Nix the Insurance Jargon for a More Effective Open Enrollmentby Jonathan King (November 9, 2018)
Have you seen the recent Progressive commercial where Flo emerges from fauna deep within a jungle somewhere to encounter a ‘tribe’ of people no one can understand?
Yep…they’re speaking ‘insurance.’
Unfortunately, this is often how employees feel when we share benefit information with them each year before open enrollment. Deductibles, coinsurance, HSAs, oh my!
In fact, nearly half of employees don’t understand basic insurance terminology, according to a new survey of 1,400 individuals from consumer-directed healthcare solutions company Alegeus. And, if employees don’t know what their benefits do, how they function – and most importantly, how they benefit the employee and their family – how are they supposed to make informed decisions when presented with a complete benefits package.
Not only are they having to wade through health insurance options, but also consider the value that comes from voluntary benefits – and how the two work together. If this isn’t abundantly clear, they may make choices that cause them to spend more out of pocket funds, aren’t right for their situation or even don’t cover what they need.
Keep it simple
The best thing we can do for our employees is to ensure that any benefits communication is conveyed in the simplest language possible – not using insurance jargon. And, if it’s necessary to talk about deductibles and coinsurance and HSAs, then spell it out using real-life examples to explain it in a way everyone can understand.
Think about how you’d describe it to someone who has never even heard of insurance. One crazy trick that works for describing complicated or technical things, is to ask yourself: If an alien arrived on earth today who spoke our language, but had never heard of insurance, how would you explain it?
This forces us to think about the words we’re using and the way we’re describing how benefits work in a very different way than we traditionally have.
Have a conversation
Another way to ensure employees understand the many benefits available to them is to hold face-to-face enrollment sessions – whether on a group or individual basis. This allows employees to ask questions if something is confusing and to gather even more information that helps them make the right decision for their unique situation.
These are just a couple of ways to help your employees choose wisely with their upcoming enrollment. Want to learn even more ways to enhance your open enrollment this year?