Tom's Take Blog
May 9, 2019
How can we help employees better understand their health plan coverage?
Tom’s Take: No matter the plan type, confusion seems to be a universal, recurring theme when it comes to how coverage works with employee benefits. Member questions can stem from a lack of understanding in so many areas: what kinds of care are covered … how much a member’s payment responsibility is … where care can be received … the list goes on and on!
The thing is, educating employees about their health plan features isn’t something that can just be done at hiring or open enrollment time and then dismissed. It needs to be an ongoing process with information shared in a variety of formats across a variety of channels. This is especially true as employee benefits change or new ones are added, but also when it’s found that certain benefits are being overlooked or underutilized (a red flag!).
Here are some ideas that can help keep your employees in the know about their health benefits:
- Create a health portal – Do employees know where to turn when they have benefits questions? Along with sharing info about who the appropriate point people are, another big help can be organizing reference materials in one easy-to-access spot.
- Mix traditional and online tactics – Some employees hang on to all the printouts you provide, while others will want to find this info using their Smartphones. Cater to both audiences and mix in some in-person benefit briefings, too. Plus, when creating educational content, try different formats – fact sheets, Q&As, charts, etc.
- Eliminate the jargon – Sometimes the problem is as simple as the language that’s used to describe employee benefits. Read through the materials you provide and adjust anything that seems too technical or complex, and clarify services/programs with names that don’t clearly identify the benefits they provide just by their name.
- Check in! – Notice some benefits that are hardly being used? Hearing a lot of questions about the same benefits? Get your employees’ input. Ask about their benefits experience as part of your one-on-one meetings or put out a survey to the whole group.
Your employees will get a lot more out of their health benefits when they understand all the ins and outs of coverage. Make information easily accessible and understandable and share it in multiple formats. On top of that, stay on top of questions and keep the benefits conversation going.
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