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'Affordability Is A Huge Challenge': PeopleKeep's CEO On Health Care Benefits

'Affordability Is A Huge Challenge': PeopleKeep's CEO On Health Care Benefits

For those who are searching for a job in today’s market, finding a company with good benefits is one of the most important factors.

According to data from 2017 calculated by the United States Census Bureau, 8.8%, or 28.5 million, Americans did not have health insurance at any point during the year.

Companies like PeopleKeep are combating the coverage gap and ensuring everyone has the opportunity for the best benefits possible. Benzinga staff sat down with PeopleKeep CEO Victoria Hodgkins to discuss how the company is serving businesses and employees.

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HG: How does PeopleKeep establish trust between small businesses and their employees?

VH: PeopleKeep helps small businesses provide health care benefits to their employees when traditional group health insurance isn’t a good fit due to cost or complexity. In addition to caring about their employees, small businesses using a Health Reimbursement Arrangement are also empowering employees to think through their own health care cost priorities, such as buying a health insurance policy that works for them. With PeopleKeep, employees can easily use and track their benefits. Caring, independence and transparency build trust!

HG: In your opinion, what are the most important factors in high employee morale?

VH: Authentic leadership and open communication are two very important factors of high employee morale. At PeopleKeep, we are still small enough to hold weekly all company meetings where we talk about important goals for the week and how we’re going to achieve them. The leadership team is open when we don’t succeed and celebratory when we do.

HG: Who is PeopleKeep’s competition? Where do you see opportunities going in the next five years?

VH: Traditional group health insurance is our biggest competition. Many employers are more familiar with how it works and employees are accustomed to having their health care option selected for them. Most small- to medium-sized employers are not aware of their benefit options. Having been an early provider of health reimbursement arrangements, PeopleKeep has provided needed expertise and raised awareness, but we still have a long way to go.

More benefit options are good for employers and their people! Our opportunities moving forward will include offering additional health and non-health benefits.

HG: What challenges do businesses face when choosing coverage options?

VH: PeopleKeep has helped many businesses when traditional group health insurance isn’t a good fit due to cost or complexity. Often, small businesses are faced with unique challenges, such as having employees in multiple states, that make negotiating affordable rates for a group health insurance plan very difficult.

Smaller employers are knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, whether that’s construction, nonprofit, vision clinics, you name it. But they don’t usually have the bandwidth to become benefits experts, which also makes navigating and choosing coverage options challenging.

HG: How has coverage changed in the past decade? What do you plan to add to the improvements going forward?

VH: Affordability is a huge challenge in the U.S. health care system — both for employers and employees. PeopleKeep allows employers to select a benefits allowance that works with their own budget while also giving employees the chance to select a plan that works with their individual budgets and health care needs.

This year, we have expanded our product offering and launched our new Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA) benefit. With added HRAs, we hope to be able to help more businesses provide health benefits to their employees —especially employers with over 50 full-time employees. These businesses, considered “applicable large employers” under the ACA have been tied to group health insurance via the employer mandate in the past, limiting their health benefit choices.

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