You carefully chose the benefits you offer to provide value to your employees and to maintain your status as an employer of choice. If your employees don’t understand their benefits, then you’re not getting the advantage of offering them.
According to a 2018 Health and Workplace Benefits Survey, just 60% of employees say they understand their health benefits “very” or “extremely” well, and this drops to 51% for non-health benefits. That’s an issue you can quickly and efficiently resolve by making the entire benefit enrollment and usage process more transparent and useful for your staff.
Be Transparent About Cost
The costs associated with acquiring and using benefits are some of the largest expenses your employees face each year. Picking a plan that they know they can afford is difficult. By being transparent about how programs work, costs they cover and what the employee will be responsible for, your staff will be best positioned to safely budget for medical and other expenses.
For example, we see that educating employees on how best to use a high-deductible health plan (HDHD), helps them put enough money into a company-offered health savings account to cover costs.
Present Information in Multiple Ways
Show employees that information in a way that helps them understand options and requirements is no easy task. You likely have a diverse workforce who have different levels of comfort with technology, handbooks and medical information.
At Winston Benefits, we believe employees should post information in multiple places and mediums. We typically show benefit plan information in a variety of print and digital forms, including in our benefits enrollment platform.
Today, an increased access to technology that allows you to communicate benefits by texting, emails and video, as well as more traditional means. Decision support tools provide side-by-side and detailed comparisons when employees need information, such as during the transaction and confirmation steps of selecting plans.
Get as Specific as Possible
To maximize your transparency and increase the benefit to your employees, they should see as much specific information as possible that is relevant to their decisions. Some of the essential data to include are:
- Pay periods and costs
- Costs for services
- Usage requirements and restrictions
- Premiums and estimated out-of-pocket costs
- Services that are and are not covered
When possible, you’ll also want to help the employee understand the differences between plans. For instance, when health insurance is divided by a family’s utilization, demonstrate what high and low levels of usage may look like.
Be Open to Questions
Transparency helps your employees understand the benefits that you offer and make the best choice for their families.
Being open to your team’s needs and addressing concerns can make them more satisfied at work too. We recommend you encourage HR and benefits enrollment teams to be full partners in the decision process. Allow your workforce to ask questions, and don’t limit these to a specific time.
Instead, open up the process year-round (even if benefit enrollment isn’t) so that you’re a partner in limiting undue stress in other areas of their lives, such as paying bills or saving enough for retirement.