Having spent 30 years in the health benefits industry, I can honestly say that one of the most common and consistent complaints that I’ve heard from customers is that their employees find their benefits confusing. Pretty much across the board. Think about it, of course they find their benefits confusing, there are a myriad of forms thrown at them every year, they probably don’t understand why or how their premiums really change each year, and they aren’t really given the tools to figure it out. Up until now, our mantra has pretty much been “just figure it out”. Got a problem? Go to the same doctor that you’ve always seen. Need a new doctor? Try to get a recommendation or something. And if you’ve been given a bill that looks a bit hefty, just deal with it.
Well, I’m happy to report that the world is changing. More attention is being paid to making healthcare more seamless and easy to navigate and technology has stepped up to help guide people through the craziness. I thought it pertinent to give some guidance on what you can do to simplify your benefits, and also to help employees get better care. The two go hand in hand and really cannot be talked about independently. Why? Because most often the biggest reason that people don’t get the best possible care is because they don’t really know what they’re doing. And I’m not talking about people giving themselves a self-diagnosis. I’m talking about learning how to find a doctor, interact with them, and make sure that they get the correct diagnosis (to the best of their ability).
Without further adieu, I present 3 ways in which you can simplify your benefits for your employees:
- Keep an open door policy – I’m proud to say that this is probably the area where companies feel most comfortable. Whoever manages your benefits (be it the HR department, management or the finance guys) should encourage employees to ask questions. You may not always have the answers, in fact, you probably won’t have the answers. But you should point them to the direction where they can get the answers. This is really pretty easy typically as your carrier can help out with a lot of that stuff.
- Send employees guides – Ok, this isn’t necessarily so clear or obvious. But you should think about some of the bigger things that people have issues with. Things like getting to the doctor, knowing where to go when they need to get medical help (looking at the levels of care) or learning how to pay bills (or even that they can dispute them). Your population will have its own idiosyncrasies and needs, and based off this you can tailor the information that you give them. Trig has free guides and tipsheets that should get you most of the way there. Check out our blog for that, and you can start passing these things out or posting them around the office.
- Purchase a healthcare literacy platform – This isn’t a shameless plug for Trig, yes we are this, but you can look elsewhere as well. But we feel strongly about combining your benefits and information into one place because it actually works. Think about the way that technology progresses, it consolidates your problems into more digestible chunks. That’s exactly what these programs do, they break down your benefits, explain them and tell you where and how to get better care.
If you’re doing all 3 of these things, then you can sit back and relax. You’re doing your part. As a matter of fact, no, your work isn’t done. I ask you to go out and tell people about what you’re doing. The world needs more companies that care about their benefits. And the best way that we can help is to talk about it.