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4 ways to improve your healthcare benefits

Learn what your employees really want when it comes to healthcare.

Isabella Gravano
By Isabella Gravano on July 16, 2018

Isabella works with the marketing team at Amino, where she writes about healthcare for benefits managers. Connect with Isabella Gravano on LinkedIn

When it comes to benefits, nothing is more sacred than healthcare. In fact, 88% of employees say healthcare benefits are an important factor when deciding to accept a new job.

But do you know what your employees really think about the healthcare benefits you offer? Surveys are time-consuming and expensive... and don't always give you the actionable takeaways you need.

We did a little research and found four surprising statistics that reveal what employees really want from their healthcare benefits — with tips on how you and your staff can kick your healthcare benefits up a notch.

1. Improve your education program

When it comes to benefits, there’s one thing that nearly all employees want more of: education. 83% of employers think they’re adequately educating their employees about their benefits — but one third of employees believe their employer isn’t doing enough.

Clearly, there is a disconnect between what you as a manager want to convey and what your employees actually understand. In order to maximize employee loyalty and minimize healthcare costs, it’s up to you to ensure everyone is on the same page. Without a great education program, employees are left in the dark making poor decisions that make matters worse for them, and for you.

There is a solution to this problem: make sure to invest time in your benefits education program, and constantly seek to increase communication between you and your employees. This could include:

  • Revamping your benefits portal
  • Creating an online chat room (like Slack) to provide real-time answers to questions
  • Working with an agency to make your benefits handbook more engaging
  • Emailing employees more often with the most common Q&As

Not only will this make employees feel more comfortable, costs will decrease as they become informed.

2. Include new technology in your benefits package

As the number of benefits options and vendors rapidly rise, it is crucial you stay up to date on how the latest tools and platforms can make life easier for your employees.

More and more, employees are asking for cutting-edge healthcare benefits like telemedicine.  In fact, there has been an 11% increase over the past year in the prevalence of telemedicine. Companies such as Teladoc can offer diagnosis, treatment, or even prescriptions electronically — and at a lower cost.

If your benefits have been criticized for lack of options, a new technology like telemedicine could get employees excited. Almost 40% of companies in the US now offer telemedicine as part of their benefits package, and it’s clear that people will be looking for that in the future.

3. Recognize the value of behavioral coverage

As mental health awareness improves, care such as therapy and addiction treatment have become imperative to employees. If you don’t offer behavioral coverage yet, adding it to your benefits package could be seen as a huge improvement to employees.

Just so we’re clear, behavioral coverage is “a discipline, (that) refers to mental health, psychiatric, marriage and family counseling, and addictions treatment,” as defined by the National Business Group on Health. While basic mental health coverage became required in 2014, representatives from Willis Towers Watson contend that 44% of companies don’t have behavioral coverage strategies in place.

There are two reasons why adding behavioral coverage to your benefits package is a good idea.

  • First, it’s a major incentive to get people excited about your plan. Assistance programs such as counseling, rehabilitation, and addiction recovery are more important now than ever before. Including behavioral coverage will attract new talent — and keep them around longer.
  • Second, behavioral coverage is in the best interest of your company. 217 million work days are lost every year due to mental illness issues, causing employers in the US to lose more than $17 billion. The investment in behavioral coverage now will have a lasting impact as early care will prevent major, costly issues down the line.

4. Provide guidance to low cost, high quality healthcare

Healthcare costs are rising exponentially — it can be scary and upsetting for employees. We know that as a benefits manager, people often come to you with questions about healthcare costs and bills they get in the mail. In fact, 73% of millennials say they’d like to lower their healthcare costs, but don’t know how.

Help yourself and your employees by offering a tool that guides them to low cost, high quality care within their network. When you’re considering vendors (often called “transparency” vendors), make sure to look for one with comprehensive cost estimates and premium support (like Amino).

Your employees will thank you for providing a benefits package that helps them navigate the complicated healthcare system.

See how Amino can benefit your employees

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