Keeping health insurance top of mind for employees may be a continuous effort — but with a little planning, you’ll find that the average business calendar presents plenty of opportunities to promote the importance of health care benefits for employees throughout the year.
New Year Needs
By January 1, the prior year’s open enrollment period is a months-old memory. The benefits you communicated so well in October are no longer fresh in employees’ minds — and yet now is the time when all of the benefits-related opportunities and changes are taking place. Don’t assume that employees remember how to access their health insurer’s website or how to use their new health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA).
For this reason, January is a perfect time to run a benefits awareness campaign, which can even include a vendor event or health fair. Communicating in January will connect employees to their new benefits just as they’re starting to use them, and timing is key to seeing results.
April Tax Time
Communications and education for employees haven’t necessarily kept up with the increase in tax-advantaged or tax-deferred options. During open enrollment, you may have communicated the financial benefits of an HSA or FSA. You may also have communicated the advantages of your organization’s 401(k). But it’s a rare vendor or organization that views those offerings holistically, and employees with limited funds who are unable to max out all opportunities may want help understanding where to prioritize their savings.
Enter tax season. Make sure financial advisers or tax vendors can present information and give advice based on the full range of tax-advantaged offerings that you make available. Come the following October, a small investment in April can greatly increase employee use of your FSAs or high-deductible health plan with HSA offering.
Health Observances and Seasonal Opportunities
Weekly and monthly health observances are a fantastic way to spark employee engagement ideas and raise employee awareness around benefit offerings connected to health and wellness. Using the National Health Observance calendar hosted by the U.S. government, pick any appropriate number of themed observances and use them to raise broader awareness of health care benefits for employees.
Similarly, take advantage of seasonal opportunities to promote health awareness — a small silver lining for sunburns, allergies, bug bites and the flu. Seasonal health articles are some of the most-read articles on many organizations’ intranets. Leverage employee interest by referencing your benefit options in the resources and suggestions sections of this content.
Year-Round Communications for 360-Degree Awareness
Open enrollment is important, but the communications you present at that time tend to be high volume, and the benefits don’t take effect for several months. Use the opportunities that the annual calendar provides to present information in ways that win attention and make it easier for your employees to hold on to and apply it. Instead of relying on your staff to retain knowledge of everything about their health benefits at all times, chunk it into smaller bites and present it when it’s immediately applicable.
And by using the full year, you’ll see more than just higher use of your benefits — you’re also likely to see deeper appreciation of the value of those benefits, since you’re keeping that top of mind, too.
Stay up to date on the latest health care regulations and trends for your small business: Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.