Annual enrollment periods are important for employees as the choices they make can affect more than their health, it can affect them financially. If an employee spends less than 30 minutes selecting their benefits, this could have long term repercussions for both them and the employer. According to MetLife, a comprehensive benefits program increases productivity and loyalty. However, they also claim 54% of employees need more help understanding more about their benefits and how they work and 40% of employees state a wide selection of benefits to choose from would make them feel more loyal to their employer.
How can you help your employees make the right decision when it comes to their benefits? The simple answer is education by using the right tools. Providing tools that demystify benefit selection helps employees make choices aligned to their specific needs, their tolerance for risk, and their financial situation.
Online Enrollment with Benefit Details
People are using mobile devices more than ever before therefore program details and online enrollment are optimized for mobile. Mobile technology means employees can access and review their benefit plans via their smartphone making it easier for them to stay informed. For those employees who don’t have a home computer, consider providing one they can access in the workplace so that they can review their benefits during their breaks or after work. Also, provide them with written details on how to log on along with the online enrollment process.
Ongoing Education Before Enrollment Period Opens
According to a recent study conducted by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, 20% of employees regret the health care choices they make. If 20% of your workforce is unhappy with their benefits, what does this mean to ongoing productivity and morale? The key is to put as much effort into educating your employees as you do into designing the benefits package. The education process should begin immediately after the previous enrolment period closes. That way you can ask relevant questions about what went well, what needs to improve, and what additional tools employees need to ensure full understanding of benefit packages.
Video Conferencing And Face-To-Face Classes
Not all employees absorb information the same way, which means your education strategy must include a variety of communication tools to ensure you cover each learning style. It is recommended that you offer quarterly healthcare classes either in person or online. If using video conferencing you could ask your agent or healthcare provider as a guest presenter to explain the benefits.
Topics could include:
- Employer and employee responsibilities
- Cost of healthcare for employers
- Employee contributions and copay
- Wellness Care
- Flexible spending accounts
Throughout the year things change, especially when it comes to compliance and other government-mandated requirements. A monthly email or newsletter is an excellent way to keep employees abreast of any changes or updates when it comes to their benefits.
Newsletters and Chat
Not everyone has access to the internet and email, therefore, a way to keep employees educated and updated is to provide a monthly newsletter delivered to their workstation or delivered to their home. Since most people have a smartphone, you can also utilize instant chat and text messages to relay important information regarding their benefits.
Comparison Charts for Healthcare Costs
Healthcare can be complicated and confusing for many employees, therefore giving them an outline of what to look for when comparing plans can be incredibly helpful. Generally speaking, there are four categories of health insurance plans: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platnum. These categories have nothing to do with the quality of care a member will receive from a provider, rather they identify how you and your provider share the costs. Using a comparison of costs will help employees understand their choices accordingly.
It’s critical for employees to understand they will pay a monthly premium based on the plan they choose even if they don’t use any medical services that month. When the employee receives medical care, they also need to understand there is a deductible known as out-of-pocket costs that they need to pay. The percentage of employer contributions and out of pocket expenses or deductibles is an important consideration when they choose a healthcare plan.
Employees are often left in the dark when it comes to healthcare terminology. As part of your education strategy, download the following A Guide to Industry Terminology and distribute this to all your employees. Call Employers Select Insurance Services, Inc. on 916-248-4777 to discuss additional tools to help your employees understand their benefits.
Quality employee benefits are crucial to attracting and retaining employees. With ongoing and sustained education about their healthcare costs means you are empowering your employees to choose a plan that best suits their personal circumstances ultimately resulting in a highly satisfied, productive, and loyal workforce.