The cost for companies to provide healthcare benefits is at an all-time high, according to a new Towers Watson report. In 2014, healthcare costs reached an average of $9,560 per employee, and that’s just the employer’s share.

The Affordable Healthcare Act mandates that companies with 50 or more full-time employees provide health coverage. However, small businesses and startups don’t have to take the same route.

Though this new law might make healthcare more expensive to employers, does provide many affordable options for individual and family plans. For example, if an employer does not offer coverage, the individual may be eligible for a tax credit.

Since the Affordable Healthcare Act is giving consumers more control over their own healthcare, offering healthcare as a benefit might not be as attractive as it once was. In place of providing healthcare as a benefit, consider providing these benefits instead:

1. Pay enough to help cover costs of personal plans

Though healthcare costs are rising for employers, it doesn’t necessarily mean employees will have the same experience with a personal or family plan.

2. Opportunities to work remotely

We’re entering an age where the workforce is starting to get picky. Why? It’s increasingly being flooded by millennials who grew up alongside the Internet, mobile technology and access to any information on demand from virtually anywhere.

3. More flex/vacation time

Instead of offering healthcare to supplement the medical expenses that may be incurred due to workplace stress, treat the source.

4. Creative perks to inspire innovation

By 2025, 75 percent of the workforce will be made up of millennials. Companies are going to have to make a few adjustments to ensure employee retention.

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Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary