Originally published in Humanengineers January 18, 2023
Employers face an increasingly complicated landscape when providing healthcare benefits for their employees. It’s essential to stay up-to-date on the latest developments, understand how benefits are best presented and communicated, and ensure that employees understand their options.
However, educating employees on the health plan options for many HR teams can be challenging. But rather than feeling overwhelmed by the prospect, there are some key strategies you can use to enhance employee understanding and engagement with your company’s health plan options.
Establish Clear Program Objectives and Benefit Offerings
Creating a successful employee education program begins with clearly defining the objectives and benefit offerings. This means understanding what healthcare benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how they can be used. It also includes identifying any limitations or restrictions that may apply to specific plans or options.
When considering program objectives, it’s important to consider how health plans can be used with other employee benefits such as retirement savings and disability insurance. This will help employees better understand the total value of their benefits package. It also provides an opportunity to reinforce the importance of taking advantage of all available benefits.
Offer Comprehensive Training Sessions
Offering comprehensive and engaging training sessions is key to ensuring that employees understand their health plan options. Training sessions should be interactive and allow employees to ask questions and receive answers in a comfortable and safe environment. To ensure that the training is practical, employers should ensure it covers all relevant topics, such as passive enrollment procedures, eligibility criteria, and plan details.
Employers should also consider offering online training resources such as webinars and educational videos to supplement the in-person training sessions. This will help ensure that employees have access to all the information they need, regardless of their schedule or availability.
Training doesn’t need to be limited to just health plan options. It can also teach employees about other benefits, such as dental, vision, and financial planning. Regardless of the topic, employers should always strive to make sure that employees understand how their benefits work and how they can best use them.
Provide Easily Accessible Resources to Employees
In addition to providing comprehensive training sessions, employers should ensure employees have access to readily accessible resources. This includes an easy-to-understand summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) document, which outlines the health plan options in simple language. Providing links to relevant websites or contact information for questions and inquiries is also important.
Providing these resources will help ensure that employees remain informed and engaged with their health plans. Additionally, it helps reduce confusion and eliminates any guesswork when making decisions about healthcare coverage.
One easy way to provide resources is to set up an online portal where employees can access information about their health plan options. This allows employers to keep all relevant documents and details in one place, making it easier for employees to find what they need. Plus, it eliminates the need for paper copies or costly printed materials.
Utilize Technology and Automation
The use of technology and automation can also help streamline the process of educating employees about health plan options. Automating certain tasks, such as enrollment or eligibility verifications, can save time and reduce errors. It also helps ensure that all relevant information is up-to-date and accurate.
Technology can also be used to provide personalized feedback to employees on their health plan options. For example, employers could leverage predictive analytics to offer tailored recommendations for healthcare plans based on an employee’s age, gender, lifestyle, or location. This allows employers to give employees the most relevant and helpful advice about their coverage options.
In addition to making the education process more efficient, leveraging technology can also help increase engagement with employee benefits programs. For example, employers can use technology to provide employees with incentives, such as discounts or rewards, for taking advantage of their health plan options. This can help boost utilization rates and encourage employees to make the most of their benefits.
Provide Employee Pulse Checks Throughout the Year
Employers should consider regularly conducting employee pulse checks throughout the year. This will help determine if employees are taking advantage of their health plan options and understanding how their benefits work. It can also provide valuable insights into areas with more education or resources.
Employee pulse checks can take many forms, such as surveys, interviews, or focus groups. Employers should use these opportunities to ask questions about overall satisfaction with health plan options and if employees feel they have all the information they need to make informed decisions about their coverage.
The most important thing to remember about pulse checks is that they should be ongoing. Regular check-ins will ensure that employees stay updated on their health plan options and understand how to best use them. It also helps employers identify potential issues with their benefits programs so they can take the necessary steps to address them.
Review Usage Data and Improve
Employers should also review usage data to ensure that employees are taking full advantage of their health plan options. This includes analyzing claims information to assess utilization rates and determine if any changes need to be made. Employers can then use this information to inform their education efforts and ensure they’re providing the right resources and support.
By reviewing usage data, employers can also identify areas where more education may be needed, or additional resources could be beneficial. For example, if employer-sponsored coverage is not being utilized as much as expected, it may be necessary to provide more targeted educational materials for particular segments of the workforce.
If you don’t regularly review usage data, it’s important to start now. This will help ensure that employees are making the most of their health plan options and understanding how they work. Doing so helps to maximize value and ensure that employees are getting the most out of their benefits.
Start Enhancing Your Employees’ Benefits Education
Employee education around their health plan options is essential to ensuring that employees make the most of their benefits. By leveraging technology, automating certain processes, and providing personalized feedback, employers can simplify the process and provide more targeted advice for each employee’s unique needs.