Feedback: October 2021

by Angelina Flores, Jennifer Sellers, Stephanie Waldrop

Question: As you prepare to offer healthcare benefits packages to your employees for 2022, what elements of coverage are you finding are most important?

Angelina Flores

Chief Human Resources Officer
Gila River Hotels & Casinos
Sector: Hospitality

At Gila River Hotels & Casinos — Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte, and Vee Quiva — the health and wellness of our nearly 3,000 employees are of utmost importance to us. We have always offered a robust benefits package, and in 2022, we’re focusing on medical and prescription drug plans that deliver quality, flexibility and value. 

On the medical side, we are making sure our team members have access to the largest provider network of physicians, hospitals and convenience care clinics. Our plans also offer reasonable annual deductibles and co-pays for primary care visits, specialist visits and preventive care.

Technology is also an important aspect of our plans. Not only can team members navigate online for resources to help themselves and/or their family, but we also offer free telemedicine to all team members — even those who don’t participate in our medical plans. 

Finally, we unbundled our prescription drug plan from our medical plan in order to offer the lowest cost on prescription drugs for the generic, brand formulary, non-formulary and specialty drug.   

Angelina Flores is entering her 18th year with Gila River Hotels & Casinos. As chief human resources officer, Flores leads the recruiting, training, retaining, guest service and benefits teams. As a member of Gila River Indian Community, she is fulfilled by sharing her purpose and passion.

Jennifer Sellers

Senior Member
The Cavanagh Law Firm
Sector: Law

Over the last several years, health insurance has become a huge enticement for keeping current employees and hiring new ones. During the pandemic, health insurance was a topic on everyone’s mind, and it became a huge priority for both employers and employees.

Employees want their employers to offer a variety of healthcare plans. One healthcare plan does not fit the needs of all employees. Additionally, employees want to be able to select their desired providers. They may have one they’ve visited previously, or they may want to select a provider close to home or work. 

It is also important not to underestimate how valuable the open enrollment period is. It’s a time when employees can dig into the specifics of each plan and make an educated decision on the one that is best for them and their family. Employees who are educated about their plan options and how to save money feel empowered and make better healthcare decisions.   

Jennifer Sellers is a senior member at The Cavanagh Law Firm. She specializes in employment and corporate law, both transactional and litigation, representing clients on a variety of employment matters that include contracts, covenants not to compete and restrictive covenants, severance agreements and employee issues. Sellers received a Master of Science in taxation prior to attending law school at St. Louis University School of Law. 

Stephanie Waldrop

Employee Benefits International Inc.
Sector: Insurance

The COVID pandemic has fueled change in employees’ views and expectations for benefits offered through their employer. As employers consider the trends that are emerging, they must also consider the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce. Benefits that were once considered progressive and much less common are quickly finding their way to the mainstream. Many employees are seeking more flexible work arrangements, parental leave programs and more in their quest for an employment relationship. 

Providing employee’s more choices is quickly becoming an emerging trend. Having benefits administration technology that allows employees to engage and understand their benefit offerings while simplifying the administration of the benefits for the employer is a must in today’s environment. Employers should consider the needs of their workforce and provide a variety of choices tailored to the needs of the demographics. While older workers may want long-term disability, a younger workforce may be more interested in tuition reimbursement, for example. A benefits survey combined with a thorough review of benchmarking data is a great place to start when employers are trying to ensure they are offering the best possible employee benefits package for their budget.   

Stephanie Waldrop brings more than 20 years of insurance industry experience to her role as principal of Employee Benefits International, which provides consultant and brokerage services to employers of all sizes, offering extensive expertise in all aspects of risk management, program design, market review, renewal negotiation, financial budget projections, claims utilization analysis, wellness programs and compliance. 

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