How to Educate Employees About Their Healthcare Plan

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Posted by: CMR May 23, 2022 No Comments

Gift-giving can be difficult in the best of times, but when you’re a busy high school senior on a tight budget, it’s even more challenging. My brother-in-law Drew drove to Walmart in his teens to buy his mom a Christmas gift with only $10 in his pocket. The ironing board cover he purchased boasted a perfect pattern with all her favorite colors. Trouble was, she didn’t iron. 

His thoughtful gesture is now a funny family memory, and while Christmas may be far from your thoughts right now, this is unfortunately what happens in healthcare every day: Oftentimes the choices made for employees are based on budget and urgency rather than on what they really want or need. 

Advisers work hard to deliver an outcome that is beneficial to the employee populations we serve — without breaking the client’s budget. But if the decision doesn’t produce the right outcome, then no one benefits. No matter what it costs to implement, a plan with high deductibles, confusing coverage guidelines and frustrating systems to navigate is just plain bad for employees. 

In reality, employees don’t appreciate the millions spent on healthcare, or fully understand that budgetary restrictions drive decisions. But adopting a new strategy will address cost frustrations and employee dissatisfaction with their plan.

First, be sure that connections are made between healthcare objectives and budgetary restrictions. It’s also important to relay intentions to health plan members and show the value of what is being put into their plan.

Here are three points to consider when helping employers design and deliver their healthcare program: 

Adjust their perspective
Employers need to view buying healthcare from the employee’s vantage point, not the executive team, insurance company or broker. The health plan design should include what the employee population needs most and avoid any recommended cookie-cutter approach. This way, healthcare dollars will be used in the most efficient way possible, and it’s our job as advisers to help make that happen. 

Consider employee feedback
Employee feedback is paramount if they’re ever going to fully appreciate the effort and money spent on healthcare. You don’t want to buy them an ironing board cover if they don’t iron, after all. But how will clients know the difference? Personal interviews, questionnaires and advanced research systems are all techniques to find out what employees think about their current healthcare plan and what they’re asking for. 

Employers also can conduct a utilization review of their plan to establish what employees are using and how often. This can be done with the help of an adviser who will review the data with HR and the leadership team, helping decide what the best course of action is while staying within a budget.

Invest in education
Education and training between employers and employees must be enhanced. This can feel like a dry topic that many don’t want to engage in, but at the very least, employees need to understand where they can find answers to pressing questions. Otherwise, how will they ever use their health plan effectively? 

They may not want to learn everything up front, but important information should be readily available, and they should know how to access that information quickly. Without employee understanding, no matter how perfectly designed the plan is, those efforts may be fruitless. If they don’t understand the plan, then chances are they won’t use it — and then they really can’t appreciate it.

In healthcare, employees may recognize the attempt made to offer a comprehensive plan, but they don’t always appreciate the outcome. My brother-in-law is now a great gift-giver, and even though he may not have given the right gift for his mom that year, when it comes to our loved ones, the thought is really what counts. 

Intent in healthcare, however, is not always enough because of how much is at stake: employee health and wellbeing, financial security and safety. Healthcare or health insurance is one of the largest expenses any business has, and the cost should be beneficial to the entire organization.

Employers need to create an employee success service model that is valuable for all stakeholders in the company. That means taking control and making the health plan an integral part of their culture, benefits, compensation and employee-engagement strategy.  

Get obsessed with the employee deliverable from their vantage point. My brother-in-law learned this about gift-giving, and he is now an intentional gift-giver who is thoughtful and generous. It’s easy to tell that he cares deeply about what a person would want or need before choosing what to buy.

That same mindset can transform your client’s benefits package. Only then will their employees be able to appreciate the millions spent on healthcare.

Source – benefitnews.com

CMR Employee Benefit Services

Author: CMR

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