In this Milliman webinar, consultants Lauren Busey, Heidi tenBroek, and Larry Daniels discuss results from the recent Milliman Northwest Healthcare COVID-19 Pulse Survey. The survey summarizes key actions local healthcare employers are taking to address employee benefits and compensation issues as a result of the current pandemic.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the U.S. economy and workforce. Millions have been furloughed or laid off, while others have struggled to do their essential jobs or work from home amid limited child care, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing guidelines. Even as the nation slowly gets back to work, the pandemic will undoubtedly have long-lasting effects on the economy, and by extension on employee benefits.
The 14th annual Northwest Benefits Survey—which includes data collected from February to April 2020 from 138 organizations located in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington—captured the situation immediately before COVID-19 began affecting the United States. Despite the uncertainty of the moment, the observations from the 2020 Northwest Benefits Survey help clarify some strong trends that will likely have relevance in the future. From the expanded use of telehealth to the increasing importance of wellness benefits, employers may feel a need to reexamine their benefits in order to better support their employees and determine the way forward for their organizations during this global health crisis.
At present, the severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown, and the same is true of the impact on the economies of the United States and other countries. However, the effect on pension plans will certainly be negative.
Congress did respond quickly by passing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides a record-shattering $2 trillion in stimulus, including some immediate relief for plan sponsors. Despite the ongoing uncertainty, there are some helpful guidelines for corporate pension plan sponsors based on past experience as well as the market data already in the books through the first quarter of 2020.
In this article, Milliman’s Zorast Wadia addresses the likely impact on pension expense and funded status. Additionally, he discusses the impact of the CARES Act on required cash contributions in calendar year 2020. Zorast also points out some red flags to look for over the next few years and details strategic steps that plan sponsors can begin taking now to help mitigate some of the risks in these unprecedented circumstances.
Healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis are treating patients around the clock to help them recover. As a result, many workers have fallen ill and been forced to quarantine indefinitely, while some have even lost their lives. In the United States, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations are adjusting their benefits and compensation policies to support their employees during these uncertain times.
Defined benefit (DB) pension plans have historically been used as an effective human resources (HR) tool, enabling employers to attain desired objectives, such as attraction, retention, and orderly workflow patterns. However, pension plans can also be used as a strategic tool to help mitigate HR challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this brief, Milliman’s Ryan Rowland outlines several ideas for employers to consider in connection with their DB pension plans as well as caveats to be aware of as you evaluate your organization’s staffing needs during this crisis.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, there are even more challenges to communicating about benefits. Communication budgets have been cut, employees are working remotely, and attention is understandably focused elsewhere.
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