“Bend the Spend” Series.

August 26, 2016: David Stark, Senior Vice President & Shareholder, introduces “Bend the Spend” Series.

One of the most significant expenses for any business and their valued employees is their group health plan along with the other employee benefits.  Year over year increases in costs drive benefit program decisions that affect both the employer and its employees likely putting at risk the opportunity to attract and retain quality employees in a fiercely competitive workforce environment. So what do you do? Keep paying more for employee benefits or reduce your offerings at the risk of losing or failing to attract top talent?

To help employers effectively and best manage their employee benefit programs, I am introducing a new blog series “Bend the Spend”.

This series will feature different posts designed to assist employers in effectively managing their benefit expenses without sacrificing quality and choice. Our content will be designed to share successful ideas/strategies that will assist employers to “Bend the Spend” on benefits offered through creative, strategic approaches and solutions. Some of the methods of reducing benefit costs I will cover throughout my series will include:

  • Utilization of Telemedicine
  • Transparency Strategies
  • Self-Funding
  • Benefit Captives
  • Benefit Administration Platform Utilization
  • Employee Education Strategies
  • Claims Analysis and Claim Trends
  • Benefit Program Dashboards
  • And much more…

Keep checking back to our blog page for my most recent posts. Recognizing everyone’s specific situation is unique, I will be providing information that may be of benefit as we offer suggestions that lead to successfully “Bend the Spend” on your benefit costs.

After you have read the information, should you have any questions or are interested in learning more about a particular topic, do not hesitate to contact me directly and I will be happy to assist you in any way I can.  We hope you view our blog often and find the content useful.

About the author: David Stark is Senior Vice President and shareholder at Diversified Insurance Solutions. David has 34 years of experience within the insurance industry, almost 30 of which have been at Diversified specifically focusing on Employee Benefit Program management.

David also coordinates Diversified’s partnership with United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organizations. David is also the director of Diversified’s Spark Program, responsible for selecting and distributing charitable grants to local non-profit organizations. David is a member of the Wisconsin Association of Health Underwriters, a Certified Benefit and Wellness Advisor as well as a Certified Self-Funding Professional.

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Topic #1: Employee Education Campaign Strategies

Did you know that 73% of employees consider communication of their benefits to be extremely important, but only 23% believe their employers do it effectively? Even I will admit that with my 34 years of employee benefits experience that it can be confusing at times, which is why effectively communicating benefits with your employees is so crucial. Studies show that individuals who have their benefits explained to them are significantly more satisfied with their plan. These studies also show that individuals with extremely rich benefits are less satisfied than individuals with poorer benefits who have been effectively communicated with.

This demonstrates that you can greatly increase your employee’s satisfaction with their plan by developing an effective communication strategy. Here are some of the ways you can help your employees to better understand their benefits:

Keep it short and simple: For many employers, their communication “strategy” consists of emailing a summary of their benefits and reminding employees when Open Enrollment is. However, this alone has more than proven not be an effective employee benefits communication strategy. In my experience, the best way to get employees to comprehend their benefits is to deliver key and what’s proven to be important it to them in small, concise pieces. Often overlooked is the making sure the communication strategy reflects the overall culture of the organization. The strategy will fail for certain if it is a onetime event, a consistent pattern is the key. Once established, the ongoing strategy is best received when focus is on one specific area at a time, like how to find In-Network Providers, explaining your plan’s deductibles and copays or their out-of-pocket maximums. This will allow them to absorb the individual components of their plan rather than trying to digest everything at once.

Have meetings: Along with providing easy to follow custom crafted summaries of benefits, conducting annual meetings to review your group health plan with all your employees is a great way to communicate and allow your employees to ask questions, engaging the importance with them while complimenting the organizational culture. If your plan has changed, this is a great forum to make sure everyone is made aware of the plan benefits, cost saving ideas and changes that could affect them.

Utilize your broker: You should look to your broker as a knowledgeable resource for support in this important area. If you or your employees have benefit questions, your broker should be able to handle any and all questions on an ongoing basis. Benefit brokers should have various communication strategies to choose from and should also help create and distribute educational materials that your employees can use to educate themselves and best utilize their benefit programs.

Utilize your carrier: All of the major insurance carriers have an abundance of resources that can be a great way to help educate employees. They have resources custom to specific plans as well general information. Take advantage of the “value add’s” the carriers may offer. Many times employers may feel they are not important to employees, our studies say otherwise, they are included in your premiums to take advantage of them and effective communication is viewed positively by your employees.

Remember that 73% of employees think communication is important and only 23% of them think their employers communicate their benefits to them effectively.

These are just a few simple ways to educate your employees and help them to understand their benefits. The numbers don’t lie, these few tips to consider are inexpensive and can pay big dividends for you the employer and your employees.  Diversified offers a variety of custom designed  Employee Education Campaigns for our clients,  if you’d want to learn more about establishing or improving your employee education strategies, please feel free to contact me and I would be happy to discuss options to meet your specific objectives.

If you want to learn more about employee education strategies or if I can be of assistance, please feel free to contact me directly and I would be happy to discuss.

About the author: David Stark is Senior Vice President and shareholder at Diversified Insurance Solutions. David has 34 years of experience within the insurance industry, almost 30 of which have been at Diversified specifically focusing on Employee Benefit Program management.

David also coordinates Diversified’s partnership with United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the nation’s leading independent employee benefits advisory organizations. David is also the director of Diversified’s Spark Program, responsible for selecting and distributing charitable grants to local non-profit organizations. David is a member of the Wisconsin Association of Health Underwriters, a Certified Benefit and Wellness Advisor as well as a Certified Self-Funding Professional.

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