How to Incorporate Economic Diversity into Benefit Plan Design | EBA


Ensuring that the benefits package attracts and retains all positions within an organization is part of our role as benefits advisors. This is also the primary concern of c-suites in a post-pandemic world. But most American companies are struggling to find help in the midst of the Great Resignation. That’s why it’s time to address financial inclusion and economic diversity in the design of employer-provided benefit plans.

Traditionally, most of us have only served those who choose benefit offerings, but we are missing an entire population that needs our help. They work, they qualify for Medicaid, but they don’t know it. They work, but don’t know about the free clinic around the corner. They work and they need help. People live paycheck to paycheckand often cannot enroll in the group medical plan, even when the employer pays most of the premium.

I’ve seen low income employees buy vision or dental because they’re ashamed that they can’t afford to buy medical coverage and they don’t want a recruiter to pass judgment and view them as unloving towards their family. When you focus on getting food on the table and keeping the lights on, medical care gets left behind. No one wants to hurt someone’s pride, so we need to present options that help and dignify them with these offerings.

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As brokers, it’s up to us to find the local food bank and share that information with those workers. Give them information about community programs and resources. Connect them with the state department of health services. Get out of the benefits we sell and be an advisor that brings value to everybody.

If we include all economic levels in the design of the benefits plan within an organization, we will gain unique insight into what employees value and need. Quality nutrition is usually a thing that comes back; it costs more to eat nutritious and fresh food. What resources can you find for your clients’ employees? Local produce can often be delivered at prices below grocery store prices.

Be aware of your offers. Do you put time-consuming wellness plans in place and expect them to be accomplished outside of work? Things like logging activities and remembering a password to earn extra money? How does this help a single mother with three children? She doesn’t have time for that. She does her homework, feeds her family and keeps a roof over her head, all while taking care of childcare so she can earn an income.

How does an advisor help in areas they are not trained in? Ask for help. Connect with your local politicians, collaborate with human resource managers in your community, reach out to health service providers. The more people you can involve and learn from, the more impact you will be able to have on those you serve. Look for healthcare collaborations in your communities.

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Intersectoral collaboration is essential to advancing health equity and creating community well-being. You can find the partners by networking and asking how they help those less fortunate. The convoy can only move at the speed of the slowest boat, so we need to take everyone we can with us on the path to health equity.

Benefit advisors help people on a daily basis. We provide care and compassion. When we work from a place of love, productivity increases. You experience less stress, fewer illnesses and less need for medication. Working in alignment with purpose actually contributes to your personal well-being as well as that of others. Including all economic levels in benefit design for organizations will reduce your health care needs, while serving more people.

The health equity mission is not just about doing the right thing and meeting a growing need in society. It’s also a great way to deepen your strategic connections with your customers and help satisfy the employee populations you serve.

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