As you know, completing a health risk assessment (HRA) is one of the best first steps employees can take to start improving their health – not to mention lower your health insurance costs. But there are some common problems.
Employees are often reluctant to complete HRAs for three reasons:
- They’re unsure how completing an HRA will benefit them
- They don’t know how the info will be used, and
- They’re unsure what their employers’ motives are behind issuing the HRAs.
Employees are commonly concerned their answers will result in them paying higher insurance premiums.
Putting employee concerns to rest
Before employees will take an HRA, it’s your job to put those concerns to bed.
Here’s what you’ll want to tell employees as part of your overall communication strategy:
- The HRA information is for employee use and benefits only, not for the company’s insurer.
- The info can give employees an early warning about health issues they may be in the early stages of developing. That knowledge helps ensure employees get the treatment needed to prevent long-term complications (and costs).
- The info gleaned from an HRA can help employees live healthier lives, which can lower their personal care costs. Diseases caught in their early stages are easier and less expensive to treat — and that means fewer copays and deductibles for employees.
Give them a ‘nudge’
Another tactic you can try to help boost participation in HRAs or other health/wellness activities: Send them short prompts via email or text to write down specific dates and times when they intend to complete a health activity.
These little “nudges” can increase the likelihood that employees will follow through, according to a recent study conducted by teams at four universities — The University of Pennsylvania, Stanford, Yale and Harvard — in conjunction with Evive Health, a provider of customized communications tools.
The study was performed at a Midwestern utility company among 3,272 employees.
One batch of employees received a message encouraging them to get a flu shot and write down a specific date and time when they’d get it.
Another batch received a message just asking them to get the shot.
Results: Of those who received a prompt to write down the date and time when they planned to get the shot, 37.1% got vaccinated — a 4.2% increase over those who received a reminder to get the shot without a prompt to pick a specific date.
Granted, this study helps advance Evive’s agenda: showing the value of communication tools. But from what we can see, this is a test employers can perform themselves via email, without buying any fancy programs.
It’s worth a shot.