Are you thinking about switching to an ICHRA? Companies across America are finding a flexible and cost-saving alternative to traditional group health coverage with an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement. ICHRAs provide an easy way for HR teams to offer quality benefits at scale, customized to each individual employee.


With an ICHRA, each employee purchases a localized individual health plan from the individual market, while your company contributes toward their premiums using the familiar pre-tax model of traditional group insurance. All the things that you love about group insurance (tax advantages, compliance management, and working with your benefits consultant/broker) stay the same, while your employees get more choice, freedom, and flexibility.


Sound good? It gets better. Your employees will love ICHRA—and your HR team will too! In our recent SureCo + SHRM webinar, Kayla Hediger (SHRM-CP), the People Operations Manager at SureCo, shared her experience with administering an ICHRA. Here are her top 5 reasons HR teams love ICHRAs.


Reason #1: Open Enrollment? No Sweat!


I know this sounds crazy but since moving to an ICHRA, I’m actually excited about Open Enrollment for the first time in my career,” said Kayla during the webinar. Looking back on her previous roles in benefits administration, Kayla continued, “Open Enrollment always felt daunting, and like a lose-lose situation.”


Does Kayla’s career experience sound familiar? Do you and your team spend weeks, or even months doing things like:

-Combing through employee benefit surveys?
-Compiling feedback and recommendations?
-Negotiating with vendors and administrators to optimize plan options and pricing?

With an ICHRA, Open Enrollment stress and anxiety becomes a thing of the past. Instead, it’s simply business as usual, with no extra heavy lifting required of you or your team.  Not only that, but your employees are always offered the full complement of high-quality, ACA-compliant plans on the individual market. Watch your team’s overtime go down while your employee survey scores climb!


Reason #2: Choices, Choices, Choices


As Kayla put it in the webinar: “ICHRAs are highly customizable. Employees are no longer choosing from a selection of plans that I curated, and they actually have the opportunity to build a customized benefits package that fits their individual needs.”


In other words, because ICHRA plans offer individualized care to employees, the pressure is off! You can stop trying to find the perfect group plan selection that will satisfy each employee's unique health needs. Instead, you can offer your employees all the diverse choices of the individual market in their local area. This means that employees can choose a plan that best fits their unique individual needs, and they can also shop for plans based on their preferred local doctors and healthcare providers.


Additionally, this feature makes ICHRA a great option for a remote or distributed workforce. Employees get access to local plans, no matter where they live.


 Reason #3: Perfect Balance


“With ICHRA I find balance between the quality of the plans and the cost. I'm no longer having to sacrifice the desires of my employees to keep the budget in mind,” said Kayla. She continued: “With traditional group plans I felt like every year was becoming harder and harder to offer competitive benefits to employees. I consistently found myself having to sacrifice plan quality to keep the cost down.”

An ICHRA can help any HR team walk the tightrope of business priorities and employee needs with ease. SureCo clients have saved an average of 22% in the past two years, with some companies saving as much as 40%. That’s great news for your bottom line and your stakeholders. Meanwhile, the high-quality plan offerings of the individual market will keep your employees happy... and healthy!


It’s a win win solution,” concluded Kayla. We agree!


Reason #4: ICHRA makes ACA Compliance Easy


Kayla’s fourth reason to love ICHRAs? Believe it or not, it’s compliance. “Compliance with ICHRA has been a breeze,” she said. “I don’t have to stress about COBRA administration or paperwork because employees own their plans. Transitions are much more seamless, which is a huge win.”


Let’s get into how this works: With an ICHRA, each employee individually owns their healthcare plan. Thus, during a separation, employees have the option to take their plans with them by assuming full payment for their premiums. This eases the burden on both parties during a separation or other transition. Transitioning employees don’t need to worry about their plan disappearing in 18 months, or about paying an additional percentage to keep it. And you and your team no longer have to deal with COBRA. Yes, you are legally still required to offer COBRA, but we’ve never seen an employee on an ICHRA opt to use COBRA.


Reason #5: Take Back Your Time


The right ICHRA solution will integrate directly—and seamlessly—with your HRIS platform and payroll system. All the tedious aspects of benefits administration will become distant memories. Plus, SureCo’s platform offers robust reporting for all your metrics needs, so you can also bid adieu to the hours of scouring multiple systems for raw data to format into reports.


Moving to an ICHRA has freed up a significant amount of administrative time, so I can actually think more strategically and roll out other beneficial initiatives that are going to have a major impact on employees,” Kayla said.


Final Thoughts


Are you ready to stop dreading Open Enrollment? To start offering your employees a vast number of choices, and find that elusive balance between business and employee needs? How about letting COBRA fade into the past, and getting a chunk of your admin time back?


Trust us—and Kayla—on this. ICHRA is the benefits alternative of the future. Your employees will love it, your stakeholders will love it, and you’ll love it!


For more information about ICHRA, watch the full webinar on-demand to hear more from Kayla and a team of ICHRA expert panelists.

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