Consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) are proving to be more popular than ever. Here’s how to communicate what they encompass to a potentially confused workforce.
There’s no questioning the popularity of CDHPs: Nearly half (44%) of employers are considering offering one as their only option for their employees in 2014, according to a 2013 PwC Touchstone Survey of U.S. firms.
More education required
Whether you’re offering a CDHP as the sole plan choice or simply as one of a number of plan options, communication is critical.
That’s because, when compared to more traditional options, CDHPs require employees to be more hands-on and educated about their benefits decisions. Without the right communication strategy, it’s easy for employees to get confused – and make the wrong decisions for themselves and their families.
That’s where HR and benefits come in. Here are five ways to effectively communicate the ins and outs of CDHPs with your entire workforce:
1. Use all available channels
Because it’s essential for workers to really understand how CDHPs work, employers need to make sure they read over the plan information that’s distributed.
And the best way to make sure this happens is by using multiple communication channels.
After all, the way in which employees prefer to receive their benefits info varies greatly depending on a number of factors. The more mediums you can use – print, email, group meetings, one-on-one sessions, etc. – the more effective your communications will be.
2. Offer simple comparisons
Like all health plan options, cost is the most important concern for employees when it comes to CDHPs.
So make it a point to highlight this aspect of the plan first and foremost. Give workers simple, apples-to-apples comparisons of how CDHPs compare to other plans in terms of things like premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.
3. Give real-life examples
After the plan comparison, it’s important to show workers exactly how a CDHP works – using real-life examples or hypothetical “personas.”
Jennifer Benz, founder of Benz Communications, says creating personas – or “people-like-me” scenarios – that show how the plan will apply to various employee groups makes it easier for employees to understand how CDHPs will impact them.
Another option: offering education that’s tailored to specific worker groups.
4. Show cost of care differences
One of the goals of CDHPs is to make employees better healthcare consumers. And one of the best ways to do that is by showing them how greatly the same services can vary among different care providers.
Most insurance firms offer cost-estimator tools for workers. And the results can be really eye-opening. Example: MRIs can cost anywhere from $150 to $2,500 depending on where they’re performed.
5. Think visually
CDHPs are complicated. One of the best ways to simplify these plans is with visuals like infographics that can take complex data and concepts and turn them into visual aids that are easily understood by most workers.