7 Jun

Why Invest in Benefits Decision-Support Tools?

Ben Renner | | Benefits Decision Support

Benefits Decision Support Tools

By now, if you’re in the market for new benefits decision-support tools, you’ve seen the ugly statistics. The overwhelming majority of American workers don’t understand basic insurance concepts like deductibles and co-insurance. Most simply default to keeping the same plan year after year. 80% of employers say they struggle to get workers to even read their benefits enrollment materials.

Interactive decision-support tools like PLANselect® make it easier for employees to find the best healthcare and voluntary benefits to match their needs. Helping them enroll in the right plan is the first step to getting the most out of their benefits. Open enrollment is always hectic and unlikely to get any less complicated any time soon. When employees have easy access to the information for making educated decisions about healthcare and they can sign up easily online, open enrollment becomes a calmer period for all involved.

Benefits Decision-Support Tools Save Money for Everyone

The initial investment can be large, but decision-support tools save your company money in the long run by helping employees see the value of plans they might otherwise dismiss out of hand. Seeing concrete and tangible amounts for premiums, out-out-of pocket costs and more illustrate the value of plans (like HDHPs) that can be confusing and intimidating when trying to understand how they're different from one another. Picking the plan that provides employees with the best value will save them money all year.

On the employer side, informing your employees about their benefits and how to use them saves your company money, too. Simply put, employees signing up for the "wrong plans," i.e., extensive health insurance coverage they don’t need, causes both them and you to overpay. Exact numbers are difficult to come by, but it’s estimated that employers over spend between $500 and $2,100 for each employee on the “wrong” plan. What’s more, when employees understand their benefits, they’re more likely to use them. Employees using their benefits are more likely to be healthy in body and mind, which means they’ll be more productive at work and have fewer absences. A decision-support tool supplementing other digital communications materials, such as digital postcards and educational explainer videos, helps employees and employers get exactly what they need from company health plan options.

Save Time and Hassle

Sound Money, Sound Body, Sound Mind: Health and Financial Wellness Goals

Time can be quantified into labor hours and an exact cost. Hassle is a bit more difficult to define in terms of dollars and cents. Interactive benefits tools give your employees information without the need for endless presentations and seminars. Some employers have done away with these presentations in favor of online benefits-communications tools.

If your company has several offices and/or distributed workers, benefits decision- support tools (backed up with personnel eager to answer questions and additional informational content) can save a great deal of time and effort for your HR department. They (and company leadership) won’t have to spend their open enrollment season answering the same questions over and over. Everyone with access to their online employee portal will get the same information. Decision-support tools provide workers with a starting point for developing more targeted questions, saving both sides time (and tedium) when they approach their HR rep during open enrollment. The other educational materials and resources available in their employee-benefits portal should further cut down the time needed for consulting HR and benefits experts.

Improve Retention

It’s not surprising that good benefits attract good employees and keep them around. According to an Aflac Workforces Report from 2016, 72% of employees agree that their benefits-package offerings are very or extremely important for their overall job satisfaction. 64% call their benefits offerings extremely or very important to their employer loyalty, and 41% say improving their benefits package is one way their employer could convince them to keep their current jobs.

That’s great news for companies that know their benefits packages are attractive and helpful to employees, right? But if your employees don’t understand why their benefits are great because your benefits-communication systems don’t explain them well, they’re not going to appreciate them, and then their loyalty and job satisfaction won’t feel that boost.

Investing in benefits decision-support tools can be expensive at first, but it’s a worthwhile investment in your company and employees in the long run. Contact us for more information about PLANselect and our other employee- and benefits-communication solutions.