As an insurance broker, it’s your job to not only work with employer groups to design best in class benefits packages but also to ensure the end user of those products – the employees – are making smart benefits decisions. This will not only lead to happier employees (and therefore employers) but can also help your clients control costs and run a smooth HR operation in the long run.
However, employee demographics are changing, attention spans are short and ‘the way it’s always been done’ no longer cuts it for benefits education and communication. Not convinced?
Well, according to a 2018 Benefits Communication Survey, 80% of employees don’t read benefits collateral. Furthermore, 50% of employees don’t even understand their benefits materials.
So, how can you connect and resonate with employees and support better benefits decisions?
We’ve got 3 tips to help you start the conversation.
Savvy Plan Design
The first step to helping employees make better health care decisions is to focus on smart plan design that meets the requirements of the employer but also speaks to the needs and concerns of the workforce.
Work with your employer groups to be sure that the plan or plans they are offering truly meet the needs of their unique workforce. Are there gaps that can realistically be addressed, given compliance regulations and budget constraints? Furthermore, is the current enrollment system intuitive and educational in nature? The entire open enrollment process should be evaluated and optimized from start to finish.
And, for health plans specifically, be smart in the way plans are named and presented. Technical or bland names can be confusing or a turn-off. Consider the ‘high deductible health plan’. Just the phrase ‘high deductible’ can be a red flag and scare off employees that might actually benefit from this specific plan type. Instead, consider re-naming your high deductible plan something more appealing, like an HSA-Eligible plan. Or, tier your plans with a familiar naming convention, like ‘gold’, ‘silver’, and ‘bronze’ to communicate coverage levels and cost in a relatable way.
Communication And Education
Not everyone absorbs information the same way, so your benefits education strategy should not be a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Reach employees where they’re most responsive by taking a holistic approach to education. This means using multiple communication channels and supporting both print and digital benefits materials and collateral.
Print Materials like posters, benefit guides and postcards are a tried and true method of reaching employees. These materials are ideal for communicating high-level information, like open enrollment dates and login information and the nitty-gritty details of annual benefits plans.
Fill in the gaps left by traditional print materials with creative digital solutions. Start by planning out a full benefits email campaign to reach your group’s workforce before, during and after open enrollment. Then, work to incorporate more video into benefits education through a video library that can be referenced throughout the year. Other digital options include a quick video postcard to announce OE dates and launching a full benefits website that can host all of the benefits materials in a single place.
While using multiple communication channels certainly has its advantages, messages can seem disjointed if not planned properly. Eliminate this issue by having your employer groups choose a festive theme for open enrollment. Having a theme will keep open enrollment fun and unify all of the HR communications.
Decision Support Tools
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a technology solution that could literally provide real-time assistance to employees when it mattered most?
Well, we’ve got great news – that exists!
Decision support is far from a new concept, though the past few years and advancements in technologies like AI have vastly improved the entire decision support experience. Solutions now exist that can be embedded directly within the benefits shopping experience to provide real-time help and recommendations. Many tools also support a quiz-like experience that collects information from employees and then recommends a health plan based on inputs.
Many benefits administration systems offer built-in decision support features while others partner with enterprise solutions, like ALEX by Jellyvision. Be sure that you are familiar with available options and that you are educating your employee groups about the latest solutions.
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