As a benefits manager, you're juggling a lot of tasks.
When you're not planning for open enrollment, you're strategizing about the best tools and resources to provide for your employees, answering questions about everything from dental to vision care, measuring the ROI of your benefits package, and so much more. Sometimes, you just need an extra hand. That's where partners can help.
Similar to the relationship you have with your broker, there are partners you can bring in to lighten the load and maximize the effectiveness of your healthcare benefits offerings — especially when it comes to high deductible health plans (HDHPs), which can be one of the trickier types of insurance plans to work with. Below are three types of innovative partners we recommend looking into to help you along the HDHP implementation journey.
1. Benefits education partners
Educating your employees about their healthcare benefits shouldn't stop after open enrollment. It should be a continuous effort throughout the year so employees never feel lost or think that their benefits team went dark on them. However, given how busy you are, we know you don't have the time to create all the email templates, worksheets, one pagers, and videos that are necessary to distribute to your employees.
In fact, a survey of more than 400 employers by SourceMedia Research found the 70% of respondents were struggling to prepare their benefits communications strategies. That's why we strongly believe in bringing in a partner who specializes in healthcare benefits education and can help you fill in the gaps where needed — whether that's collaborating with you on strategy, developing the actual collateral, or giving you pointers on how to better reach your employees. There are tons of communications firms out there that specialize in employee benefits, so look for ones that have good, solid case studies and proof points of successful communication campaigns.
2. Guidance partners
One of the downsides of HDHPs is that more financial burden falls on the employee because of the high deductible. This means that employees will be looking for a way to figure out how much money is going to come out of their own pockets before they visit the doctor and make sure the provider or facility they're spending money on is high quality and cost-effective.
There are already many signals that people are hungry for this information. According to research by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 69% of people want insurance companies to disclose what they pay physicians and hospitals for procedures. But it's a huge ask of employees to have them figure out this information on their own.
That's why you need a partner to guide employees toward smarter healthcare decisions by revealing important cost and quality information and doing the heavy lifting of balancing which factors are highest priority to an individual, such as their insurance provider, budget, location, and more.
3. HSA partners
A health savings account (HSA) is one of the best perks of selecting an HDHP. Yet, many employees either don't sign up for or understand how to use their accounts because today's HSA products and education tend to be clunky and outdated. The Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey by Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates found that 25 percent of its respondents were enrolled in an HSA-eligible health plan but had not opened an HSA.
That's why it's important to select a partner that will provide you with not only an intuitive, modern HSA product, but also the means to educate your employees about how to use these accounts. Otherwise, the benefits of an HSA often get lost in the shuffle, and your employees are missing out on a great opportunity to save on healthcare — especially if you're seeding or contributing to their accounts.
You're doing a lot in your job, but you don't have to do it alone. By carefully selecting the right partners to help you on your HDHP journey, you can ensure the maximum value of your benefits package for your employees. Be sure to check out our guide below to see the specific vendors that we think are the cream of the crop when it comes to the types of partnerships outlined above.