Employee HealthCare Program
A comprehensive benefit program for employees of a company would include all of the following elements:
A choice of health care options for employees and their family members. This would include access to one or more Health Maintenance or Preferred Provider Organization programs.
An option under which an employee that opted out of the company’s health care program would be given a monthly cash incentive instead.
A dental care program for the employee and family members
Short term disability insurance coverage.
Long term disability insurance coverage.
The opportunity to participate in a qualified retirement savings plan, such as a 401[k], or a 403[b] plan.
An opportunity to purchase shares of company stock under a stock option program.
The chance to contribute to a non-qualified deferred compensation plan.
The opportunity to contribute money on a pre-tax basis to a flexible spending account.
Leo Jakobson and Jeanie Casison writing in Incentive explain that many companies are cutting back on stock options, at least among middle managers and workers. Reporting on a recent survey of 336 companies, the authors report that the number of lower-level employees receiving stock options dropped from 37 percent in 2002 to 27 percent in 2003 (Jakobson, Casison, 9).
Employers have a number of decisions to make with respect to these benefit programs. For example, relating to the health, dental and vision insurance, one question is how much of the total cost for the employee’s benefits and the employee’s dependents’ the employee will be required to contribute – and how much of the monthly premium the employer will pay. The same applies to short term and long-term disability insurance programs. According to an article in HR Focus, in a recent survey of 347 employers, 80% were considering employee cost sharing as a way to deal with health cost increases. Cost-sharing strategies m