During open enrollment, many participants are enrolling in plans for the first time. “Firsts” are often overwhelming, and once the benefit year begins, participants may need help knowing how or where to begin.
As employees expect more and employers become increasingly cost-conscious, it’s harder to provide a mutually satisfactory benefits package. To make utilization as easy as possible, TPAs and employers can offer resources to help participants understand, access, and utilize their benefits. Five of the most common tools include personalization, education, payment methods, mobile apps, and community.
Benefits can include personalization, from offering various benefit options to widening your list of eligible expenses. Here’s an example. Lifestyle Spending Accounts have traditionally supported physical fitness goals, but there are few limits on what they can cover. So, instead of restricting it to fitness, employers can include healthy eating expenses or continuing education. With a single benefit account, employers can support individual needs and desires.
No matter what benefits an employer offers and what usage tools the employer and TPA provide, participants may still need education to fully understand the many rules, regulations, and terminology that come with the territory. An excellent place to start is a glossary of key terms. SHRM offers a helpful resource that explains terminology such as:
- Co-insurance. A percentage of a health care cost—such as 20 percent—that the covered employee pays after meeting the deductible.
- Co-payment. The fixed dollar amount—such as $25 for each doctor visit—that the covered employee pays for medical services.
- Deductible. A fixed dollar amount that the covered employee must pay out of pocket each calendar year before the plan will begin reimbursing for non-preventive health expenses. Plans usually require separate limits per person and family.
Engagement may improve when you educate employees in the ways that best resonate with their preferred learning styles, which vary significantly between the generations.
Benefits are the easiest to use when they are immediately accessible through debit cards, digital wallets, or direct withdrawal. Not only do these payment methods make it easier for participants to access the funds, but they can also lessen or eliminate manual claims processing and adjudication for administrators. That makes it a win-win.
Whether the employer offers one or many benefits, participants want access to all relevant account information instantly and in one easy-to-use place. An effective mobile app will let them see all account types and balances, annual elections, contributions, expenses (approved and denied), and account provisions (grace periods, roll/carryovers) on their phone from wherever they may be.
The more participants you have, the more ease of use resources you have – namely, the participants themselves! Seasoned users can help answer questions posted by fellow workers. Whether you set up a company intranet, closed social media group, or private messaging group, let your existing participants who use their benefits with ease help those who are still trying to get there.
The bottom line?
We are all trying to spend less, get the most out of our spending, and save where possible. TPAs have practical tools to help employers and employees achieve these goals. Offering benefits without usage tools can seem like handing someone a bat, telling them to keep their eye on the ball as the ball is thrown, and expecting them to hit a home run. These five tools can make it easier for participants to use their benefits, leading to increased satisfaction for employer and employee alike.
DataPath, Inc. has been a full-service TPA business solutions provider for nearly four decades. Our cloud-based Summit platform is the industry’s first all-in-one solution for CDH, HSA, Well-Being, COBRA, and Billing administration; plus, we offer comprehensive Operations BPO and award-winning Marketing Services for users of all administrative platforms. Please enter your email (above right) to be notified when new blog articles are published.