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Debbie McNamara

John needs new glasses. Mary has a lot of prescription medications to buy. Eric needs an expensive root canal and Christie loves getting massage therapy. With so many employees, all with different wants, needs, and health priorities, how can employers truly offer the insurance coverage that employees want?

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When you use a traditional one-size-fits-all group health benefits plan, you won’t be able to please everyone. And as a result, you may not gain all of the advantages of offering health insurance, like improved talent attraction, employee retention, morale, and productivity.

You need more variety. You need more flexibility in order to meet the diverse need of your employees. In order to give your workers more say in what benefits they have and how they’re used, here are a few plans to consider.

Flex Benefits

Flex benefits allow employees pick and choose the benefits that they want. The plan is structured like a menu, with flex dollars that can be spent on a variety of options. This type of à la carte insurance coverage can help you meet all of your employees’ health needs. However, it’s important to note that the administrative time and costs are higher with this type of plan.

Voluntary Benefits

Want to offer the insurance coverage your employees need, without paying an arm and a leg? Offer voluntary benefits. Like flex plans, your workers can select from a range of benefits options. However, the difference with voluntary benefits is that employees pay some, or all, of the premiums. You can offer this insurance coverage at little or no cost, while allowing a wider range of options.

Health Spending Accounts

A health spending account (HSA) may just be the best health plan that you’ve never heard of. With this type of plan, you put a pre-determined amount in each employee’s HSA, and those employees can choose to spend them on any health category of their choosing. You get to choose how much or how little you add to the accounts. The administrative costs with health spending accounts are typically much lower than with a traditional plan, far more health categories are covered, and you can deduct 100% of costs as business expenses. HSAs are good for your employees and good for your business.

High-Deductible Health Plans

Though high-deductible health plans don’t offer the flexibility that your employees need per se, they do offer significantly lower premiums as well as catastrophic coverage. In order to add more choice and flexibility, pair a high-deductible health plan with flex benefits, voluntary benefits, or an HSA with the savings you realize from the lower premiums.


A core plan allows you to maintain a traditional health benefits plan for basic coverage, while the add-ons help you add more choice and flexibility. The core plan would be mandatory, and the add-ons would be voluntary. Employees can choose to pay for additional types of coverage as they see fit.

Not Sure Which Option to Choose?  

Large, mid-sized, and small businesses alike have options when it comes to offering employees health benefits with more flexibility in order to ensure that their employee populations’ diverse health needs are met. However, with more options comes a more difficult choice. How do you know which insurance coverage is best for your employees, your company, and your bottom line?

If you’re not sure which health benefits plan to choose, consider engaging a full-service benefits specialist firm. The firm’s impartial and independent benefits experts understand the health insurance world inside and out. They know all of the plans that are available to you as well as their advantages and disadvantages. They can help explain the different plans to you in simple-to-understand terms. They will get to know your budget and goals as well as your employees’ needs and find the right plan for your business. They’ll be with you every step of the way, so you can make the most informed decisions.


Debbie McNamara

Debbie is the perfect fit for business owners and employers, providing a great resource to those looking to retain and engage employees. Employee Benefits Consultant is her official title, but what she really offers is a business administration education, an LLQP certification, 20 years of professional experience in upper management, and an understanding of the needs and challenges facing both employers and employees. Off the clock, Debbie takes great pride in giving back to her community as an active member on a number of volunteer boards. With whatever extra time is left over, she can be found fulfilling a lifetime commitment to health and fitness by participating in individual sports such as running and CrossFit, as well as a variety of team sports including softball, indoor soccer, and volleyball.
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