Today marks National Insurance Day— a day that aims to spotlight what for many is a daunting, confusing, and sometimes painful aspect of their lives. For most Americans, insurance is an enigma of complex paperwork that deters them from getting value out of the benefits they have available to them.
The reality is that when it comes to health insurance, there’s evidence indicating that more often than not, people don’t fully understand what they’ve purchased, or what medical care is actually covered. In fact, two-thirds of Americans can’t correctly define concepts such as healthcare premiums, co-payments and deductibles, and a quarter of Americans forego healthcare because they don’t know what their health insurance plan covers in 2022.
When 49% of the country obtains major medical insurance through their employment, there’s a clear opportunity for employers to find new ways to make health insurance offerings more legible so people can use their benefits with confidence. While employers most commonly put forth focused efforts towards education and communication in the weeks leading up to the annual enrollment period, these resources won’t work alone to help people understand what they’re being offered. There isn’t one answer, but there are many places we can start.
Here are some ways to arm your team with the tools to better understand their coverage year-round so they can protect the things they care about—
Show up in the moments that matter, no matter when they happen
At any time, employees may have circumstances that qualify them to elect additional coverage: for example, enrolling a dependent in a plan after marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, or even the dependent’s loss of other coverage. As individuals bring life events to your attention, there’s a chance to reinforce messages about available benefits. For example, if an employee approaches you for information about disability or family leave benefits for an upcoming maternity leave, you can use this conversation to remind them of the guidelines for adding new dependents to their health insurance coverage.
Offer on-the-go resources that are easily accessible
We know there’s also a need for more comprehensive education about how to use insurance benefits effectively. Member websites, mobile apps, and digital support such as chat functions are all things to look for in carrier services, so that employees can easily find details about out-of-pocket costs, network requirements, and other policy information. Other features to promote consistently, as available, include health plan incentives awarded for tracking physical exercise or other wellness activities. Subject matter expertise, through in-person, telephonic or electronic means is impactful, as long as the workforce is aware of how to access these resources.
Set your team up with dedicated support options
Part of the challenge of improving our knowledge about health insurance is knowing what questions to ask. Newer solutions in the marketplace are product offerings which focus on providing advocacy for individuals, including guidance with medical bill review, interpretation of plan language, or facilitating provider interaction. Having an independent resource available to support individual circumstances can go a long way in relieving anxiety about the complexities of healthcare and costs.
Keep the communication simple
As with most things, communication is key. Consider how you can provide information in a repeatable way that recognizes diverse employee demographics and the different ways information is absorbed: visually, verbally, and through written materials. Keeping “Did You Know?” information prominent will remind them to review options and be cognisant of time-sensitive actions, such as benefit election deadlines.
Choose benefits that made for a broad range of needs
A key factor to attract and retain talent is the availability of comprehensive benefit packages.
Access to, and utilization of health benefits is a win-win for organizations and individuals. Ensuring that your employees understand the features of their coverage, especially the most fundamental aspects of health insurance, is one way to demonstrate all the ways you support your teams.