Many employees are surprised by the cost of healthcare benefit premiums when exiting employees receive their COBRA notices or as part of their research and plan evaluation process during the ACA enrollment period.
I believe it is our responsibility as employers to educate employees not only on the costs of healthcare programs but more importantly, how employees can manage their healthcare finances alongside their physical health. Both are an important component of helping them prepare to balance the decisions and costs associated with healthy living and healthcare.
However, more than education is needed. Employers and plan sponsors must seek out actionable ways to measure and improve employee engagement when it comes to physical and financial health.
How to Help Employees Improve Financial Investments Involving Healthcare Expenses
The reality is that these same consumers are also your employees. And since finances are a leading cause for household stress, this education and planning piece is critical because it impacts our current and future workforce.
This lack of financial planning or education on benefit program coverage maximums, minimums, and cost probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you and me because we have worked in HR. We have managed health plans, chatted with employees about COBRA, or negotiated an annual benefits plan. We understand that this information is essential to planning for and managing future healthcare expenses, and yet we know firsthand how often employee’s don’t think about this until it’s too late.
There is definitely room for improvement in terms of employees healthcare plan knowledge. Working with your plan provider and company benefits expert to invest in education and resources is critical for helping to answer employee questions before they are impacted financially.
The good news is that I’ve found that most employees are willing to make changes once they understand the cost implications, and HSA Bank’s report supports this. Ninety-three percent of those surveyed received at least one preventative health service or screening annually. Many more are willing to make other lifestyle changes that in turn lower healthcare expenses for the individual, which also by default benefits the larger employee population on the company sponsored benefit plan […]