More and more, employers are transitioning employees to individual health insurance. While there are many benefits of individual health insurance, studies show that employees are nervous about being in the driver's seat. As more employers give their employees the opportunity to take control of their healthcare, what can you do to help employees understand their health insurance options?
Here are three tips for educating employees on health insurance options.
1) Help Employees Understand Health Insurance 101
Even though health insurance is becoming more transparent and easier to understand, most employees do not fully understand the basic terms of health insurance.
A recent study from Carnegie Mellon University found that the majority consumers do not understand basic health insurance concepts. In fact, only 14% of respondents could correctly define all four of these basic health insurance concepts: deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums. And yet, most respondents said they believed they understood these terms.
By helping employees understand the basics of health insurance, they will be more confident in selecting a health insurance plan that fits their unique health and family needs.
Bonus Tip: Present the information in a fun and visual way, and in multiple formats. Employees will better understand, apply, and retain the information.
2) Provide Resources for Exploring Health Insurance Options
The second tip is to provide employees resources on health insurance options, such as where to shop for a policy and how to get questions answered.
Many employers transitioning employees to individual health insurance utilize a broker to work with employees one-on-one. Brokers can help employees run through different medical scenarios under different plans to understand their potential health care costs over the course of the year, and can answer specific questions about terms and coverage.
Employers can also provide information on the public Health Insurance Marketplace in their state (ex: www.healthcare.gov).
Bonus Tip: If your company is using defined contribution software to reimburse employees' individual health insurance, the provider likely offers an insurance concierge service to help employees with health insurance options.
3) On-Going Engagement & Support
Lastly, to help employees fully understand their health insurance options and benefits, they need on-going engagement and support. Employees will need more than an annual meeting. They need on-going and regular engagement about how to use their health benefits and how health reform legislation impacts them.
These on-going activities and communication will help them understand and value the health benefits provided to them, and reinforce that the company cares about their health.
For more general tips on employee education see: Maximizing the Success of a New Health Benefits Program.
What are your tips for educating employees about health insurance options? Leave a comment below.