How To Help Your Employees Understand Their Health Benefits
Employee health benefits are an essential part of a compensation package in the workplace – it can help to attract and retain talented employees. But even as important as they are, employees are often confused and overwhelmed by the complexity of these benefits.
Employees avoid spending time understanding them, leaving benefits underutilized. Suddenly, their health benefits become more of a stressor than a bonus.
Let’s explore how you can reduce confusion around employee health benefits and provide practical steps for employers to help their teams maximize their advantages.
What Do Employee Health Benefits Include?
Employee health benefits are an important part of any job offer, and employees typically have a general understanding of what it entails. The features and benefits are going to be specific to each organization, but typically there are broad things that every benefits program will include:
Preventative Care: Annual wellness exams, immunizations, and cancer screenings are some of the most common.
Hospital Stays and Surgery: Employee health benefits will typically cover a portion of the cost, and the employee is responsible for paying a deductible, copay, or coinsurance.
Prescription Drugs: Health benefits typically cover prescription drugs. Most health benefit plans require the employee to pay a copay for each prescription. Many plans offer a tiered plan, where certain drugs have reduced costs.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment: Most employee health plans cover mental health and substance abuse treatment services. There may be limitations on the number of sessions or the type of services covered.
Maternity and Newborn Care: Most employee health plans cover maternity and newborn care services. Like many of the other benefits, there are likely deductibles, copays, and/or coinsurance that employees are responsible for paying.
What Do Employee Health Benefits Not Include?
Employees have access to a lot of different features and benefits within their employee health and benefits package. While this is great, there are still gaps to fill in the overall health and well-being of the workforce that aren’t met by these, often reactive, benefit offerings.
Fresh Tri works hard to bridge the gap by providing a free app to employees and everyone interested in accelerating their path to overall health and wellness. It’s based on new brain science and it’s the key to lasting behavior change, health, and happiness.
Rather than employing reactive health care, the Iterative Mindset MethodTM and the Fresh Tri app are proactive, proven, customizable, and scalable solutions for a wide range of whole-health goals.
With Fresh Tri and the Iterative Mindset MethodTM, employers can drive clinical outcomes and increase retention rate and engagement, especially for high-risk, high-cost individuals.
So what does that look like in practice?
There are three steps within the Iterative Mindset MethodTM: assessment, iteration, and practice.
Within the app, participants are encouraged to select an area of focus to iterate on, whether it be eating healthy, managing stress, moving more, or thinking positively. The app then gently nudges participants along their journey, step by step, as they iterate toward building sustainable habits.
Participants also have access to the Fresh Tri community, where they have access to the support they need to meet their goals. This includes community forums as well as education and resources based on their chosen area of effort.
This may seem like a pretty far departure from the features of an employee health benefits program, but that’s because it‘s proactive rather than reactive. It’s a flexible, fun, and engaging way to help your employees improve their overall health and well-being.
Happy, healthy employees are the best kind of employees.
Why Are Employees Confused?
Health benefits are complex – there’s no doubt about it. What is it about these programs that get employees hung up?
Overwhelm: Talking about health insurance is almost as enjoyable as having dental work done. With so many options, complex terminology, and endless paperwork, employees quickly become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information.
Stress: Health benefits come with direct and indirect financial stressors. Premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket premiums can be a significant source of stress. Despite their importance, employees can quickly become stressed when attempting to decipher how these components work together.
Lack of Information: On average, employees spend 18 minutes enrolling in benefits during open enrollment – this is hardly enough time to digest the program benefits and make a well-informed decision.
Share Tools For Informed Decisions
To break down the barrier of information overwhelm, make it easy for your employees to understand their health benefits. Take it one step further and show them how to use these tools!
Plan Comparison Tools: When employees can compare different plan features, like premiums, coverage, and provider networks, they are more easily able to choose the plan that fits their needs.
Flexible Spending Calculators: By implementing calculators that can estimate the flexible spending account (FSA) contributions, you can help to reduce the financial overwhelm.
Cost Estimation Tools: The cost is a huge driver of health benefits enrollment. Provide resources for estimating out-of-pocket medical costs, allowing employees to plan their healthcare expenses more effectively.
Make it simple to understand – this will help your employees understand their health benefits.
Break Down Definitions: Health insurance jargon can give anyone a headache, so break it down into simple-to-understand language. Provide clear definitions of terms such as co-pay, deductible, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximum.
Benefits Portal or Playbook: Create a user-friendly benefits portal or playbook where employees can access easy-to-understand information about their benefits.
Training Sessions: A quick 30-minute workshop or training session can significantly reduce the barrier to understanding employee benefits. Cover topics like what an EAP (Employee Assistance Program) is and how it may benefit employees.
Survey Employees: Surveys can help you identify the type of information employees find most useful and how they prefer to receive it. Some groups may prefer in-person learning, whereas others prefer to learn at their own pace.
Anonymous Question Box: Create an anonymous question box or online forum where employees can ask questions without fear of judgment. This can help ensure everyone receives the information they need to make the best decisions for their employee health benefits.
Tailor Communications to Diverse Groups
Beyond simplifying the language used, employers need to tailor the communications to diverse groups of employees.
Here are several ways you can tailor your communications:
Demographic Analysis: Review the demographics of your workforce. This will help you to understand the specific needs and preferences of the employee groups at your organization. You may identify trends in age, for example, which gives you insight into their preferred communication style.
Language Preferences: Are your employee health benefits documents only in English? You may have employees who speak another language and would appreciate understanding their benefits in their native language. Creating collateral in different languages can significantly reduce the barrier to employee participation and understanding.
Customized Content: At each stage of our lives, our priorities change when it comes to our health and wellness. The same can be said about our needs from an employee benefit program. The messages used to share health benefit features can be tailored to meet your employees where they’re at and with the benefits they truly need.
Beat Confusion And Support Employee Wellbeing
We understand how difficult it can be to address the needs of every employee in your organization – after all, their needs are incredibly diverse. But, ensuring employees understand their health benefits is critical to keeping your workforce productive and healthy.
Fresh Tri drives clinical outcomes, high retention and engagement, one mindset at a time. Our brain-based approach delivers sustainable change in health behaviors, especially for high-risk, high-cost individuals. Ultimately, we help your members build healthier, happier lives. This translates to lower healthcare costs and reduced workforce strain and turnover.
Are you ready to Tri a new approach to employee well-being?