What comes to mind when you hear ‘high deductible health plan’?
Expensive? Confusing? Headache-inducing?
Just the thought of promoting a high deductible plan is enough to make some HR professionals cringe. Despite some negative perceptions, HDHPs do play an important role in a well-rounded employee benefits package.
Not only are HDHPs a great way to cut costs across your organization and keep money in your employees’ pockets, but also a great way to utilize supplemental, tax-advantaged tools like health savings accounts.
It’s time to break the benefits barrier and put your HDHP front and center! See our top tips for increasing HDHP enrollment.
Tip #1: Know Your Audience(s)
Why would an HDHP be right for the different groups within your workforce? And, how do these individual employee segments like to be communicated with? A recent college graduate likely has different needs, concerns and communication preferences than an employee approaching retirement. By offering personalized communications to each of your workforce segments you will better engage and convert these groups to a high-deductible plan.
As an example, the cost is likely an important factor for recent graduates and young professionals paying for their own health insurance. Highlight the lower premiums and the benefit of having an HSA (if applicable). Network availability might be a pain point for mid to late-career individuals that are seeking affordable health care without the restrictions of an HMO plan. Of course, these are just two simple examples. The best way to get to know your workforce is to ask! Implement annual or semi-annual surveys to gauge preferences and segment employees accordingly.
Tip #2: Take A Holistic Approach To Education
Open enrollment should not be the first time employees hear about your high deductible health plan. Even if you are rolling out a new HDHP for this year’s OE, you should be educating your workforce in advance to prepare for the new offering.
For larger organizations, hosting a health fair is a great way to engage your employees and kick-start the OE season. Be sure you have literature and materials ready to introduce your upcoming plans, including plenty of resources to help explain how a high deductible plan works. Be honest about the pros and cons of each plan, as each plan you offer does provide important nuances that can greatly impact cost and coverage.
Speaking of resources, you’ll want to be sure all of your OE materials are updated to reflect plan changes. Though written materials are still important, do not forget to incorporate digital elements into your communications plans. This could be anything from a video postcard that announces your OE dates to a full benefits website that hosts all of your materials in one central location.
Video is a particularly effective way to convey important and complex information in a format that is easy to absorb. Consider in investing in a benefits video library to help explain these complicated details in an easy, user-friendly way. And, depending on your benefits enrollment platform, you might even be able to embed video directly into the benefits shopping experience, providing on-demand education when it matters the most.
Check out our blog on employee benefits education tactics for more ideas and inspiration!
Tip #3: Use Smart Plan Design And Language
Just the words ‘high deductible’ can be a huge turnoff and is not the best way to make a good first impression. When introducing an HDHP, consider re-naming the plan to something more relevant and appealing. The goal, of course, is not to deceive employees, but rather to shine a better light on the HDHP. An example would be to re-name the HDHP an ‘HSA Eligible’ plan. Or, if you offer various levels of coverage and pricing, consider an easy-to-understand tiered naming convention, like a ‘bronze’, ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ health plan.
Aside from better positioning the HDHP, make sure that your plans are different enough to stand out from one another. This includes differences in premiums and deductibles. If the premium for your HDHP is fairly similar to one of your PPO offerings, what’s the incentive to sign up for the high deductible plan?
For your HDHP specifically, incorporate an HSA into your benefits and offer a contribution, if possible. And, make sure you clearly communicate how the HSA works and the benefits of having the account! Many employees might not know that HSA contributions are tax-deductible, that withdrawals are tax-free and that interest on earnings is tax-deferred. And, an HSA account rolls over annually and is fully owned by the employee. These are huge selling points!
Do you have any other tips on how to increase HDHP enrollment? What’s worked for your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Work With Employee Communications Mavericks
Do you need help selling your HDHP or with open enrollment in general? PlanSource offers several employee communications solutions for any budget and group size. Contact us below to schedule your no-strings-attached consultation!