Health care group benefits still top the list of job perks that are most important to employees. And it’s more than just the medical benefits. According to the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report, 80 percent of employees believe their overall benefits packages influence their engagement on the job and with their company. They also say benefits influence workplace well-being and their employer’s reputation. And now that they’re faced with more choices, increased out-of-pocket expenses, and greater responsibility for their own health care choices, employees have a greater stake than ever in their benefits.

But many employees still fail to understand the value of their group benefits or give their health care plans much thought outside of annual enrollment, creating a health literacy crisis for employers.

According to the Aflac report:

  • Only 17 percent of employees understand their total annual health care costs extremely well, while more than half don’t understand everything in their major medical/health insurance policy
  • 51 percent don’t want more control over their health care expenses because they don’t have the time or knowledge to effectively manage them
  • 71 percent feel their personal health insurance situation will become more confusing over time

This group benefits knowledge gap has consequences. First, as the economy and job opportunities continue to improve, workers who don’t understand the true value of their current benefits might be more inclined to start looking for a better deal. And as every employer knows, employee turnover is costly.

But more than that, employees who don’t fully understand the value of their benefits aren’t equipped with the knowledge to be smart consumers of those benefits.

Communication: it’s what they want

If you’re not effectively communicating the value of the group benefits packages you’re offering, you’re not getting the credit you deserve. And your employees want more communication about their benefits. According to the 2015 Aflac WorkForces Report, 89 percent expect more decision-making tools and support during their benefits selection and enrollment experience now that they’re expected to shoulder more of their health care costs. But only 9 percent believe their HR departments have communicated effectively about health care reform and changes to their benefits packages, while just 3 percent feel their employers have prepared them for the impact of health care reform. The disconnect is startling.

employee-benefit-statementYour annual Employee Benefits Statement can help bridge that gap, and it should be a key tool in your overall group benefits communication strategy. A well-crafted benefits statement:

  • Shows employees the true value of their group benefits. Employees routinely undervalue their total rewards package. A benefits statement clearly shows in black and white the level of investment you’re making in them.
  • Increases the ROI of compensation and benefits. Giving your employees all the details makes it more likely that the benefits and compensation you’re offering will be effective in increasing their level of engagement and satisfaction.
  • Increases employee retention. The Aflac report notes that almost half of workers would be less likely to leave an employer if the employer has a well-communicated group benefits program.
  • Bolsters your brand. Benefits communications help reinforce your other communications and initiatives to increase the value of your brand as an employer.

Benefits knowledge = job satisfaction

There’s a strong link between group benefits knowledge and employee satisfaction, and your Employee Benefits Statements represent a golden opportunity to promote health literacy among your workers, while reinforcing your company’s mission, vision, and values.

Download our benefit statement template here. To stay on top of health care news, subscribe to the BeaconPath blog.

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