Is there a blind spot in your employee training programs? When businesses train their workers, they often focus entirely on workplace skills. But adding some basic health insurance and health care training programs to the curriculum can financially benefit both your employees and your organization.
If you’re struggling with how — and why — to bring health care into your training sessions, here are some tips to get you started.
Understand Why Health Insurance Training Is So Important
Chances are that your employees don’t fully grasp your company’s health insurance offerings.
The numbers don’t lie — a study from Carnegie Mellon University found that only 14 percent of insured U.S. adults understand all four of these key terms in health care plans: deductible, coinsurance, copay and out-of-pocket maximum.
When employees don’t understand their insurance plans, they’re less likely to take full advantage of everything the plan offers. And on the company’s end, uninformed employees could drive up the cost of the organization’s health coverage — for example, if they go to the emergency room for issues that could have been handled using the plan’s nursing hotline.
Choose a Training Program
To find a list of training programs for employees, first contact your health insurance company or broker. It’s likely that they have training materials and classes available that they use when they educate their clients, and they may even be willing to send a representative to run some classes for you.
You can also use online health insurance classes to cover the fundamentals. For example, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans both offer online health insurance classes.
If presenting the whole course to your entire staff seems cumbersome, the classes might make more sense for your HR team, who can then figure out which material to share with employees. If the program covers topics related to wellness, then all the better — teaching employees about better eating habits, smoking cessation and fitness can be a great investment for the company.
Give Structure to Your Program Calendar
Where companies often run into trouble with health care training programs is in trying to fit all the information into the open enrollment period, when employees are already slammed with paperwork. Your training will be much more effective if sessions are spread out throughout the year.
For example, the AHIP course has nine modules, giving you the ability to cover one a month for the majority of the year. Instead of a day-long slog through heaps of information that your employees will soon forget, let the training sessions be quick and engaging refreshers.
If your employees show special interest, you can also provide them with resources to explore outside of work, such as tools to track their health care spending and wellness levels during the year to see where they can improve.
See the Results of the Training
Ongoing health care training programs will give your employees the confidence to use your benefits properly and make them better health care consumers.
Planning their health care budgets ahead of time, for example, will allow employees to figure out how much to set aside in their health savings account. They’ll also be able to avoid unnecessary costs, since when they know why some services cost more than others, they can pick the best — and maybe less expensive — option.
And your employees will appreciate your investment in their life skills. Giving them practical information they can take with them or share with others shows your care and generosity as an employer.
Health insurance is tough to figure out alone. Consistent and reliable health care education is the most effective way to prepare your employees for open enrollment.
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