I think large companies have looked at the total employee compensation and benefits package more than the mid to small companies. Typically, small to midsize companies silo out the employee benefits for medical, dental and vision, and look at those as one benefit or one item that they need to offer at a certain level. Then there is the salary. They need to be looking at the total package together. I think large employers look at the total package. They issue total compensation statements that show the salary, such as $100,000 for example, bonus, paid time off and amount the employer is paying for medical dental and vision. It is important to continue the same line of thinking in the small to midsize companies as well as in the large. It is crucial not to silo out the employee benefits package as one thing.
I think health care reform, even though it can be somewhat of a pain, is also offering a lot more options for employers that they may have never even considered. Benefits are important. They ensure that employers are competitive. I think educating employees about this post-health care reform world that we are in now is important. It is important to let them know of their options as an individual because now there is no pre-existing condition exclusion. Employees can get coverage without any issue. An option may be to increase the salary and educate them on the options that are available through the exchange, or to offer them a higher deductible plan, for example, in order to still offer coverage but enable them to still go to the exchange if they prefer that a different option be made available to them. They are not going to be denied. I think health care reform is actually opening up more opportunities than some employers may think.
We can help the small to midsize employer because we sit with them, come up with a strategic plan, make sure they fully understand health care reform and how it impacts their company, because how it impacts one company is different from how it impacts another, and incorporate that information in our decision about what we want to include in our strategic plan for their employee benefits package.