Employee Education - Maximizing the Success of a New Health Benefits Program

Written by: Christina Merhar
Originally published on October 3, 2013. Last updated January 19, 2017.

One of the most important considerations of offering a "pure" defined contribution health benefit, or any type of employee health benefits program, is employee education and company onboarding. Because let’s face it; even when the health benefits are awesome, many employees are not familiar with choosing their own policies. Change can be hard. Additionally, small businesses offering health benefits for the first time may not have access to the resources of larger businesses, and may skip over this important step of employee education and onboarding. So, what should the employee education and onboarding process look like? 

Onboarding and Education

Three Best Practices for Employee Education and Onboarding

Here are three best practices for employee education and onboarding with new defined contribution health benefits.

1. Educate Employees on the Benefits of Defined Contribution: Take the time to educate employees on how defined contribution health benefits work, and how they will benefit personally. This will contribute to their understanding and happiness with defined contribution health benefits. Work with your defined contribution software provider to offer employees tailored resources, such as welcome packets, webinar training sessions, online account access, and help and support tutorials. 

2. Communicate with Employees Early-On & Frequently: Make the communication a two way street between HR and employees, and check in frequently. Many companies make assumptions about what employees prefer or understand when it comes to health benefits. By keeping communication open, you can address questions early-on, and measure employees' overall satisfaction with the health benefits.

3. Provide a Health Insurance Broker or Consultant to Help Employees: With pure defined contribution health benefits, employees purchase their own individual health insurance. This is a new experience for many employees. Make a licensed health insurance broker or consultant available to employees to help them select and purchase plans. This will help them choose plans that best fit their individual needs, and reinforce that you care about them and their health care.

What Employees Need to Know About Defined Contribution Health Benefits

Through out these steps outlined above, communicate with employees so that they understand:

  • What is a defined contribution health benefit is, including how their monthly healthcare allowance is and the basic concept of defined contribution.

  • The benefits of individual health insurance and defined contribution such as plan choice, flexibility, and cost-savings.

  • How to request reimbursement and use their defined contribution employee portal.

Tools for Employee Education and Onboarding

Work with your defined contribution health benefits software provider to put together a custom employee education and onboarding process for your company. These should include the following resources and tools:

  • Electronic Welcome Kits for employees (ex: PDFs to email to employees and/or print and include in a packet)

  • An online help and support center with tutorials for employees and your HR or payroll team

  • A live support team knowledgeable about defined contribution health benefits and health care reform

What are your tips for successful employee education and onboarding with new defined contribution health benefits? Leave a comment below.

Originally published on October 3, 2013. Last updated January 19, 2017.


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