Inflation has touched us all in one way or another. Whether you’re a financial news nerd studying the headlines every day or you’re just peeved about the cost of a gallon of milk, you’re undoubtedly aware of the problems of inflation.
And all of this was only heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Inflation rose steadily throughout 2021 as supply couldn’t always match customer demand on everything from gas to housing to healthcare. No, healthcare costs aren’t immune to the impact of inflation — nor should those costs force patients to pinch their pennies to afford care.
Unfortunately, far too many employers provide their teams with one-size-fits-all benefits packages. This approach provides relief to some but leaves others among the 50% of Americans mired in medical debt. In any event, inflation will rear its head and impact employees in a variety of ways. The most proactive HR strategy your department can take is to be aware of what kind of fallout your employees might experience.
Stopping Inflation Problems Before They Spiral Out of Control
With inflation hitting record highs not seen since the 1980s, your employees will inevitably struggle. Inflation might be weighing down your team if you’re getting more questions about:
1. Salary adjustments.It’s natural for workers to have questions about their weekly and yearly take-home pay. They want their paychecks to align with their output.
But inflation adds an interesting wrinkle to this situation. Even if their performance remains consistent or exceeds previously established standards, inflation can cause their expenses to swell in a hurry. The food they pack in their lunches costs more, the gas they use to get to the office costs more, and the clothes on their backs cost more.
Inflation makes it more challenging for employees to make ends meet — and the first place they’ll look for answers is their salaries. While you might not be able to raise their wages to keep pace with inflation, you can offer other benefits that help offset these rising costs.
2. Inadequate health benefits. It’s not usually obvious your health benefits are lacking until it’s too late. A hospital or urgent care bill hits an employee’s inbox, and it’s quite a bit more than they anticipated.
Immediately, those employees turn their attention toward the company’s benefits package. They pore over the details and wonder why they didn’t get a certain coverage option or why it isn’t offered. They think about how much money they’d save if your benefits package met their needs better.
3. Solutions to new problems.When intimidating hospital bills come through, employees want solutions. Inflation spurs urgency in spenders, and they want options to lighten their financial responsibility for future wellness issues.
One HR strategy could be to offer “plan optionality,” which gives employers the discretion and flexibility to broaden plan offerings as they see fit. With Paytient, employers provide their workers with an accessible and affordable resource to combat how the current inflation rate impacts wellness spending.
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