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Nearly half of Americans struggle to afford health care, with about 4 in 10 saying they have delayed or gone without care due to cost, according to The Kaiser Family Foundation. On average, health care costs $12,900 per person in the U.S.
Assisting employees in obtaining affordable health care not only enhances their overall well-being, but also reduces stress levels and boosts employee retention and attraction.
How Employers Can Help
Employees want their employers to provide them with guidance and information about their health care plans. According to a voluntary benefits provider survey, 22% of employees want to know how to choose a health plan, 33% want to know how cost-sharing works, and 39% want to learn more about managing surprise medical bills.
Employers who educate their employees on these topics can help them avoid large and surprising costs and reduce their overall costs of the employee and their organization.
Here are some strategies that employers are using:
Offer Voluntary Benefits
Certain benefits, like high deductible health plans (HDHPs) and health savings accounts (HSAs), can be a lifeline when it comes to tackling medical bills. HDHPs are a savvy way for employees to slash their monthly health care premiums, while HSAs empower employees to make tax-free contributions towards qualified medical expenses and deductibles. On top of that, employers can provide financial planning and debt relief programs to lighten the load of medical bills.
Teach Employees to be Educated Health Care Consumers
Poor understanding of health insurance can cause employees to make uninformed and costly medical decisions. Employers can encourage employees to make better decisions such as choosing in-network providers, using generic brand prescription drugs, reviewing medical bills for mistakes, and knowing what constitutes a simple doctor visit versus receiving immediate care.
Require Employees to Reenroll
Instead of automatically enrolling employees in their health insurance annually, have them reenroll. This will encourage employees to review their plan to ensure they have the right coverage. Having the wrong coverage can cause extra expenses and potentially high medical bills. Employers should provide employees with consistent and accurate information about open enrollment and the importance of signing up.
Rethinking Health Care Resources
Employers may want to survey their employees to identify the best methods for communicating about benefits. According to a voluntary benefits survey, less than 50% of employees reported that emails were useful and 68% found online resources helpful. Eighty percent of employees found in-person conversations very or extremely helpful.
Enhancing the accessibility of health care for employees not only has the potential to lower group plan expenses, but also alleviate employee stress, enhance morale, and job satisfaction. These endeavors play a vital role in fostering a thriving workforce and attracting top-tier talent. Download the bulletin for more details.
National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.