them completely voluntary. Ancillary benefits are the key to a modern benefit package.
  4. Spring for Low-Cost but High-Value policies—most employers are surprised by how inexpensive a group life insurance or disability plan costs. You can give a big boost to recruitment and retention efforts by including these for free. Think of them as the chips and salsa on your menu.
  5. Presentation is Everything—if you’ve gotten this far, you are probably shaking your head and thinking of a million reasons why the above steps will make your life more difficult. However, a modern benefit package now requires an easy-to-use web-based open enrollment platform. Any good platform can easily organize as many benefits as you like in an easy to read menu format. The ease of enrollment will make you and your employees happy. Most good payroll companies and insurance brokers will offer you a tested platform for free—I know we do!!

Imagine how the “gift card and menu” approach will work with your employees and let our team of servers and chefs do all the hard work. Spend your time working with the Executive Chef adding fun things to the menu and not stressing over the price of hog futures.


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509 Bush Street
Woodland, CA 95695




CA # 0B48084 

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