Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel? All of the open enrollment deadlines have been met, employees have made their benefit selections and you’ve met your enrollment goals. Well done! But now it’s time to step up your communications efforts.
If you offer a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA), your employees are starting to use the plan now. But an HDHP can be tough to navigate – especially for newcomers – and your employees can become instantly confused and frustrated by their new plan. The second an employee fills a script and is shocked that they have to fork out $125 at the pharmacy can be costly in many ways. Human Resources needs to get out in front of employees with thoughtful, comprehensive and explicit communications materials.
Focus on several key features of the plan:
- First, you need to lay the groundwork that explains the fundamentals of an HDHP. How do the deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums work, how are they met and how does the plan pay the providers?
- The HSA component can also be confusing for employees. Explain how it works and how it differs from a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). State when the funds will be available to your employees and if you provide a company contribution, explain in detail that as well.
- How employees will access care must also be part of your communications strategy, since now the financial onus is on them. If you have a healthcare pricing transparency tool or service, be sure to promote it multiple times during the plan year. The way that employees think about scheduling procedures or purchasing prescription drugs has to change – show them how the tools they have available to them should be used. Illustrate how free prescription drug price comparison tools will show the costs of drugs at various pharmacies and help them find the lowest cost option.
- The preventive care component is a positive feature to start with. You should be constantly reminding employees to take advantage of their preventive care services, which are covered-in-full through an in-network provider. And now, with everyone focusing on New Year’s resolutions and healthy goals for 2018, you can drive home the preventive care value of their health plans.
January is here, so it’s important to step up your efforts now. Repurposing your open enrollment materials can be a good start and you can leverage any carrier resources you have as well. Most insurers have some good communications materials that you can roll into your own, so take advantage. HDHPs and HSAs can be confusing to employees, but it’s nothing a thoughtful educational campaign can’t solve.