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Avoid Rock, Paper, Scissors Decisions: How to Help Your Employees Enroll in Better Benefits

Avoid Rock, Paper, Scissors Decisions: How to Help Your Employees Enroll in Better Benefits
Posted on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 by Businessolver Team
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With Annual Enrollment just around the corner, it’s important to start thinking about how your employees choose their benefits without making chance decisions. 

Rock-paper-scissor-When it comes to benefits, there are so many options out there that it’s easy for employees to become disoriented and confused. As HR and benefits professionals, we wear two hats in this situation. We are experts, but we are also benefits consumers ourselves. How do we make sure our expertise doesn’t get in the way of our education efforts? Let’s put our consumer hat on first.

Being a benefits consumer

As benefits consumers, we have the opportunity to research and educate ourselves on our healthcare choices and take more control of our spending. However, the abundance of information can be overwhelming, confusing, and could eventually lead us to avoid research all together. We are busy people with schedules and social lives, and benefits decisions often fall to the bottom of the to-do list.

Employees don’t want to shop for benefits

We recently discovered that employees, on average, browse Netflix looking for something to watch longer than they spend shopping for and electing their benefits. How do we as HR professionals provide enough information and education to help our employees make smart decisions, while still understanding that they may easily get overwhelmed with the choices in front of them?

The answer is not easy, nor is there only one way to do it. But with healthcare costs on the rise, we do know that we need to find ways to drive down costs by encouraging employees to use the information we provide to make smart benefit elections.

According to a recent survey, the percentage of high out-of-pocket spenders has increased over time. In 2015, nearly a quarter of employees enrolled in insurance spent $1,000 or more on healthcare services and more than 1 in 10 workers spent over $2,000. It’s this fear of high out-of-pocket costs that actually prevents your employees from seeking care when they may need it most.

In fact, in a recent national poll, 44 percent of Americans said they didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick because of financial concerns. We are so plagued by the thought of paying high out-of-pocket costs that many of us are avoiding the care that could help keep us healthy in the first place.

Clearly, this isn’t good for anyone. We need to put solutions in place that empower consumers to make educated benefits decisions and then in turn, ensure they use those benefits wisely. There are several tools that can help.

  1. Decision Support – Decision support tools can go a long way in helping employees understand which plan might be the best fit for their needs based on their financial, emotional and physical state. Our MyChoice℠ Recommendation Engine was built to provide employees with a holistic recommendation.
  1. Provider Lookup – As we learned above, fear of paying high costs at the doctor can be a deterrent to getting needed care. So what if we included your preferred providers in the enrollment? Our provider lookup tool allows the employee to add their preferred provider to their profile so they can see which providers are in-network for each plan offered. If a specific provider is critical to someone’s care, they can make wise benefit decisions that allow them to continue to see that provider at the lowest cost.
  1. Transparency/Rating tools – Again, we know that healthcare costs are going up and the difference in a procedure from one hospital to another can vary by a significant amount. Consider giving your employees access to a transparency/rating tool that gives them guidance into what clinic, provider or hospital is the best fit both by quality and price. These tools can be added to your benefits portal for easy access.

While healthcare is complicated and the amount of information can be overwhelming, there are tools and resources available to help employees feel more confident in their decisions and ensure they continue to receive the care they need. Let’s make our employees better stewards of their health and, in turn, reduce unnecessary healthcare costs.

Want to learn more about turning your employees from passive users to engaged benefits consumers?

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