The Forest Through the Trees
Getting The Most Out of Voluntary Benefits
Well folks, I know you have all seen or heard the trend that‘s been happening over recent years. Faced with rising premiums, Healthcare Reform mandates, and a shift in what we expect from employer provided benefits (hello millennials), many employers are moving to more of a ‘consumerism’ approach regarding their healthcare plans. This means greater cost-sharing from employees in the area of higher deductibles and out of pocket limits.
With more potential out of pocket costs shifted to the employees, employers need to make sure they have a strategy around offering a complete benefit package. A strategic plan that complements your medical plan, gives employees appropriate choices, while giving them a sense of security and helping the company meet their goals as well.
An important part of this is to offer your employees voluntary benefits (that’s right, no cost to you). These benefits will continue to become more important well beyond 2016. Planned and executed correctly, voluntary benefits have the ability to enhance the value of your existing benefits package.
Benefits such as critical illness, accident, long-term care, cancer and hospital indemnity plans will help provide employees with a financial safety net. Knowing they have plans that will help cover unexpected medical costs will help keep employee’s minds on their jobs and not on monetary concerns. (Can you say “win-win”?)
Employers not only benefit by offering a complete benefit package, but since voluntary insurance is typically offered at no direct cost to employer, it’s a financially sound strategy as well. Not to mention that the employee’s payroll deductions are often tax free, which also reduces the employer’s tax burden. (Another big “win-win”)
Now here is where most employers usually get fooled – While they want to do the right thing for their employees, and reap the benefits as well, most of them fall short in conveying the value that these plans have to their employees. How can your employees appreciate the benefits they are being offered, if they don’t understand how they work or how it can benefit them and their family?
Employers need to see the forest through the trees and invest the time to educate their employees (and spouses when appropriate) on the specifics surrounding their benefits.
So to wrap this up (for now), here are four tips you and your consultant should be using to guarantee a successful communication plan:
- Make sure communication is clear and easy to understand. It needs to be as relatable to your employees as possible.
- No ‘insurance speak.’ Use real life situations and examples.
- Customize specifically for your employees. One size doesn’t fit all here. Use different types of communication and training. People learn and retain information in different ways. Using multiple approaches guarantees to cover everyone’s learning style.
- Make sure to take the appropriate amount of time necessary to fully explain their benefits. Taking one hour a year (unfortunately not uncommon) to discuss all of this important information isn’t going to cut it folks! (Yeah, I’m talking to you.)
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- Employee Benefits, Easy as 1-2-3 Webinar Replay
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