It is often called the Holy Grail of benefits administration from the employer perspective: 365 days per year of employee engagement. Employers pay vast sums of money for benefits administration platforms but typically complain their employees only utilize the resource during Open Enrollment. What about the other 351 days per year? Put another way, what can employers do to get more bang for their benefits administration buck by having their employees utilize the platform more than simply enrolling in their benefits two weeks out of the year?
The answer to this critical and regularly asked question is to provide tools for the employee to use that enforce the consumerism inherent in the modern benefits administration platform. Before we speak to these tools, let us take a step back and explain the consumerism paradigm. The consumerism paradigm derives from consumer directed health plans and the advent and popularity of high deductible health plans. Employers turned to consumer directed health plans as a way to control costs. Employer costs are inevitably reduced when employees contribute to their personal and family’s health care costs through high deductible plans.
From an employee perspective, the consumerism paradigm equates, as the term implies, to the act of becoming a consumer—in this case, a consumer of their health care. When employees accept a higher portion of their health care expenses by purchasing a high deductible health plan, they must also accept the challenge of becoming consumers of their health and wellbeing. This is not necessarily an easy proposition. The reason for this difficulty is the complexity of insurance, employee benefits and the American healthcare system.
Benefits administration platforms are not able to fix all that ails the American healthcare system. That is a tall task and too great an ask for this piece. What a properly constructed benefits administration platform can do, however, is to provide employees with the tools to ease their consumerism paradigm. Put another way, a properly constructed benefits administration platform should have certain tools to assist employees when spending their healthcare dollars. Those tools include cost and quality transparency tools, expert second medical opinions, advocacy methods and concierge health services.
If these tools are contained on a benefits administration platform, employees will continually come to the platform site to access the resources—365 days of engagement! To further enhance your employees’ experiences on the platform, and further cause them to repeat their attendance on the site leading to engagement, a properly constructed benefits administration platform should also contain a knowledge center stocked with articles and videos pertinent to employee’s healthcare and insurance needs. Topics such as those dealing with 401K plans, health, nutrition and economic and emotional/mental wellbeing are required as employees are routinely seeking information concerning these subjects outside of the enrollment environment.
The Holy Grail of benefits administration platforms is attainable. Indeed, it’s not only attainable, it’s something within reach of all employers willing to properly research prospective benefits administration vendors and the resources the vendors provide your employees. By providing the tools to become smart healthcare consumers such as cost and quality transparency methods, expert second medical opinions, advocacy tools and concierge options, employees will regularly visit your platform providing the 365 days of engagement we are all seeking from the investments put into our benefits administration platforms.