Gravie research reveals a call for more dedicated support as interest in ICHRA grows

September 22, 2023

For some employers, the cost and lack of flexibility of traditional group health plans is leaving them in need of an alternative solution. Recently there’s been quite a buzz around ICHRAs, or Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements, filling that gap. It’s a mouthful to say, but it’s a solution with big possibility for many employers and their employees.

An ICHRA allows employers to make tax-advantaged contributions to employees who enroll in a health plan through the individual marketplace. Since becoming available to employers in January 2020, ICHRAs have seen a surge in adoption – our own Gravie ICHRA™ solution included.

Digging deeper into this trend, Gravie teamed up with Wakefield Research to survey 500 U.S. health benefits decision-makers who don’t currently offer ICHRAs to find out what they think of the ICHRA model, from initial impressions to unanswered questions. It serves as a helpful look into the perceptions and barriers that employers are facing as they consider new ways of offering health benefits.

2023 ICHRA Research
Trends & Insights

Here’s what we found:

Growing interest in ICHRA

Overwhelmingly, our research confirmed that plenty of growth and demand for this model still lies ahead of us. Among survey respondents, 89% of benefits decision-makers are likely to consider health benefits through ICHRA for their employees in the coming three years.

Some view ICHRA as a way to begin offering more traditional plans to their group. Many (87%) agree that ICHRA may be a strategic, long-term fit to give their employees the flexibility to choose the individual health plan that works best for them.

Our own experience tells us that companies that experience high employee turnover, have trouble meeting participation requirements, or have a varied employee population are showing great interest in the relatively new ICHRA model.

Challenges employers face with ICHRAs

Although the majority of survey respondents showed favorable interest in ICHRA as a health benefits option, many see the large potential for administrative burdens. Stretched for time and resources – and often wearing multiple hats — benefits decision-makers are spending an average of nine hours per week managing health benefits for their company. For nearly 3 in 4 benefits decision-makers, managing health insurance is one of the most difficult parts of their job.

These individuals have demanding jobs, and over 80% of those we surveyed consider helping employees navigate the marketplace, managing employee contribution strategies, providing ongoing support and staying compliant to be barriers to them fully embracing ICHRA.

This shows an opportunity for advisors and benefits administrators to provide more hands-on support so employers of all sizes can feel confident offering this kind of solution.

A call for more education and hands-on support from partners

According to our research, 76% of employers who are considering a transition from an employer-sponsored group plan to an individual plan through ICHRA have a lot of unanswered questions, and many are understandably overwhelmed about the administration process.

More than 4 in 5 benefits decision-makers would be more likely to offer an ICHRA if another company or vendor managed it for them and provided dedicated support.

That’s a resounding call for a partner, and a platform, that makes implementing and managing ICHRAs simple and user-friendly for all — from the employer to the member to the insurance carrier.

Since the ICHRA model is still relatively new, it’s important to work with a knowledgeable and experienced ICHRA administrator to help implement and manage this option while staying compliant around its regulations. The right ICHRA partner will save benefits managers time, energy and administrative headaches, and be able to consult on a benefits strategy more holistically.

Is Gravie ICHRA the answer for you or your clients?

At Gravie, we have been helping employers of all sizes facilitate ICHRAs since they were first introduced and working with employers to leverage the individual market for employee health benefits since 2013. Gravie’s industry-leading platform makes it easy for employers to implement and manage an ICHRA program – from initial employer onboarding and managing payments, to ongoing employee support. That means more control over costs, more choice and more support from start to finish.

A custom strategy also means Gravie ICHRA can be paired with Comfort® as an effective hybrid solution for a segmented employee base. For example, an employer may offer a traditional group plan to full-time employees while offering ICHRA funds to their part-time staff. What’s most important to us is that clients feel like they have a benefits strategy and offering that’s a perfect fit for their unique population and budget.

Explore the employer survey report to learn more about our 2023 ICHRA research survey results and insights. Connect with us today to see if ICHRA is the right fit for your business or clients.

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