Based on the Employment Act, employers are required to follow common practices applied to employment contracts, wages, and benefits when hiring employees. Employers are also required to provide health and safety benefits, as well as an insurance plan for each worker they employ. However, a survey found that employees hate making benefit decisions as much as they hate asking for a raise or renewing their driver’s licence or passport.
Surveying 1,000 employees, MetLife found that confusions run rampant as employees make open enrollment decisions. One in five workers spends only a few minutes reviewing benefits offered by employers before making a decision, while 20 percent of respondents would rather take on unwelcome activities than figuring out which benefits are right for them.
See also: The Shift in Employee Healthcare Benefits
What seems to be the problem here is that employees are struggling in understanding which benefits options are critical and can be obtained by them. The survey noted only as little as 9 percent of respondents understand the terms health plan premium, health plan deductible, out-of-pocket maximum and coinsurance, whilst a third chose “I don’t know” to respond on benefits decisions conversations.
Effective communication is an antidote to many open enrollment woes. That being said, if HR wants to help these benefit-decisions woes, there should be open communication. Jon Stuckey, VP Creative Tech & Innovation at Segal Benz, said that benefit decisions can be complex and emotional, and whenever possible, leaders need to try to factor out all of the common denominators to focus exclusively on what the primary changes are.
When discussing benefit decisions, it is important to be very prescriptive in telling employees who each plan is designed for, instead of asking open-ended questions. HR should also explain instead of asking what works best for who as it could save time for both HR and employees. The takeaway is to not let employees figure it out on their own.
Another way to sway employees to have a good relationship with benefits decisions is by asking brokers to help with the communication. Commonly, businesses that do not have an HR department in place would need to communicate every hard conversation themselves and it would take time and effort. Hiring a broker as a third-party advisor would help in such a case.
DirectPath recent survey found employers rely on Health Insurance Brokers to assist with personalised benefits education and enrolment. More than half of employers admitted asking help with developing communications materials and 45 percent said seeking guidance managing open enrolment.
The health care landscape is constantly in flux, and this has no sign of changing – not only as a result of the political climate but also industry innovation alongside the evolving needs from today’s workforce, said Bart Yancey, co-founder of DirectPath and President of Engagement. Brokers have a huge opportunity to be a strategic partner for helping employers keep costs down, engage employees on their benefits and maintain compliance to shifting regulations.
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