Employees increasingly are tasked with advocating for themselves in today’s self-service benefits world, but it’s a complex environment to navigate — from finding the right specialist to resolving disputed claims to managing prescription drug coverage with providers and pharmacies.
Even if you already invest in subsidizing plans, supporting employees during enrollment season and improving benefits technology, you might want to consider taking the next step: providing your people with health advocacy and advisory services that help them navigate how to actually use their benefits after they’re enrolled.
There are several ways you can further invest in your employees’ health and well-being. Here are a few.
Work with Health Advocacy Companies and Benefits Advisers
Health advocates and benefits advisers can shepherd employees through difficult life events, ensuring that the entire arc of their health care experience is covered. By directly affecting how your employees cope with difficult situations, these types of services can help you reduce absenteeism and increase productivity — and better ensure that you have healthy, happy employees.
Health advocacy companies help employees make sense of their plans when they’re sifting through the legalese of plan descriptions. By calling an advocate, an employee can get personalized recommendations about benefits and advice about how to best use their health plans.
The detailed conversations between these advocates and employees go beyond physician directories or general benefits information. A health advocate is a person to talk to about individual claims, trying to find the right doctor, picking the right medical center for a specific procedure or finding the best price when there’s a big deductible to cover.
Provide Year-Round Education and Training About Health Plans
Bringing in experts on a regular basis to speak with employees face-to-face can help address benefits-related challenges that arise. Experts can help employees better understand important benefits changes on the horizon, the mathematics and rules behind flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs), and exactly whom to call when a question arises.
Offer Add-On Services Such as Legal Plans to Help with Life Events
Voluntary legal plans are generally inexpensive — and can be remarkably valuable to employees. These plans may offer advisory services for major life events like buying a home, going through a divorce, or creating a will. For you, it’s another tool to help reduce absenteeism, because it ensures that your employees have access to solutions when needed.
Employees today are looking not only for flexibility and independence when it comes to how, when and where to work, but they also often want an employer that supports them as they navigate important life decisions and transitions. As work life and private life come together, consider investing in advocacy services as another way to help your employees use their benefits throughout the year.
Winston Benefits is a Benefits Administration, Enrollment, and Communication company. We provide employers with a technology enabled benefit process in order to help communicate, enroll and administer their employee benefit programs while empowering their employees to make better benefit decisions. Contact us to learn more.