Want to know how to trim the fat from your benefit plan? Here are five easy suggestions.

  1. Implement a premium surcharge for smokers or a premium discount for non-smokers.
  2. Offer wellness screenings for employees, employer-subsidized gym memberships or premium discounts or incentives for participation in wellness programs (e.g., weight loss, blood pressure/cholesterol lowering, etc.).
  3. Review vendor fee and service provider fee arrangements (e.g., HMO, claims administration, COBRA and FMLA administration, etc.), including actuarial, investment management and plan administration; and re­bid for vendors if necessary.
  4. Freeze traditional defined benefit plan, and, going forward, offer a 401(k) plan with employer contributions.
  5. Audit your retirement plans for operational compliance (voluntary correction of operational failures is less expensive than correction after discovery by the IRS).

Many thanks to Robert Flanagan, employee benefits and executive compensation partner at Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, for today's tip.

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