Valuable Tips to Educate Your Employees about Benefits
The information contained in this article is not intended as legal advice and may no longer be accurate due to changes in the law. Consult NHMA's legal services or your municipal attorney.
Are your employees getting the most from their coverage plan? Providing a comprehensive benefits package is one of the most important things you can do as an employer, but you want to be sure to educate your employees so they understand their benefits and the resources available to help them stay healthy.
To take full advantage of their benefits, employees need to understand the coverage, programs and services available to them and how to access them. Employees who are well-educated about their benefits tend to make informed healthcare decisions, utilize preventive services, join wellness initiatives and take steps to prevent serious, costly health issues in the future.
8 Effective Ways to Keep Your Employees in the Know
As you communicate to your employees, avoid using a single, one-size-fits-all approach, but identify a variety of methods that work for you as the employer and for your employees and retirees. Below are some tips you can implement to educate employees about their benefits, wellness programs and other resources available. If you are a HealthTrust Member, you can find posters, flyers, forward-ready emails and other materials in the Secure Member Portal to help you spread the word and educate your employees.
- Post notices and flyers about their benefits and wellness programs available in community areas such as breakrooms and remind them to check out online resources. If you are part of a HealthTrust Member Group, encourage your covered employees and retirees to create an account on HealthTrust’s Secure Enrollee Portal (SEP) so they can access coverage documents, digital ID cards, program information, single sign-on buttons to vendor partner sites including Anthem, CVS Caremark®, Delta Dental, and SmartShopper, and many other resources.
- Use your intranet and internal newsletters, if available, to share benefit and wellness program information and reminders. If you are a HealthTrust Member, you can post your custom benefit education video, packets and comparisons on your intranet.
- Send emails (work or personal) beginning at least one month before and throughout the open enrollment period. You could also send monthly emails with benefit reminders or new programs. If you are part of a HealthTrust Member Group, you can find all the open enrollment resources you need in one handy place on the Secure Member Portal.
- Provide electronic and printed material with detailed information about their benefits, wellness programs, resources available and important deadlines. Consider providing informational payroll stuffers with your employee’s paychecks or attaching flyers to electronic payroll notices.
- Hold in-person and/or virtual Benefit Education sessions not only at open enrollment but throughout the year. In addition to offering sessions at different times that work for your employees, offer an evening session and invite spouses to attend, too. If you are a Member of HealthTrust, you can simply contact your Benefits Advisor to schedule a Benefit Education session virtually or in-person (depending on COVID-19 protocols).
- Host health fairs and invite all of your vendors. Leverage “Health Awareness” observances (such as Breast Cancer Awareness month in October or Men’s Health Awareness month in June) to highlight a specific topic and let employees know that their benefits include resources to help and support them.
- Designate a group benefits champion to educate employees on plans, provide resources and answer questions. If you are a HealthTrust Member, consider having someone on your staff apply to be a HealthTrust Wellness Coordinator and ask them to help you find ways to engage your employees and retirees in their benefits and wellness programs. Among HealthTrust Member Groups, those with a Wellness Coordinator on staff have consistently higher participation rates in wellness programs than Groups that don’t have a wellness coordinator on staff. For more information, contact your HealthTrust Wellness Advisor.
- Survey your employees and retirees to find out what they are most interested in learning about. If you are part of a HealthTrust Member Group, direct them to log in to their SEP account to access more information about the benefits, programs and services available to them.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Although you may use one or more of the tips above, it is vital to keep the information flowing throughout the year. A fun way to do this is to pose a monthly trivia question to your staff related to the benefits and wellness programs you offer and award a prize to the person who submits the correct answer. Highlighting different features of your benefits or wellness programs each month will keep your employees engaged and informed! If you are part of a HealthTrust Member Group, your Wellness Coordinator can access ideas and program materials through HealthTrust’s secure Wellness Coordinator Portal.
Remember, offering comprehensive benefits and wellness programs, and educating your staff so they can fully use them, are important steps to creating a healthy, productive workplace. But it’s equally important to let your employees know their health and wellness is as important to you as it is to them!
Andrew Struth is a HealthTrust Benefits Advisor.