I recently came across an article citing a study that found millennials are less interested and less knowledgeable about their health benefits than older generations. Seriously? But as I thought about the questions I get from friends and relatives around my age – and the general confusion about health insurance within my generation – the study was pretty spot-on.
While it’s nice having mandated health insurance coverage on a parent’s plan until age 26, it plays a huge role in the general apathy and ignorance around benefits for adult children in the workforce. By extending and guaranteeing coverage, it takes away the urgent need for these young adults to not only secure their own health insurance but to be concerned about educating themselves on the topic. As an employer, it doesn’t make sense that approximately HALF of your workforce (as projected for 2020) lacks basic knowledge of their health benefits – but unfortunately, it may be the case.
I’m well aware of the steps I need to take when aging off of my parents’ health plan. For my friends who are not employee benefits account managers I always give two important tips 1). find out when your parent’s employer-based plan coverage ends (it could be on the exact day, end of the month, or sometimes even at the end of the year that you turn 26 ) and 2). reach out to your human resources department ahead of time to let them know when you’ll be losing coverage so you can enroll on your own plan during the 30-day window.
This is another reason why education and engagement that addresses the needs of employees of all ages is so crucial. It may be as simple as communicating the two points above in your standard benefits information. For your entire population, try to communicate all year round instead of cramming important benefits concepts into one time of year. Look outside of traditional paths of communication and utilize more technology if it makes sense for your workforce (hint: it’s not only millennials who prefer text alerts and online capabilities). And make it fun so people pay attention! A great benefits consultant will be able to offer creative solutions and get you on track with your strategy.