Flexibility: Adapting Plan Designs to Your Clients Needs While Creating a Multi-Year Savings Strategy

November 9, 2021

A Recap of our October Webinar, Session 1: Healthy Habits & Health Insurance

Healthy Habits & Health Insurance webinar series

In the first webinar in our three-part series, Healthy Habits and Health Insurance, we explored how health plans can be designed in unique ways to create the best possible benefit for employees while also reducing cost for the employer.

Chris Calderone, CRO of The Difference Card, and Rosa Garcia Rinder, COO, used The Difference Card’s 2022 Health Insurance Renewal as a real-world example for how you can use an HSA + MERP strategy to create a multi-year savings solution. 

Below we recap the strategies discussed in the webinar. 

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Providing Employer Sponsored Health Insurance can create competing demands.

On one hand, Providing Employer Sponsored Health Insurance offers benefits such as:

  • Attracting and retaining employees
  • Access to quality care
  • Benefits that are representative of the brand

Yet these benefits can come with tough decisions, such as:

  • Cost containment issues
  • Budget constraints
  • Rising healthcare premiums
  • Increasing deductibles

“Three percent of Americans quit their job in August 2021. This is greater than any other month since the beginning of the Pandemic in January 2020. This is why benefit packages are so mission critical in being able to attract and retain employees. On the other hand, we have a responsibility to make sure we are doing so in a cost-effective way for the organization.” – Rosa Garcia Rinder, COO

When deciding which benefits to offer, it is important to think about it in terms of financial objectives and outcomes achieved. 

Current outcomes are not matching the employee’s investments. Employees are moving into Higher Deductible Health Plans, but the cash isn’t on hand for these high deductibles which creates additional constraints for our members.

Did you know?

  • 29% of Americans have skipped a prescription
  • 40% have skipped a medical procedure
  • Deductibles have increased 111%.
  • 40% of Americans cannot handle a $400 emergency
  • $300k is needed in retirement for medical expenses

Employers need a different strategy.

The Problem: Fully Insured Health Premiums Have Increased 160% in the Last 10 Years

There are a lot of solutions to address the problem, but the one we are going to focus on is the multi-year savings strategy using a Health Savings Account (HSA) plus Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP) Design. 

Within the case study below, we outline a multi-year strategy and its recipe for success using our Difference Card Health Insurance Renewal as an example.

The Solution: Using The Difference Card MERP Funding Solution


Case Study Year One 

The Funding Strategy: Increase Deductible with Full MERP Funding

The first thing you can do is to look to the funding strategy. There is always a higher deductible you can go to until you reach the ACA limit. Keep increasing the deductible to drive down the fixed premium.

The next strategy is the multi-year account strategy. In this strategy you introduce an HSA and MERP option. 

In our Case Study, The Difference Card introduced an HSA along with higher deductibles. We decided to make the benefits whole on the EPO Plan and contribute a portion to the HSA.  

As a result, we saw a $90,000 reduction on renewal versus current in 2020.

“That’s really the goal to deliver better benefits while lowering costs” – Chris Calderone, CRO

Case Study Year Two 

The Funding Strategy: Move the Entire Group to a High Deductible Health Plan.

In year two, we were able to deliver two different plan designs from one base option as a result of utilizing an HSA + MERP. 

Account Strategy: We were able to increase the HSA employer contribution and as a result we saw a 55% migration to this option.

As a result of implementing this strategy, we saw a $170,000 net reduction on renewal versus current.

Watch the full webinar here to get more details on how to implement this solution for your employees or clients. 


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Difference Card Webinar for Healthy Habits & Health Insurance

Part Two in our Healthy Habits and Health Insurance Webinar Series

November will focus on Account Strategies to Close More Deals with The Difference Card

Join Chris Calderone as he explains how we were able to improve employee benefits for Difference Card employees while reducing the health insurance renewal down from +12% to -3%.  

Dan Marut, DMD, will also join us to review a case study of how the Difference Card saved -20% off our Cigna Dental Plan by implementing the Dental Difference self-funded dental solution.

The first 100 registrants will receive a complimentary wellness care package to be used in the Healthy Harvest Salad Meal Prep session hosted by Difference Card Wellness Manager, Stephanie Schmeltzer. 

Reserve your seat today: 

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Interested in learning more about The Difference Card? Find a consultant in your region or request a proposal today.

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