How To Prevent Bad Employee Benefits Decisions
August 15, 2019
Jill Garrison
Timer  Read Time: 4 minutes

It’s no secret that employee benefits are one of the largest items on a company’s balance sheet. In fact, 2016 data reports that 7.5% of a company’s operating budget, on average, is spent on providing health care benefits.

There’s a fine line to walk between offering appealing employee perks to remain competitive and keeping company costs in check.

The best way to manage these concerns? Help employees make better benefits decisions.

The average health care plan costs employers $8,669 per employee per year (per SHRM). The worst part? Many employees are overinsured and are paying for health care plans and products that they don’t fully use. Even a small percentage of over-coverage is a waste of money for both your company and your employees.

So, how do you support the employee benefits shopping experience and encourage more informed decisions?

Through strategic decision support tools and year-round employee communication.

Employee Communication

Don’t limit your benefits communications to open enrollment! Instead, keep benefits and education top of mind throughout the year with a comprehensive communication plan. Ideas include:

  • Host quarterly or monthly educational events
  • Email – Sent out reminders for events or an HR newsletter
  • Video library for educational videos
  • Text message alerts for important events or announcements
  • Print materials posted in public areas to promote events or educational item
  • Benefits website – host all materials in one place

Have an annual plan in place with specific initiatives and touch points throughout the year leading up to your open enrollment period. And don’t forget about your remote employees—it’s important to proactively educate and engage this group to the same degree you educate and engage on-site or in-house workers. Finally, follow up with a benefits satisfaction survey to gather employee feedback on areas of improvement for the upcoming year.

Video Support

PPOs and HMOs and HDHPs – oh my! Benefits are complex and constantly changing, and questions about insurance jargon and plan options are common. Do you find yourself answering the same questions year after year? If so, an educational video library could solve all of your problems (well, some of them, anyway).

Video is one of the most simple and effective mediums to educate employees on complex benefits concepts. And, video can be referenced year-round for on-demand education or be placed directly into the benefits shopping experience (if you are using a benefits administration platform that supports this functionality).

Personalized Recommendations

Providing one-on-one employee support during open enrollment can be tricky. Not only is your HR department already stretched thin during this hectic time, but providing benefits advice can be a slippery slope. Mitigate this concern with a benefits technology that offers personalized and informed benefits recommendations. Interested employees would be able to take a short quiz that asks simple questions about their household and lifestyle. From there, the recommendation engine would calculate the most ideal plan based on the responses provided. It’s that easy! This will not only better serve your employees with real-time support, but will also alleviate this burden from your HR department.

Putting It All Together

Adoption of a high deductible health plan is the perfect example of where decision support can be a radical tool to better educate employees to make better decisions. Just the term ‘high deductible’ can be scary and a huge turn-off during the benefits shopping process. However, by taking the time to truly educate employees on this type of health plan and using a rule-based recommendation engine, the HDHP suddenly becomes more of a personal financial decision rather than just another misunderstood and ignored insurance plan.

The most important takeaway on supporting better benefits decisions is to take a holistic approach. No single method or communication channel will work for every single employee, so implement year-round, on-demand education paired with real-time tools to make sure employees feel empowered throughout the year to make the best decisions.

Need A Helping Hand?

You’ve come to the right place! PlanSource offers a full suite of decision support tools and employee communication services. Contact us below to see how PlanSource can help your employee groups make better benefits decisions.

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