Employee benefits aren’t always simple. Only 7% of individuals can define terms like premium, deductible and coinsurance, according to UnitedHealthcare. Properly educating employees can help keep costs down for everyone and improve overall well-being.
- Start With Benefits 101
Employers should start educating with benefits 101 initiatives, assuming employees have no base knowledge. Resources in this area cover insurance basics, such as common terms, group health coverage ins and outs, vesting schedules and enrollment period restrictions.
- Explain What’s In It for Them
Employees, especially younger ones, will undoubtedly want to understand why it’s worth it to learn insurance basics. Employers should also provide education on more advanced insurance aspects like provider networks and how a little research can save employees thousands on medical procedures. Employers should be sure to explain that understanding health benefits can help employees save money, make smarter health care choices and present opportunities for greater investment potential.
- Vary the Messaging
White papers and handouts from insurance providers are good places to start, but young employees typically respond better to more engaging messaging. Examples include email announcements, PowerPoints, videos, mail-home flyers, posters and comprehensive packets. Employers should use several formats to help reinforce benefits literacy among employees and capture more attention.
- Don’t Stop Educating
There are always new topics to explain to employees—especially younger ones—including when to request a life event, how to use telemedicine, how to fill a prescription, when to visit urgent care over the emergency room and who qualifies as a dependent. Employers should consider implementing a communication schedule each year, touching on different benefits topics each month.
- Be There for Questions
Employers should have a dedicated person on their HR team to help answer benefits-related questions. This individual should be available to respond to emails as well as attend in-person or virtual meetings. Additionally, employers should consider requiring all employees to meet with HR at least once before open enrollment. Consider holding one-on-one meetings to help encourage employees to ask questions that they may not feel comfortable asking in larger groups.