Your Employees Likely Know Less About Their Health Benefits Than You Think

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Health benefits represent a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives and health outcomes for employees, but they’re not currently driving the business value employers should expect from their investment.

In a recent (2018) survey of North American workers, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) revealed findings which illustrate the critical state of employee health benefits1. Namely:

  1. Employees do not understand their health benefits.
  2. Employers aren’t adequately explaining their health benefits.
  3. Employees want help navigating their health benefits.

The significant time and money that many organizations put into designing benefits options for their employees can easily be wasted if a lack of understanding of these benefits, or awareness of the benefits available, prevents their optimal use.

Communicating benefits effectively can help your organization manage its costs and can help you retain good staff, increase their productivity and boost their engagement.

Some ideas about communicating benefits

While many companies may already have systems in place to support good mental health and well-being (e.g. EAP, peer support, psychoeducational materials) employees are not always aware of the support resources available to them nor are they sure who to approach or how their situation will be kept confidential.

Consider:

  • Benefits and care resources must be easily accessible to employees and entirely confidential.
  • Keep communications simple and easy to understand. In the EBRI data, for instance, only 52% of workers felt that they understood their health benefits better than “somewhat well.”
  • Help staff see what’s in it for them. In the EBRI data only 58% of EBRI respondents were very or extremely confident when it came to making benefits decisions, with the remainder being only “somewhat confident” or worse. The significant time and money that many organizations put into designing clever benefits options for their employees can easily be wasted if a lack of understanding prevents their optimal use.
  • Employees should be made to feel that mental health is a legitimate concern in the workplace and will be taken seriously.
  • Use a range of coordinated communication channels to reach staff. If you are using a range of vendors to provide your benefits, build their communications into your own. The significant time and money that many organizations put into designing clever benefits options for their employees can easily be wasted if a lack of understanding prevents their optimal use.
  • Consider family members who may need to be involved in decisions about benefits.

Keeping your staff happy doesn’t have to mean increasing the benefits you offer them. It may be as simple as communicating the benefits you already offer in a better way, so staff understand them and use them actively. This is where Avail can help.

At Avail, we’re working to give businesses greater control over their health benefits spend while delivering an unparalleled employee experience that maximizes health and productivity. We design the Avail workflow to integrate with your mental health and well-being support resources (e.g. EAP, peer support, psychoeducational materials) and we have collaborated for additional integrated care support with more than 150 health plans, health systems, EAPs, disease management providers, managed and community behavioral health providers, strategic alliances, ACOs and FQHCs.