Employers and employees have different perspectives when it comes to discussing benefits, and benefit advisers can help close that gap. 

According to a recent Alegeus Technologies survey, employers rated their communication on clarity, depth, variety, frequency and level of personalization of coverage much higher than employees did.

Between 47-60% of the 1,005 employees polled were satisfied with their employer's communication, however, the 500 employers in the survey rated their effectiveness 9-19% higher.

See related: Helping employers close the communication gap

Benefit advisers can aid in helping to better educate employees, says Alegeus CEO Steve Auerbach. Having year-round support is key, he says. Brokers need to simplify the process, Auerbach says, and tailor educational material for each audience.

“Make sure the right message gets to the right consumer at the right time through the right channel,” he says. Personalized messages help “people really understand how to get the best value out of their benefits,” Auerbach adds.

The survey also found a majority of employers offer limited support when it comes to benefits:

  • 65% only talk about benefits during open enrollment
  • 60% rely on plan summaries and enrollment forms to communicate benefit plans and options
  • 33% offer tools like plan comparison calculators and multimedia/educational content
  • 17% offer interactive evaluation tools based on personal information

Furthermore, the survey found that a huge majority of employees don’t understand their benefits plan. Less than a quarter know the difference between health plan options, just 30% with HSA accounts passed an HSA proficiency test and only half of those with an FSA account passed the quiz.
Technology can be a great educational and communications tool, Auerbach adds, and suggests creating analytic dashboards.

Today, employees want to be better educated when it comes to their health plans, Auerbach says, but he continues to see employers discussing benefits once a year, which has created an educational rift.

“It’s not a single event,” Auerbach says. “There’s a desperate need to fill this gap. That’s where advisers can play a critical role.” 

 

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