<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2119418688374700&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Refreshing Insights

As healthcare costs continue to rise, organizations are on the lookout for ways to contain costs for their employer sponsored health plans without sacrificing quality of care for participants.

Typically, in such a plan, the cost responsibility is shared between the employer, who pays approximately 70 percent of the premium, and the individual employee plan participants who cover the remaining costs.

While there are many different plan design approaches that can help employers keep their costs in check, one of the most impactful cost-containment strategies applies the same concept to savings as it does to cost: share the responsibility.

Generally, people want to take responsibility for managing their own health, but the healthcare industry doesn’t exactly make it easy with its lack of price transparency, confusing choices and multiple entry points (ER, urgent care, clinic). Many employees simply don’t know how to make educated healthcare purchasing decisions.

You can change that, however, with how you communicate your benefits to employees. Inspiring your employees to become savvy healthcare consumers isn’t accomplished with a one-and-done presentation on how to “shop” for cost-effective healthcare.

To truly instill the knowledge, you need to make it a consistent and ongoing goal for your benefits communication strategy. Here are three benefits communication tips to help you turn plan participants into cost-containment partners.

Tailor Enrollment Communication

Do your employees fully understand the benefits offered and know how to use them?

Employee benefit plans are most successful when employees perceive plans as robust and easy to use. In fact, studies consistently show that the benefits employers offer are secondary to how they are communicated to employees.

How do you communicate with employees during open enrollment? Do you hold a large presentation meeting to introduce the plan? Do you offer one-on-one meetings? Do you provide additional handout materials?

Employees typically receive a lot of information all at once during open enrollment and it can be difficult to absorb it. Help your employees understand their options with proactive communications in multiple mediums—print, digital, video and in-person.

Clear and targeted messages have the largest impact on both employee engagement and satisfaction with the plan. Know your audience and tailor your messaging to reach them where they are most likely to hear it and learn—savvy consumers need to understand their benefits to use them.  

New call-to-action
Provide Break-Out Training and Education

Healthcare literacy is a challenging hurdle—more than 50 percent of the country doesn’t know what the term “deductible” truly means—but the only way to overcome the obstacle is to teach plan participants how to read between the lines in the healthcare industry.

Cost-containment isn’t about sacrificing needed care or seeing a budget doctor—it’s about finding the right provider to receive the right kind of care at the best price.

Encourage employees to ask questions about services and coverage included in their benefits and get specific with your explanations. Empower them to consider their options for medical procedures—is it less costly to get an MRI at a clinic than inside a hospital?

Schedule some targeted training sessions to show participants which local pharmacies offer the lowest prices to fill prescriptions and teach them where to look up pricing for themselves.

Offer a lunch-and-learn session that covers the most appropriate times to visit an urgent care clinic versus the emergency room which can cost five times more. Provide a tutorial for using telehealth options so employees feel confident about using the technology involved in the service.

In general, if you break training into digestible bits and show employees how the choices they make impact the plan, their future premiums, and how much money comes out of their own pockets, they become more satisfied with the plan, claims go down and rates stabilize.

Promote On-Demand Resources, General Well-Being

The initial benefits explanations and education sessions lay the foundation for healthcare consumerism, but most people don’t retain details of information until it’s relevant for them to use it. So, you will want to offer refresher training throughout the year and make information, materials and video training available on demand.

In addition to specific consumerism training and resources, many organizations have seen further success by making employee well-being a cultural priority. The theory is that increasing awareness of lifestyle and wellness practices, and encouraging healthy activities and habits, reduces illness and the need for healthcare interventions.

Ultimately, the goal is to provide plan participants with access to excellent healthcare options and then give them useful tools to make wise consumer choices.

Want to Learn More?

See how one organization took control of their healthcare—by making wellness a priority and creating a sense of ownership and responsibility among employees—to reduce claims and significantly reduce loss ratio. Download the Success Story now!

A Strategic Approach to Health Benefits

A Great Offer, Just a Click Away

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit

Subscribe to our blog!

Refreshing Insights blog-arrow-right

A collection of articles from the McClone team with the helpful knowledge and insights to ensure your organization is well protected.