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Increasing engagement in your health benefit

Health Benefits • May 7, 2024 at 7:37 AM • Written by: Holly Bengfort

Employee health benefits are a crucial aspect of any company's overall benefits package. Not only do they help keep employees healthy and happy, but they can also increase productivity and reduce absenteeism. However, simply offering health benefits isn’t enough. To truly maximize the impact of these benefits, you need to have engaged employees who actually use them.

In this article, we'll go over five ways you can increase employee engagement in your health benefits.

Takeaways from this blog post:

  • Offering healthcare benefits sets an organization apart as a responsible employer that prioritizes employee well-being.
  • Health benefits can improve job satisfaction and decrease staff turnover by showing employees that they're cared for.
  • Personalized benefits, clear communication, regular surveys, and opportunities for learning can increase employee engagement in health benefits.

Want more tips on how to recruit and retain your employees? Get our guide!

The importance of offering a health benefit

Offering healthcare benefits sets your organization apart as a responsible employer that prioritizes employee well-being. This creates a positive relationship with your employees since it shows them you care. On top of that, it entices job seekers to apply.

According to our 2024 Employee Benefits Survey, 81% of employees said an employer’s benefits package is an important factor in whether or not they accept a job. Health benefits are also the most desired employee benefit, with 92% of employees rating them as important.

Health benefits can also have a positive impact on job satisfaction and staff turnover. When engaged employees feel cared for by their employer, they're less likely to look for better opportunities elsewhere.

How to increase employee engagement in healthcare benefits

There's no good in offering a health benefit that your employees don't use. If your employees aren’t using their benefits, they won’t reap the rewards. It can also be frustrating to spend money on benefits that see little to no use. Let's go over five strategies that can help you improve employee satisfaction and engagement with your health benefits.

1. Provide personalized benefits

Traditional group health insurance is the standard choice among many employers. But, this can be the easier choice rather than the most effective option. Group health insurance is one-size-fits-all. Your employees don't get a say in their coverage or the healthcare professionals that they're supposed to trust with their care. Plus, employers are stuck with a hefty price tag—not to mention the annual rate hikes and steep participation rates that come with a group plan.

The first employee engagement strategy is to provide personalized health benefits. If you want to go the extra mile to improve the employee experience at your organization, you should offer a healthcare benefit that's tailored to meet their needs. You can do this through a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA).

HRAs are IRS-approved, employer-funded health benefits. They allow you to reimburse your employees for their individual insurance premiums rather than purchasing the coverage for them. This can also lead to better patient experiences for your employees since they have more control over their healthcare choices.

Here are some of the most popular HRAs you can offer:

  • The qualified small employer HRA (QSEHRA): The QSEHRA is for small employers with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). All W-2 employees qualify for this benefit, but they must have coverage that meets the minimum essential coverage (MEC) standard to receive reimbursements.
  • The individual coverage HRA (ICHRA): The ICRHA works for employers of all sizes. Employees need their own individual insurance coverage to participate. A major benefit of the ICHRA is the flexibility it gives employers. They can customize allowances for different employee classes, such as full-time or part-time workers.
  • The group coverage HRA (GCHRA): The GCHRA, or integrated HRA, works alongside group health insurance. It provides additional coverage for out-of-pocket medical expenses your group plan doesn't cover, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments.

With an HRA, employers simply set an allowance amount of tax-free money for their employees to use on their healthcare expenses. Employees can purchase an individual policy on the Health Insurance Marketplace using their own money. They can also buy necessary medical treatment or items. After that, they submit their expenses for reimbursement. Once the employer approves the eligible expense, they can reimburse the employee up to their allowance amount.

Some examples of HRA-eligible expenses include:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Over-the-counter medicine
  • Medical treatment
  • Dental care
  • Vision care
  • Chiropractic care
  • Mental health counseling

2. Communicate clearly and frequently

Effective communication can also have a direct impact on increasing engagement in health benefits. Make sure to regularly update employees on the benefits available to them, how to access them, and any changes or updates to the benefits package. Utilize multiple communication channels, such as email, newsletters, intranet portals, and in-person meetings, to ensure that all employees receive the information.

3. Educate employees about their benefits

Many employees may not fully understand the range of health benefits available to them or how to best utilize them. Educating employees about their benefits gives employers the opportunity to make a meaningful difference since a study by MetLife1 revealed that 50% of employees believe that a better understanding of their benefits would increase their loyalty to their employer.

To help your employees better understand their health benefits, you can offer educational resources such as workshops, webinars, or one-on-one consultations with benefits experts.

For example, your HR team could hold quarterly meetings with a representative from your insurance provider to give employees a chance to ask their questions in person and put a face to the name.

You can also provide opportunities for learning through wellness guides, healthy recipes, and exercise tips to empower employees to take control of their health. By embracing continuous learning, engaged workers learn more about their benefits even after they're initially hired.

4. Offer incentives

If you want engaged workers, incentives can be a great way to encourage them to take advantage of their health benefits. Consider offering rewards or prizes for participating in wellness programs, completing health screenings, or reaching specific health goals. Incentives can range from gift cards to additional paid time off (PTO), depending on the budget and resources available.

5. Ask for feedback and listen to employees

Finally, if you want to improve the employee experience with health benefits, you should regularly solicit feedback from them. Ask for suggestions on how to improve the benefits package, what programs or services they would like to see added, and how the benefits have impacted their health and well-being.

Sending out employee surveys once or twice a year is an easy way to get a pulse-check on how your employees feel about their benefits, whether or not they understand them, and if they think something is missing. After you've sent the employee surveys out, take the responses and update your plan accordingly. This effective collaboration can help keep engaged staff interested in what you're offering.

How PeopleKeep can help

If you're used to traditional group health insurance, switching to an HRA may feel overwhelming. PeopleKeep offers user-friendly software that simplifies the process of offering tailor-made health benefits. Our services include documentation reviews for employee expenses, customer support, and generating federally required plan documents for compliance and privacy. Our team handles these tasks so you can focus on managing your business.


Numerous factors influence employee engagement in healthcare benefits. By following these tips, you can help your employees lead healthier, happier lives. Ultimately, having well-engaged staff can lead to increased productivity, reduced turnover, and a supportive work environment.

This article was originally published on January 10, 2022. It was last updated on May 7, 2024.

  1. https://metlife-prod-2019.adobecqms.net/about-us/newsroom/2023/september/employees-who-want-happiness-and-stability-cant-overlook-benefits/

Not sure what to ask in your benefits survey? Our free template has sample questions!

Holly Bengfort

Holly is a content marketing specialist for PeopleKeep. Before joining the team in 2023, Holly worked in television news as a broadcast journalist. As an anchor and reporter, she communicated complex stories to the vast communities she served on a daily basis. Her background has given her a greater understanding of people and the issues that affect our lives. When Holly isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time at the beach.