As a team of benefits strategists, we work hard every day to make sure we’re exceeding client expectations and providing the most innovative and value-generating plan designs and advisory services.
Mitigating the Potential Impact of COVID-19 on Organizational Health
Our first priority at Apex Benefits is the health of our employer clients and their employees. This means helping employers get through this crisis and be in the healthiest financial position possible post crisis. Our team of experts has identified many near-term and long-term opportunities for companies to consider in order to generate cost savings or create greater operational efficiencies.
How Can Apex Help?
Proactive strategic planning to identify and implement cost-savings measures isn’t a luxury during times of crisis. As a result, it is very important to quickly and carefully consider the consequences of adopting cost-saving measures to organizations and their employees. If your organization needs assistance in identifying or evaluating your options, we’re here to help.
Apex clients — please contact your account executive. Otherwise, please use this contact form and we will promptly respond.
Articles on Cost Savings
- May 6, 2020
Apex Chief Innovation Officer Stan Jackson discusses how antibody and PCR tests can be use to determine if someone has had COVID-19.
- April 28, 2020
On this episode of The Point, Apex Executive Advisor Scott Long chats with Stan Jackson and Roger Greenawalt to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic could impact preventative care and healthcare claims in the future.
- April 24, 2020
Many companies are being faced with the tough choice of whether to furlough or lay off employees. What does an employee furlough really mean? And what are some other cost-saving measures you can put in place to avoid layoffs?
Opportunities Through Legislation
Claim all FFCRA tax credits. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows employers to immediately recoup the cost of the new emergency paid sick leave and the emergency paid family medical leave obligations of the new law. These credits can be taken immediately by offsetting the cost against the employer’s federal payroll tax payments. Please note that this credit is not available to our governmental entities. More information can be found on our landing page here and here.
Apply for an SBA Paycheck Protection Loans (PPP). At up to 2.5 times average monthly payroll costs, the loan can be used for benefits, rent and utilities in addition to payroll. PPP has a forgiveness provision – but it’s reduced by any reduction in employees or wages. More information can be found on our landing page here.
Explore the CARES Act Employee Retention tax credit and payroll tax deferral. Businesses may apply a 50% credit towards their payroll tax liability on up to $10,000 in wages per employee. It is a deferral, where half will be due later — half at the end of 2021 and half at the end of 2022. Only businesses that suffer from suspended operations or experience at least a 50% decrease in gross receipts compared to the same quarter from last year are eligible. Caution: If a business takes advantage of this credit, it would be ineligible for a PPP loan. The business could still make an offsetting payroll tax claim for emergency paid sick leave and emergency family medical leave, but not use the same employee(s) for retention credit calculation.More information can be found on our landing page here and here.
CARES Act Disaster relief loan. Otherwise known as EIDL loans. Most businesses with 500 or fewer employees are now eligible for disaster loans of up to $2 million for working capital. Those businesses will also be eligible for an emergency cash advance of $10,000 within days of making the application, which is not repayable even if their loan application is denied. These loans cannot be used for payroll but can be used in conjunction with the options above for other working capital needs. Check out more information here.
Workforce Reduction Strategies
Consider Furloughs as an Alternative to Layoffs. A furloughed employee is not a separated employee, even if the hours are reduced to zero. Depending on the employee benefits plan design, a furloughed employee’s reduction of hours may still allow eligibility, or a Plan amendment could fix that issue and allow the employer to save the hourly costs but still make benefits available. Call your Apex Benefits consultant for more information or find more information here.
Consider Different Pay, Hour, and Assignment Scenarios. The Fair Labor Standards Act rules all still apply, but there are actions employers can take to save costs and keep their employee’s healthcare benefits.
Employee Benefits Strategies
Change contributions toward health plans. In order to save costs so as to retain employees, a re-balancing of employer and employee contributions to the plan could be helpful and minimally disruptive. Good data analysis and negotiating skills with carriers are important now more than ever.
Not only a necessity during COVID-19, but the concept comes with some real cost savings for company health insurance plans. The savings can be used to retain employees.
Add a lower cost health plan option. An Apex advisor can walk you through all the options.
Change ancillary coverages to all voluntary employee paid benefits like dental, vision, disability and others.
Any and all options previously thought to be too lean, including a change in formulary should now be on the table.
Temporarily suspend your contributions or the worker’s share of 401k or retirement benefits.
Operational and Administrative Strategies
Close down or re-purpose unused space. Ask your landlord to defer payments or see if you can renegotiate terms; they’d rather have some rental income than none.
Odds are good you’ve had to deploy other cost savings measures over the years, or had conversations about such measures. Review all previously explored or deployed cost cutting measures.
Your vendors are likely in the same position of looking for cost savings opportunities, however, may be willing to renegotiate terms or defer payments in order to keep your business.
Employee Engagement Strategies
A healthy corporate culture is one is which employees are empowered to be part of the solution. Ask them for their ideas for creating cost savings opportunities of creating efficiencies.
Honesty is the best policy in times of crisis. Even communicating “I don’t know” is better than not addressing issues at hand. Reassure your team that you are doing the best you can to answer their questions and that you will communicate the answers once you have them.