Communicating the Value of Your Health Benefit Plan

You’ve worked hard to choose and provide the right group health benefit plan for your employees. The premiums are reasonable, the deductibles are low and plan participants have a good choice of health care providers.

That’s a good start, but there’s something else you should do — educate your employees. The more your employees know about their benefit plans, the smarter decisions they’ll make for their well-being, health and pocketbook.

Here are some reasons you should work with your health plan broker to provide ongoing education to your employees:

Plan Changes

Unfortunately, many employees just re-enroll without really researching what they are buying. They generally are aware of the premiums and deductibles, but may not know that there are other benefits associated with their plans.

When you announce the new plan, email or distribute literature describing the new plan benefits. Emphasize if there are any major changes to the plans you are offering. It’s easy for employees to assume that plans that cost the same offer the same benefits — and that is not necessarily the case.

Encourage your employees to go to the carrier’s website to check to see if their doctor is still in the network. If your new plan is in a limited network, it will cost your employees more money if their doctors are no longer in-network.

Lesser-known Benefits

Telemedicine is quickly becoming a popular benefit. It lets health plan members call a board-certified physician any time of the day to get medical advice. Many times, the physician will have access to a patient’s health records and can prescribe medications. Telemedicine improves access for patients in rural areas who are not near medical centers. It’s also important for those who have an immediate need for help after offices are closed, and it’s an aid for those who can’t or don’t want to sit in a doctor’s office waiting for their appointment.

Some health plans offer access to a Center of Excellence for surgery. A Center of Excellence is a program offered by a health care facility that specializes in a particular medical treatment and offers exceptional expertise. Some health plans will recommend certain Centers of Excellence for members who need surgery and will even pay transportation costs to the centers.

The Value of the Employee Portal

An employee portal can hold a vast amount of information about an employee’s health plan. They can access their plan information any time day or night. Plan members also can find out the status of their claims.

A self-service site also allows members to update their profile and change their login name, email address and password.

Effective Communication

One of the biggest advantages of frequently communicating with your employees about their benefits is that it shows that you care about them. It also helps them make better decisions.

Many brokers will facilitate one-on-one or group training sessions where employees get more information and can ask questions about their benefits.

You also can identify “value champions” — employees who understand and realize the value of the plan. Value champions spread important information about the plan and explain it to others.

You also can include employee testimonials in your employee newsletter.

USI Northeast employs in-house regional resources to work with clients on custom communications strategies for benefits engagement. Reach out to your USI representative or email us at usi.metro@usi.com today to learn more about brochures, posters, emails, workshops and other tactics that can help educate your employees about their benefit plan.

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