Don’t Understand Your Health Insurance? Neither Do Your Employees


Most employers strongly agree that employees do not fully understand their benefits or the monetary value associated with the benefits. This same concern is heard from employers across all industries and businesses of any size.

According to a survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans, 85% percent of business owners said their biggest challenge is that employees don’t open or read the plan information sent to them. Although 65% of respondent employers pinpointed benefits communication as a top priority, they stated roughly 50% of plan members don’t understand the information sent.

Another study conducted by George Loewenstein, a health-care economist at Carnegie Mellon University, showed that less than 14% of respondents were able to correctly define a deductible, copay, coinsurance and out of pocket maximum.  These respondents all had current employer sponsored coverage and felt they had a good understanding on how health insurance works.

There seem to be a few issues at play here but two in particular that need to be addressed. For one, most employees are not interested in reading and researching the materials sent to them regarding the employee benefits being offered.  Secondly, even if they were interested in reviewing the plan materials they likely wouldn’t understand what is being offered anyhow.  It is time consuming for the employees to review all the plan documents and try to decipher what benefit plan options will best fit their needs.

Enter the modern employee benefits advisor.

Find a benefits advisor that does more than provide a renewal quote for you annually. A proper benefits advisor can help you plan how to communicate effectively to employees and get them engaged. In addition, perhaps you can utilize them to not only educate HR on the benefits but also work directly with the employees.  Employees don’t want to spend hours of their own time at home researching health insurance if they have the option to speak to an educational resource.

Here are few ideas:

  • Provide time for employees to speak with an individual that can explain the plan options and how different plan options would impact their current medical needs allowing employees to customize plan
  • Deliver educational content using multiple channels and that is personally relevant to the employees and their family
  • Involve spouses in the education process
  • Keep employees educated on how to use their medical benefits throughout the year using real examples on opportunities to reduce their costs

We have already seen the willingness of employees to leave their current employer for a better benefit opportunity. Educating the employees on their benefit offering is crucial not only to attract new employees but to retain employees as well.

If they don’t understand how your benefits work or the value of the benefit, what’s keeping them from leaving?

If you want to know more on how I have assisted our clients in communicating benefits to their employees, private message me or shoot me an email