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|English to French translations [PRO]|
|English term or phrase: seeding company|
|réassurance aux Etats Unis|
2 hrs confidence: peer agreement (net): -1
assurance financée par cotisations
assurance à quote-part
Getting Creative With Marketing And Packaging To Pique Employee Interest In FSAs
By Robert H. Pariseau, CEBS
(As published in Broker World, August 1999)
Notified that health insurance premiums are going up yet again, your client has come to you seeking a way to control costs without dropping the comprehensive benefits package the company currently offers its employees.
A savvy broker, you know one good answer already exists within the company's benefit plan – their flexible spending account (FSA) program. A properly structured FSA plan benefits all parties. It allows employers to reduce their benefits costs while still maintaining a competitive edge in recruiting and retaining qualified personnel. Employees benefit through pre-tax contributions to their FSA's – money that reimburses them for medical and dental expenditures they would otherwise have to pay with after-tax dollars.
But you also know that the company's employees largely ignore the FSA program. The majority don't understand how the program works, and few have the desire or incentive to learn about it – as demonstrated by the dismal results from the company's past educational attempts.
Your challenge is to help your client market the FSA to employees in a compelling enough manner that they will be willing to give it a try.
Identifying the Problem
When it comes to gaining employee acceptance of FSAs, the greatest obstacle is the "use it or lose it" provision included in Section 125 of the IRS Code that created this voluntary benefit.
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FSAs are fairly simple to understand – employees determine how much of their pre-tax earnings they want the employer to set aside in a special account which they can then access in the form of reimbursements for certain health and dependent care expenses. However, in creating the FSA, the IRS decided that any funds remaining at the end of the year would revert to the employer. It is here that most employees lose their enthusiasm for the FSA. Once they hear "use it or lose it," they become suspicious and tend to discount the value of the benefit immediately.
Employees also are reluctant to participate in FSAs because they do not realize the full benefits of participation. Often, they feel the hassles of the paperwork and the wait time required for reimbursement far exceed any savings they will realize from the pre-tax contributions.
The good news is that both problems can be overcome through a carefully planned and implemented education program. This education program should impart two pieces of wisdom:
The money employees are setting aside is not intended to cover unexpected expenses, but rather is intended to cover ongoing, planned expenses such as eye care, prescriptions, orthodontia, etc.
Although the savings employees realize is not immediate, it is substantial; an average of $30 for every $100 spent through the FSA program. Not using it is like waiting until a sale is over, then paying full price for a necessary item.
Even when the benefits are laid out in simple dollars and cents terms, it is still a struggle to convince employees to participate in FSAs. That is why many employers are turning to two FSA plan design features that specifically address the issue of increased employee participation. Called seeding and matching, these features allow employers to offset rising insurance costs without sacrificing their employee benefits packages.
Consider a scenario in which a company with 1,000 employees is facing a substantial increase in health insurance premiums. The only way to continue offering full benefits is to raise the deductible from $250 to $500 per year. To soften the blow to employees, the company could establish an FSA plan, use a seeding program to offset the deductible increase, and still save money in the long run.
Here's how it works: The company can raise the deductible to $500, immediately reducing the cost of insurance premiums by $366,000 per year. The company then puts the $250 each employee would be paying in higher deductibles into their FSA at a total cost to the company of $250,000. With the simple act of seeding the health care FSA, the company saves $116,000. When the administrative fee is added to the equation, the company can still save $65,000 a year by seeding the FSAs.
The act of seeding an FSA also "buys" employee goodwill. If the employer is willing to contribute to the account up front, employees are more willing to do the same with their own dollars – which in turn adds to the tax savings for the employer.
Seeding also can be use on a temporary basis to improve participation by increasing employee comfort levels with the plan. For example, a multiple location service organization with an existing FSA had 5,100 eligible employees, but only about 100 were participating. In a concentrated effort to increase these numbers, the company contributed $100 into the FSA for each employee for two plan years.
That simple act encouraged employees to pay attention and actively seek information on FSAs. By the end of the two-year seeding program, participation had jumped to 1,300 employees, or 25 percent of their total population. For the company, the initial $510,000 annual contribution was recouped in subsequent plan years through tax savings realized from the increased participation.
Matching is another method employers are using to increase FSA participation. Much like 401(k) programs, employers pledge to match a percentage of employee contributions to their FSAs. Some companies even match contributions dollar for dollar up to a pre-determined maximum.
Marketing Out of the Box
While seeding and matching have proven to be effective methods of increasing employee participation in FSAs, they're not the only alternatives. Targeted employee marketing programs to demonstrate how FSA's address specific needs also will boost participation.
For example, most individuals with FSAs use them to cover copayments for doctor visits, prescriptions, and deductible or to cover eye care and orthodontic expenses. Therefore, an effective marketing program would include individual mini-campaigns designed to show employees how the FSA is beneficial for each of these expenses.
It's also important when marketing FSAs to employees to keep it simple. Don't overwhelm them with IRS type language or lengthy formulas on how much they will save. Rather, make the message simple and appealing. Grab their attention and pique their interest as early in the process as possible, then apply the FSA to something they can relate to and encourage them to try it out, at least temporarily.
Finally, when establishing an FSA – whether your client intends to seed/match it or not – it is vital that the system operate flawlessly from the start. Nothing can poison a plan faster than an employee who is unhappy because his reimbursement was delayed or there was a problem with their contribution schedule.
With a little ingenuity on your part and some upfront investment on your client's part, an FSA program can be established that will benefit not only the employer, but also the employees who realize they have nothing to lose and everything to gain from participation.
| ALI DJEBLI|
Local time: 02:37
Native speaker of: Arabic, French
PRO pts in pair: 253
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|The asker has declined this answer |3 hrs confidence:
bailleur de fonds d'amorçage
The correct term is :
Bailleur de fonds d'amorçage
as in these examples...
Ministère du travail et de la solidarité
... Emploi. Emplois jeunes Un arrêté du 2 ... F destinés au " fonds d'amorçage " et autres
" incubateurs " pour ... l'Unedic ou " auto-assureur " (Code du travail, art ...
you could also say :
organisme [financier] d'amorçage
Termium also gives :
seed grant s
subvention d'amorçage s FÉM
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