Even though your employees pay for and receive benefits, traditional benefits plans often leave them with little to no control over their own plans. Large insurance companies can make workers feel like their options for treatment are restricted, and when employees do have a wider range of choices, they may not feel like they know enough about their plan to make informed decisions.
Giving your employees the power of choice can dramatically increase their satisfaction in the workplace, making it more likely that they’ll continue working for you. Your workers deserve to have control over their benefits, and giving it to them is one way to take care of them as an employer.
Here are three ways to give your employees more control over their benefits plan:
1. Educated Options
Giving your employees more control over their benefits isn’t enough to increase their satisfaction with their plan—they need to feel confident that they’re making the right choices. Educating your employees on their benefits options can help them make the best possible decisions rather than feeling like they’re choosing blindly.
Consider the following tools to help your employees become more educated about their benefits plan:
- One-on-one adviser meetings – Giving your workers the opportunity to meet individually with your adviser allows them to ask questions in a no-pressure, confidential setting, ensuring that they feel comfortable getting the answers they need to make informed choices.
- Easily accessible information – Consider putting information about your employees’ benefits at their fingertips. Many companies are now using digital options such as online portals and apps to allow their workers to review details about their plans whenever they want.
- Open communication – Being transparent with your employees about their plans is crucial to helping them make choices that benefit themselves and the business as a whole. Open communication builds important trust between you and your employees, letting them know that the information you provide them about their plan will help them make choices that positively impact them.
Education is empowerment when it comes to your benefits plan, and your employees deserve to feel secure in the decisions they make about their health care.
2. Financial Incentives
Making your employees feel pressured into making a certain choice about their plan can have a negative impact on their overall feelings about their benefits. Working with a great adviser that helps you save money on your plan can, in turn, provide positive incentives for your workers to make choices that impact them and you.
For example, consider the financial impact of an employee choosing an outpatient surgery center for knee surgery instead of the popular (and expensive) hospital that offers lower-quality care. Getting the operation done at the outpatient center might cost $15,000 instead of the $32,000 the hospital would charge, so offering a $3,000 bonus to the employee in question would still leave you with $14,000 in savings.
This method still gives them the opportunity to choose the more expensive option. However, even if they opt for the pricier selection, they aren’t punished – they simply lose out on a bonus. This way, your workers have true options available to them rather than feeling cornered into making a decision.
3. A-la carte Benefits
Many employees under traditional benefits plan are paying for benefits they don’t use. Maybe their benefits are already covered by their spouse’s plan, or maybe specific benefits (such as vision) don’t apply to them. In any other industry, paying for unused services would seem ridiculous, but in benefits, this practice usually goes unchecked.
Instead, consider offering your employees the option of “a-la carte” benefits. Give them a set amount of money that can only be used for benefits and doesn’t go into their paycheck if there are funds left over. Then, allow them to go on a benefits “shopping spree” to allocate the money toward the benefits they actually need. Your employees will feel better knowing that the money they’re spending is being properly used rather than going to waste.
Putting the Power in the Right Hands
Your employees are the ones receiving and paying for their benefits, and they deserve to be the ones making the important choices about their plan. By giving your workers the education, incentive, and freedom they need to make the best decisions for their healthcare, you’re making an important investment that will make your employees happier while helping your entire business.
The views of the author of this article do not necessarily represent the views of Gradifi. We make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained here. Readers should consult their own attorneys or other tax or financial advisors to understand the tax, financial and legal consequences of any strategies mentioned in this article.