For many consumers, healthcare has become complicated. There are various insurance plans with a range of deductibles and copays from which to choose. Employee benefits are often just as complicated, and many employees become confused as to what benefits are available to them and how to take advantage of those benefits. Even employees who have the benefit of an on-site or near-site healthcare clinic may not understand clearly how to use those services.
A 2018 Consumer Mindset Survey, conducted by Alight Solutions and the National Business Group on Health, found that “only 53% of individuals can understand and manage how they get health care services while just half understand and manage how to pay for these services.” In addition, the survey found that “a quarter of consumers say the health care system and benefits are so difficult that they give up and just hope for the best.”
The most effective strategy for ensuring that employees understand their options and take advantage of their benefits is clear and frequent communication with those employees. Communication designed to educate employees about the services provided by their on-site or near-site clinic and the costs involved can encourage employees to use those services more often. The employer-sponsored healthcare clinic may be a new concept to some employees who may not trust it or understand the extent of their benefits.
Communication and education can be accomplished in person or by taking advantage of technology. Face-to-face meetings, emails, an intranet page, and one-on-one sessions with a benefits counselor can help employees understand their benefits, encourage them to ask questions, and help ensure they take advantage of the benefits offered to them.
Taking the extra time and extra steps necessary to ensure full comprehension of the services offered by the on-site or near-site clinics, the family members covered by these benefits, and the costs (or lack of cost) involved in using the clinics can reap large rewards for the employee and the employer. When the employee takes advantage of the available healthcare benefits, the employer may see reduced costs and improved health among its employees.