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how-to-increase-employee-engagement-around-hdhpsThere are quite a few misconceptions surrounding high-deductible health plans (HDHPs), most particularly that they cost employees more in the long run than other types of insurance plans do.

Despite these misconceptions, offering a benefit like an HDHP is a proven boon for retention. In fact, many employees value the quality of their benefits over their salary, and an HDHP can be a differentiator for your business, particularly for part-time workers.

But in order to stand out in the marketplace, employers need to clear up the misconceptions around HDHPs. Here are a few strategies to help your employees understand how an HDHP can benefit them.

Educate Your Employees

Employees often fear that HDHPs aren’t worth the lower premium cost, believing that their deductible will be so high that they’ll lose money in the long run.

This, however, is untrue. If an HDHP is used correctly, employees can save money. But it’s your responsibility as an employer to provide the education employees need to understand the benefits of an HDHP — and whether the plan fits their needs. After all, every health care plan is different, and the fit will vary for different people. Typically, employees who are relatively healthy and don’t anticipate extra medical costs are the most suitable for an HDHP.

Communicate Effectively

Introducing a new benefit is always a complex, intensive process, and your communications process must reflect the same care and attention that you put into choosing benefits for your organization.

We have found that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to communication. As the employer, you know the best methods to communicate with your employees in an effective manner. However, be sure to include multiple channels of communication to reach any employees who prefer alternative methods. Also, consider providing seminars, in-person consultations and access to call centers. Calculators and other tools are also helpful for employees to conceptualize what an HDHP might look like for their family.

One communication method we have found particularly helpful when discussing HDHPs is to provide specific examples of how HDHPs can save money. If an employee can see how much the plan will cost if they typically only see a doctor twice a year, they might realize that they can save money and will be more inclined to enroll in the HDHP. We use “people like me” concepts to communicate many different plans and their features, but it works particularly well for HDHPs.

Here’s even more information on specific strategies regarding HDHP communication.

Use A Proven Strategy

We understand that HDHPs can be a controversial benefit. However, all of our strategies are informed by experience with many of our clients.

Recently, a food service client engaged us during open enrollment, hoping to see some migration into its HDHP. In conjunction with the client, we created a multi-channel communication plan that included print, email, call centers and on-site counselors. We’re proud to say that the employer saw an increase of more than 15% in participation, ensuring that its employees have access to quality, affordable health care.

And that, of course, is the most important benefit of all.

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