Don’t skimp on explainingWhile some employees’ eyes are bound to gloss over while someone is explaining the various plan options, their networks, their copays, deductibles and more, it pays to take the time to explain them step by step. That means breaking the benefits down to the basics in language anyone can understand. Avoid getting bogged down in health insurance jargon and keep it simple. The simpler the better. Don’t think of it as talking down to your employees, because there’s a good chance some of them are not familiar with how health coverage works. Encourage questions, by telling them there are no stupid questions. Invite employees to speak one-on-one with your benefits point person if they have questions they’d rather ask privately.
Make benefits communications all year longWhen the new year starts and open enrollment is in the mirror, most employers don’t reach out to staff until a few weeks before the next year’s enrollment period starts. Plan now for regular benefits communications throughout next year. Send them e-mails and materials during the course of the year that remind them to consider how their current coverage is measuring up to their needs. This is especially important if someone’s health situation changes. They may be looking to make a change during the next open enrollment, and feeding them periodic memos about their coverage can help them educate themselves and prepare. Communications could include explainers about cafeteria plans, health savings accounts, how to use their health benefits wisely, and more.
Know your crewAfter open enrollment, run a report looking at what plans your employees are signed up for and see if they are concentrated in certain plans. Many employees when choosing health plans ask their co-workers, which often leads to them choosing a plan that is not optimum for them since there are many factors that may vary, including:
- Their age.
- Whether or not they are married.
- Whether or not they have children.
- Their health situation.