Finding Funds For Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiatives

Jun 12, 2020

By Tracy Hill

As HR professionals lean in and lead their people through a time of racial reckoning on top of a global pandemic, the urgency for securing funds for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) consultants, anti-racist programs, and mental health initiatives is front and center. Yet, this need also comes at a time when companies are already reeling from the economic instability of the pandemic and looking to stabilize cash flow.

And there's something you may not have considered to find funds for your critical people initiatives. I encourage looking at your employer-sponsored health plans.

Really? Health plans? 

Yes—it's unlikely top of mind right now, but understanding the game theory behind your company's annual health plan renewal could very well provide a substantial "discovered budget." This is especially the case for tech employers. Why? Because tech employee populations skew to the younger side (so their medical complications from COVID-19 are lower), and all nonexistential procedures were canceled over the past several months. This means, even in the middle of a pandemic, utilization characteristics for tech groups are now more favorable than ever. 

And a favorable renewal could mean 6-figure savings.

Most tech employers are waaay overspending on health plans for what their people actually get. Even in a year of COVID-19, it's possible to reduce health care costs by 15-20% without sacrificing coverage. This is absolutely money on the table that could be put to better use. 

6 steps for finding DEI funding.

  1. Start your renewal process early this year.
  2. Don’t accept a high renewal just because of COVID-19.
  3. Benchmark your plans against similar companies (size, geo, industry, employee population).
  4. Be willing to go out to market and change carriers for better rates on comparable coverage.
  5. Consider moving to a narrow network and/or Consumer-Driven Health Plan (CDHP + HSA).
  6. Understand the 100 employee milestone (large group rates are negotiable). 

Keep up the good work, HR friends. And, this year, it's more important than ever to start your renewal process early. 

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About the Author

Tracy Hill is an Employee Benefits Communication Strategist at Lumity. Her days are spent crafting materials to help employees understand their health plan options. She taps into 17+ years of marketing experience at high tech companies where she focused on explaining complicated systems in layperson terms, and now she applies her communication skills to unraveling the mysteries of health insurance. She's also a community steward and steering committee member of the HR for HR online community. 


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