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Op-ed | What to look for in choosing a health care benefits provider for municipal employees

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The Great Resignation the dramatic shift in the workforce over the past two years has resulted in a high turnover in the public sector workforce. Many qualified professionals are now looking to the private sector for more competitive salaries and flexible work schedules. This trend is particularly pronounced in New York City, with current vacancy rates in some municipal departments above 20 percent.

One way public agencies can remain competitive in attracting and retaining qualified workers is to offer comprehensive and generous benefits packages, including quality health care coverage. This can be challenging, however, given the ongoing budget constraints on municipalities and continually rising health care costs nationally.

UnitedHealthcare, a leading health insurance provider to the public sector, is helping state and local governments meet these challenges. More than 3 million public sector and labor members are currently enrolled in UnitedHealthcare health plans, and the company has a longstanding track record serving as a strategic partner helping government agencies and public school systems all over the country offer quality benefits at a sustainable cost. 

Working to keep quality high and costs down

Drawing on client management expertise acquired through more than 100 years of collective public sector experience, UnitedHealthcare plan administrators work closely with trained care experts to find customized solutions to help contain benefit costs and address a broad range of members’ health care needs. They also support public employees in making better-informed health decisions, directing them to wellness programs and other resources to promote healthier lifestyles. UnitedHealthcare is an innovator in digital tools to help members manage their health care.

As part of their quality coverage, members have access to the extensive UnitedHealthcare network of more than 1.7 million health care providers and over 7,000 hospitals nationwide. The company has one of the largest provider networks in the U.S.

Particularly in high-cost areas like New York City, the consulting and program customization services offered by UnitedHealthcare, as well broad access to providers throughout the U.S., can be critical differentiators in choosing health plans for public sector employees. The availability of a dedicated service team to help coordinate member care and a vast provider network means municipal employees and their families can have access to the quality health services they need. 

Addressing the municipal labor shortage

With state and local governments facing critical labor shortfalls and

having to compete with the private sector for qualified employees, a comprehensive and affordable health plan can be a compelling reason for job candidates to sign on. Which makes choosing the right health insurance more important than ever. Municipal agencies should look for a company they can partner with to take a strategic approach to help manage costs and improve quality of care. A provider that will help see to it that members get the right care, at the right place and at the right time.

Working with a company like UnitedHealthcare gives public sector agencies a strategic approach to addressing today’s health care challenges, as well as the critical employee shortage in state and local government. Being able to offer quality health care benefits packages can be a key bargaining chip in luring qualified candidates to municipal jobs.

Michael Jordan is an Industry Professional with 30 years of public sector and labor experience.

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