The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching, and not leaving any time soon. How will they affect your company’s healthcare offerings? Here are three changes you can expect in the second half of 2020 and into 2021 — and how you can begin to prepare.

Dependents Joining Healthcare Plans

If your benefits include coverage for dependents, expect to see enrollment on the rise. The loss of jobs due to layoffs, furloughs, terminations, and company closures has caused millions of Americans to lose their health insurance. If an earner in the family is still employed and eligible for benefits, expect new enrollees, along with spouses, children, partners and other eligible dependents, to come knocking.

Health Complications 

Whether it’s long-term effects of COVID-19, or complications from a lack of care during lockdown or quarantine measures, health complications are expected to increase. Patients have seen a massive decrease in care in 2020 as so-called elective procedures were canceled and routine care was canceled. As a result, chronic conditions may develop in previously borderline patients, and current conditions could be exacerbated by the gap in regular care.

Mental Health Needs

Mental health has taken a hit among many Americans in 2020. One in five Americans was already dealing with a mental illness, and that was before the isolation and anxiety of months spent quarantining, social distancing, and learning new social behaviors to ward off infection. Increased stress over a host of fears, along with a lack of natural support structures, has the potential to make things worse for those with a diagnosed mental illness, and spark new troubles for others.

These three factors combined could mean a massive increase in your company’s healthcare costs is on the horizon. What can you do to prepare?

Examine Your Benefits

How cost-effective are your health benefits in the current climate? And how much value do they offer your employees?

Plans which offer better technology options, including virtual care and telehealth, can keep down costs and prevent future health complications caused by avoiding healthcare due to the pandemic or cost concerns. As Medicare works to keep telehealth expansion, so private insurance companies need to keep virtual care affordability a priority.

Tech can also help with long-term and chronic illnesses. Virtual monitoring is now available for common diseases like type 2 diabetes, helping people with long-term illnesses maintain thresholds of good health with notifications and prompts. How do your healthcare benefit providers measure up with modern, cost-effective tech solutions?

Lastly, consider your EAP plan. Is it offering effective support for your employees? Support for employees suffering through stress, anxiety, financial difficulties, and mental illness will become even more important as the pandemic continues to affect the daily lives of Americans.

Strong benefits solutions which keep employees healthy and productive don’t happen by chance. It takes your hard work to put all of these programs into place, collect and measure the data, and continue to make improvements throughout the year. Get the help you need with solutions from WBD. With benefits admin solutions that provides robust reporting and support, you’ll be able to make the decisions that keep your employees strong and healthy.