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Benefit Communications

Why Employers Care

Effective methods to communicate to employees about health care have become more challenging and necessary for employers hoping to increase the productivity of their workers and curb their rising cost of health care benefits. There is a growing need to communicate with employees about their role in managing their health, making informed health care decisions and helping to lower health care costs.

Over the longer term, employers are involving their employees in health care purchasing through significant plan design changes. While employees will have increased accountability for managing their health care costs, they also have the opportunity to share in savings with more informed decision-making.

What Can Employers Do?

Employers can begin to communicate difficult messages about health care cost sharing, benefit changes and emerging plan models to get employees more engaged in their health care decision-making. Open enrollment season is an ideal time to do so. A comprehensive communications strategy that calls on employees to become part of the solution is the first step in influencing behavior change over time and lowering health care costs. A successful strategy will promote smart purchasing (consumerism) practices and engage employees in health improvement activities.

Communications should:

  1. Recommend to employees what specific actions they can take to enhance the safety and effectiveness of their care;
  2. Provide common benefit terms in simple language;
  3. Plug into communication vehicles employees already use;
  4. Have a branding campaign with the company logo, a tagline and a distinct look/feel;
  5. Provide easy access to user-friendly information; and
  6. Repeat messages numerous times through different media.

The Business Group has compiled a 15-minute video detailing a few other communication strategies that have proven effective at open enrollment and seem to resonate year-round. Click here to watch and learn how employers are going a step further to achieve better engagement results.

Employers can also review findings from the Aon Hewitt/National Business Group on Health's employee survey titled The Consumer Health Mindset and the OptumHealth/Business Group consumer survey, How Gender and Work-Site Impact Employee Engagement to understand what types of communications employees pay attention to now and which vehicles they would prefer in the future.

Page last updated: September 19, 2016

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