health-benefitsEven though this issue also discusses the importance of reaching millennials, it seems an appropriate time to explore this topic from an even broader perspective. Studies like the 2015 Aflac Workforce Report show that more than 7 of 10 employees seldom, if ever, understand what is covered in their healthcare plan. On top of that, a USA Today analysis of government records shows that 1 in 5 invasive surgeries may be unnecessary. On the other side of the coin, we know that when employees fail to obtain the preventive care they need, serious health risks and the potential for even larger health claims exist.

So with the value of your health benefit plan and its cost control and wellness enhancement features hanging in the balance, let’s consider a few thoughts that may motivate your employees to care enough about their benefits to make smarter healthcare decisions.

Timing is Everything – It isn’t a lack of information keeping people from understanding their benefits; it’s how and when people are choosing to get their information. While benefit booklets and plan documents are required, they simply can’t compete with push notifications, text alerts and other “real time” communication. In a world where too many people still pay little or no attention to their healthcare plan until they need it – plan, provider and cost-related information must be more personal and more accessible.

Consumers Rule The Day – In many areas of their lives, your employees are behaving as informed and empowered consumers every day. While this behavior isn’t carrying over to healthcare as quickly as we would like, new products and services are making actionable information easily accessible to both employees and employers. HealthiestYou and Real Time Choices are just two services capable of delivering more personalized, comparative data to individuals when they are making a healthcare decision.

One Stop Shop – More and more TPAs are taking steps to offer one integrated, online “hub” where members can access their benefit plan, claims data and much more. From network providers to cost and quality comparisons to individualized wellness incentives and rewards, the ability to provide one place where members can find the information they want is critical.

As these and other technologies continue to evolve, they will do more and more to connect your employees with the right information at the right time – the real key to engaging employees in their health benefits.