May 19, 2020

How to Manage Health Insurance as an Employer

Health Insurance
employee wellness schemes
Affordable Care Act
Jabong world
3 min
How to Manage Health Insurance as an Employer

Employers are often in a tough position of deciding how to provide good benefits to employees while keeping costs under control.

One area where that is a particular struggle is in offering health insurance. This is an expense that only seems to increase over time, but a benefit that most employees want and expect.

Higher Prices on the Way

According to the article, “Health Insurance Premiums Likely to Rise in 2015”, many insurance providers are expected to raise their prices. This doesn't come as much of a surprise to most managers. It does fuel their concerns on how to continue to offer the benefit to employees while staying within budget.

With the Affordable Care Act, most businesses don't have a choice about whether to offer health insurance, so it is up to them on how to fit it in the budget. Many managers are already crunching the numbers and looking at options.

Cutting Costs or Benefits

Management has very few options for dealing with the rising costs. According to analysts, more companies are pushing the cost of health insurance onto employees. Increasing employee contributions is one option, which 18 percent of companies planned to do for 2014 with more expected to move in that direction for 2015.

In fact, nearly half of employers expect to increase the deductibles or copayments in the plans they choose to lessen the cost of coverage. The issue for management becomes how they are going to sell these changes to the employees.

Requiring employees to contribute more is not without its consequences. Most employees are not happy with the increase of health insurance costs for them, especially when they have had to contribute very little in the past.

Creative Solutions

Managers must find creative ways to get employees on board with the changes. They may offer rewards for employees who participate in wellness programs. They can also provide free health screenings with employees that do well receiving a deduction in health coverage costs.

Another option is to offer a health savings plan where employees can put pre-tax dollars to help cover the cost of the premiums and deductibles. Some employers even contribute to the plan. In fact, one study showed that 66 percent of employers surveyed planned to offer this type of benefit to workers.

Employers can also look at changing the type of coverage they offer. The most popular health insurance is the PPO or preferred provider network. However, it is also one of the most expensive. Switching to an HMO can be more affordable to both employer and employee.

Managers can offer both options to employees, letting them know they will be paying more for the PPO coverage. This allows the employee to decide whether coverage or cost is more important.

Managing the costs of health insurance benefits is an ongoing task for many managers. It is often challenging to balance budgeting concerns with worries over employee response. By being creative with your solution, you can meet the challenges and keep employees satisfied with their benefits package.

Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including human resources and health insurance.


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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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