The virtual workplace has arrived. The days of benefits fairs, on-site enrollment meetings, on-site vendor support, and roadshows are behind us, and the decisions you make about your benefits administration and communication system during this transition will have consequences for years to come.
In many ways, COVID-19 simply accelerated existing technological trends like distance education and remote work, and companies will either sink or swim. Luckily, swimming is easier than ever with the modern tools currently available.
As a benefits professional, it’s your job to work as hard as possible to meet employees where they already are: their homes, phones, and computers. To accomplish this (and maintain your sanity), the best approach is to combine intelligent benefits decision support tools with active communication.
COVID-19 Has Made Decision Support Even More Important
We can all see how COVID-19 has affected the way we do business. Its impact will forever change the way we communicate with employees and roll out new initiatives. Here are 4 reasons why decision support is more important than ever in today’s constantly evolving work environment.
#1: Digital decision support is no longer an option. It’s a necessity.
Your employees likely enroll digitally through your benefits administration or enrollment software. The issue today isn’t the transaction of enrolling. The real problem lies in educating employees before they get to the enrollment platform. Benefits teams need to communicate every benefit and educate employees on the merits of those benefits without being able to speak to them in person.
Decision support systems put the tools in your hands to empower your employees to make better benefits decisions, regardless of location. By using software that excels at educating employees and guiding them through their benefits selection step-by-step, you can reduce the amount of work your team has, save money by helping employees choose smarter plans, and promote satisfaction within your workforce by better explaining your benefits.
#2: Decision support lowers costs in a cash-sensitive time.
A key benefit of decision support is decreased costs. Providing a system that guides employees through the insurance selection process reduces the chances an employee will opt for a more expensive plan they do not need. This will free up additional money that they can then put towards retirement or supplemental health benefits. This is an opportunity to help both your organization and your employees save money while also providing a better benefits experience for everyone.
A good example of this is advising employees to use Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) in conjunction with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). By encouraging your younger, healthier employees to choose high-deductible plans, they can invest more in retirement, in turn saving your company money on premiums, payroll taxes, and overall health costs. In fact, one of our clients saved $94 per employee per year by using Picwell’s decision support tool to help their employees make smarter benefits decisions.
Ultimately, it all comes down to education. Companies realize the most benefits by educating employees at scale, and that need is best served by a tool specifically designed for that purpose.
The ideal decision support tool does the math for your employees, shows the pros and cons for each option, and forecasts their potential future savings based on their own unique health profiles - all in a simple, easy-to-use platform.
#3: Decision support reduces the risk of employees migrating away from CDHPs & HSAs.
We’re living in a time of fear, and fear often causes people to make rash decisions - it’s human nature. As a benefit professional, you need to find ways to meet this head-on. Complacency in this period of unease is expensive, and wielding education through decision support tools is your best line of defense.
Employees want to feel supported, especially now. By acting as a leader and partner, you can show your employees you’re being proactive about their future while demonstrating how the decisions they make today will have a lasting impact on their lives tomorrow.
Unsure how to increase CDHP participation in your organization? Check out our top 5 strategies here.
#4: Decision support tools show employees how supplemental health benefits apply to their lives.
It’s common for companies to offer exceptional benefits to employees but struggle to communicate the value of those programs properly. If employees aren’t aware of, or don’t understand a benefit, then they can’t use it to calculate the value of their total compensation. A 2019 article from Benefit News discusses how this lack of knowledge negatively affects benefit participation and overall job satisfaction.
Poor communication also impacts employee decision-making around healthcare plans. Let’s consider a situation where an employee has a specific fear of hospitalization and elects not to enroll in a CDHP because they overestimate their own risk. The best decision support would ensure the employee sees both the savings of a higher-deductible, lower-cost plan combined with the risk protection of a hospital indemnity plan. Those employee savings at scale are only possible with the right communication and education.
As employees look to offset the risk of their high-deductible plans, decision support tools (like Picwell DX) give employers the ability to inform employees of all of their benefits, including voluntary benefits such as accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity insurances.
Not making a decision is a decision
In the current market, the cost of inaction is high, and every day that goes by means more and more employees are making decisions based on fear and confusion. Clearly communicating your organization’s benefits options takes the guesswork out of the process and builds trust with your teams. Educating your employees at scale while saving money and reducing your benefits team’s workload is possible - with the right decision support tools.
To learn more about how Picwell DX can help your organization make better health insurance and benefits decisions, schedule a demo today.