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Amid the rising cost of health care and current labor challenges, employers are increasingly investing in employee health and well-being as an essential part of their workforce strategy. Many organizations see a strong connection between employee health and well-being and their overall business performance. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that employers are now investing in on-site health care to reign in medical costs and improve employee wellness.
What Is On-site Health Care?
On-site health care refers to employers bringing medical services directly to their employees by establishing health care centers at or near the workplace. On-site health care can provide a full range of services, including advanced primary care, chronic condition management, physical therapy, wellness coaching and behavioral and mental health support. It can also provide increased efficiency for routine services, such as wellness visits and blood draws, by reducing travel and wait times.
Many organizations, especially smaller ones, are unable to provide full-range on-site health care. These organizations, however, are making on-site health care services available to their employees by providing access to telehealth and offering routine or tailored services within the workplace. This allows even smaller organizations to better and more efficiently focus on employee well-being while addressing their rising health care expenses.
Why Organizations Invest in On-site Health Care
On-site health care attempts to remove employee barriers related to accessing high-quality health care. By eliminating scheduling, transportation and child care challenges, employees are more likely to utilize health care services, helping them to improve their health and organizations to reduce their overall health care expenses. Unlike traditional, one-size-fits-all approaches to health care, on-site health care allows employers to customize services to fit their employees’ needs, thereby providing benefits employees will utilize while also reducing expenses.
Benefits of On-site Health Care
On-site health care can help employers deliver high-quality health care to their employees while minimizing overall medical expenses. For many organizations, it can offer measurable health improvements for their workforce and provide a way to stand out among their competitors.
The benefits of investing in on-site health care may include:
- Convenient access to health care—On-site care tends to remove barriers that may prevent employees from seeking medical care and treatment. For example, employees do not need to take time off from work, travel or wait for open appointments with on-site health care. On-site providers primarily serve the employer and, as a result, see few patients. Employees can often schedule same- or next-day appointments, ensuring they receive prompt care. With fewer patients, providers can spend more time with individuals to better understand their needs. On-site health care centers may also dispense medications and perform lab work, allowing employees to save time by not having to travel to a pharmacy or testing center.
- Talent attraction and retention—On-site health care can give organizations a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining skilled workers. Employees generally rate on-site health care as a top benefit, so employers providing this service may see an increase in employee satisfaction and higher retention rates. Moreover, employers who invest in on-site health care send a strong message to employees and potential employees that they value employee health and well-being and are committed to supporting their workers.
- Improved understanding of employees’ health needs—On-site health care allows employers to be better informed about their employees’ medical needs. With traditional health care, workers generally see a variety of providers scattered throughout multiple facilities, whereas on-site health care providers typically serve a single employer. These providers tend to be embedded in a workplace’s culture, allowing them to better understand an organization’s employees and their unique needs. This understanding lets providers and employers offer more focused solutions. Providers can actively monitor employees, address real-time needs, optimize health care services and personalize employee outreach.
Deciding to Invest in On-site Health Care
Bringing health care services on-site has helped employers reduce their rising health care expenses and limit the time employees spend out of the office to visit the doctor; however, organizations need to weigh the costs and benefits of investing in on-site health care. On-site health care centers are a major investment, and employers may not see a return on this investment for many years.
For most organizations, providing full-range on-site health care is not feasible. However, as a result of flexible and innovative health care offerings, on-site health care is becoming more available to all organizations through outsourced services. For example, some employers are providing on-site health care services in the form of routine or tailored offerings, such wellness visits, preventive screenings, health coaching and lab work. Some employers are partnering with other organizations in shared health care centers to reduce expenses. Additionally, telehealth allows employers of all sizes to expand care options and improve employee health outcomes with convenient access. This allows organizations to focus on employee health and well-being, giving them an edge over their competitors.
Employee wellness is typically the foundation of any successful organization. Many employers are now taking a more active role in supporting the overall health and well-being of their employees. Finding innovative ways to keep employees healthy while reducing medical expenses is critical to an organization’s long-term success. For some employers, providing on-site health care may be one of the best ways to accomplish this feat.
For more health care resources, contact RISQ Consulting today.
Proposed changes to the ACA premium-tax credits could offer relief to families hurt by the “ACA Glitch”
By Ashley Snodgrass, Employee Benefits Analyst
When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed to become a law, premium tax credits or subsidies were created to allow the government to pay a portion of individual marketplace premiums for those enrolling in the marketplace. The purpose is to fulfil the mission of the Affordable Care Act by making insurance more affordable and accessible.
What is the “ACA Glitch”? Employer-sponsored coverage plays an important role here. When employers are determining how much employees will pay for their insurance, large employers are required to make coverage Affordable by Federal standards, or potentially face a penalty. When an employer offers Affordable coverage to employees, those employees are not able to receive a subsidy for individual coverage (in theory, because the employee already has an Affordable offer of coverage available to them).
However, what happens with individuals with family members? Herein lies the crux of the “ACA Glitch”. Let’s say an employer allows employees to enroll their spouses/domestic partners and children in a group health plan. What if the cost of the coverage offered to dependents is really high? There are no requirements surrounding how much of family insurance costs employers are required to pay vs. how much of the cost is passed on to employees and their dependents. By allowing employees to enroll their spouse/domestic partner and children in the health plan, those dependents are now ineligible for subsidies, even if the employer-sponsored coverage it is not affordable. In order to qualify for a subsidy, an individual must not have an employer plan available to them.
Proposed changes aim to fix this glitch by making family members of employees who are offered affordable employee-only coverage, but unaffordable family coverage, able to receive premium tax credits to afford coverage on the individual market.
We have yet to see if and how employers will be impacted by this change. The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service are working on finalizing rules.
IRS & Treasury Rule: https://public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2022-07158.pdf
About the Family Glitch (2021): https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/forefront.20210520.564880/
About the Family Glitch (2022): https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/payers/biden-administration-releases-proposed-rule-fix-longtime-aca-family-glitch