Health Care Literacy has a Direct Impact on Health Outcomes
More than half of the US does not understand how to navigate the current healthcare landscape because it is so complex. Only 4-14% of adults have a basic understanding of health insurance and how it works. This has a direct impact on health outcomes. Rather than scheduling an appointment for preventative visits or to treat a chronic condition, some will delay seeing a provider until the condition worsens and requires more complex treatment. It can be easy to come up with reasons to delay medical and surgical care, but postponing medical care due to a lack of understanding health care coverage can result in worsening medical conditions, missed work days by unhealthy employees, and an increase in the cost of benefit programs.
What can you do as an employer to help increase understanding?
Offer basic and plain language in all health plan communications to improve health care literacy.
When talking about benefits, create messages that relate to the differing wants and needs of your employees.
Survey your employees to find out what benefits matter most to them.
Create a year-round communication calendar to keep benefits top of mind.
Communicate about employee benefits in multiple ways; newsletters, team meetings, one on one conversations, paycheck messages, email messages.
Show employees how benefits work together and complement each other.
Help employees understand what’s in it for them and show them how their benefits assist in their day-to-day lives.
Talk to your benefits advisor to learn how they can help you with communications that help your employees make sense of their benefits.
When employers don’t communicate effectively with employees about their benefits, employees are left with a disconnect between the products and how they can be helpful to their personal lives. Employees will typically underestimate the value of the products because they don’t understand how they work.
Employers should be prepared to make the investment of time and money into employee benefits education. Partner with an advisor that works with you in creating the right benefits package and provides support to help ensure your employees understand and appreciate their benefits. When employees understand the details, it empowers them to choose the benefits that best fit their situations, increasing satisfaction. This will lead to increased attraction and retention, which has a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.
Are your dollars working for you?
Koppinger & Associates provides the ongoing education, understanding, and guidance your business needs to thrive. Contact us to see how we can make a difference.