Best Employee Benefits Communications Methods

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How do you measure the success of your employee benefits program? If you’re like 62 percent of the employers responding to MetLife’s annual benefits trends survey, enrollment rates are your criteria of choice. After all, even the best benefits package will fail at increasing employee engagement and decreasing turnover if too few of your workers take advantage of it.

Fortunately, many experts agree that better benefits communication is the best way to improve enrollment rate. Prudential recently conducted its “Eighth Annual Study of Employee Benefits” and discovered several communication methods that employees continue to prefer above the rest.


  • Work Email – Forty-seven percent of the employees Prudential surveyed said work email was their preferred benefits communication method.
  • Personal Email – Personal email was the preferred benefits communication method of 28 percent of the surveyed employees.
  • In-Person – Traditional group meetings and one-on-one meetings were the preferred benefits communication method of 18 percent and 19 percent of surveyed employees, respectively.

The employers Prudential surveyed had slightly different views on the subject. Communications methods with which they’ve had the “greatest success” included group meetings and seminars (74 percent), individual one-on-one meetings (72 percent), email (68 percent), toll-free phone number (61 percent), and mail at home (60 percent).

During open enrollment periods, 21 percent of employers noted that they had the most success with communicating benefits through mail at home. Eighteen percent had success with videos and DVD presentations, while social media networking also delivered results (16 percent).

As more employers move to a year-round communication strategy, rather than just talking about benefits during the open enrollment period, 84 percent said they plan to do so through email. This was followed by home mailing (77 percent), benefits websites (76 percent), phone calls (75 percent), and text messages (46 percent).

Based on Prudential’s data, it appears that employers who want to improve their enrollment rates would be wise to choose a mix of communication methods to suit the preferences of their employees. Surveying your own workforce is the most direct way to determine a specific course of action. While younger workers may be more comfortable with learning about their options through email, Baby Boomers or those who want additional insight may prefer the opportunity to attend group or individual meetings.

Regardless of the benefits communication method you choose, the Society for Human Resource Management suggests that you also:

  • Ensure your benefits information is easy to understand. This means providing jargon-free details on available options so employees have the information they need to make educated choices.
  • Personalize the benefits information to each employee’s needs.
  • Provide your employees with an opportunity to talk with a benefits expert—in person or by phone—while on company time.

As the 2015 open enrollment period approaches, now is the time to make changes to your benefits communication process and earn increases in that enrollment rate. If you’d like further assistance, please contact your benefits advisor today.


Should You Add Hospital Indemnity Insurance to Your Voluntary Benefits Package?

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If you’re worried about the financial burden employer-sponsored health insurance may place on you when the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate goes into effect, you may be in the process of changing your benefits package to pass more of those costs on to your employees. According to a report published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, many employers are accomplishing this by choosing plans with higher out-of-pocket limits, in-network deductibles and copayments or coinsurance, as well as asking their workers to pay a greater percentage of the monthly premium.

Unfortunately, this means you’re exposing your staff—who may already be having trouble making ends meet post-recession—to even greater financial difficulties if they land in the hospital or have to make an unexpected trip to the emergency room. Data from the Health Care Cost Institute shows that the average facility price for a hospital stay was $15,674 in 2011. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that there are 42 emergency room visits per 100 people in the U.S. every year.

How can you help your workers manage these costs while protecting your company’s bottom line? Supplemental hospital indemnity insurance may be the answer. It offers reasonably priced coverage that employees can use to supplement that provided by their medical plan. And because employees usually pay for it, it makes it possible for employers to enhance their benefits packages without incurring additional costs.

Most group hospital indemnity plans come with a choice of flexible options. For example, employers can choose to offer an HSA-compatible plan, a plan that includes outpatient and inpatient surgical benefits, and/or a plan that covers diagnostic procedures. Other options you may select include coverage for daily hospital confinement, intensive care unit confinement, rehabilitation unit confinement, emergency room treatment and wellness. You can also tailor these plans to cover spouses and children as well as employees.

In most cases, hospital indemnity insurance pays a lump sum benefit directly to the insured employee to help cover the cost of hospital stays and other included procedures and treatments. The employee can then use the money to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with the hospitalization, or on whatever else he or she may wish. If you’re interested in adding such a plan to your supplemental insurance offerings, experts recommend looking for one that pays a larger upfront benefit upon admission rather than a smaller daily benefit. Depending on the demographics of your workforce, you may also want to choose a plan that provides coverage for childbirth. Most importantly, the coverage should complement the employer-sponsored healthcare plan your company already offers.

If you’d like to learn more about the many group hospital indemnity plans available, or discuss the benefits of adding this voluntary insurance product, contact your benefits advisor today.