Today, benefits decision-support tools come in many different forms. You could say that the original support tools were those huge packets you had to read (and reread) to figure out what was covered and by which health insurance plan.
Many companies still use packets. After all, they can be useful for employees who need to hold onto information about benefits offerings. But there are many digital solutions available today that change how employees learn about and enroll in your benefits programs. So, how did decision support go from photocopies to PDFs and beyond?
[Related Article: Decision Support is Your Secret Weapon for Reducing Healthcare Spending]
The Dominance of Video and the Emergence of Portals
At this point, I shouldn’t need to cite statistics showing how video is more effective at delivering information and communicating important topics like benefits stipulations and sign-up procedures. There will always be people who prefer their information only in written form (or in both written and video forms). But video communication is the undeniable wave of the future. Video allowed a consistency to informational presentation that multiple meetings made difficult. And, as video technology has evolved, it’s become more flexible and cost effective both to produce and to share. However, video is sharing the spotlight now. The proliferation of computers and the internet means there are more interactive tools and software than ever before.
Benefits decision-support tools, as we think of them now, are continuously evolving. Charts and tables were digitized and became software programs featuring calculator-model tools. Then the concept was reimagined and reworked to the more efficient, cost-effective and user-friendly percentile-of-use model. Now, many of these tools have become full-blown online portals. In addition to delivering informative videos and breakdowns of plan options and values, they provide easy and readily accessible ways for employees to enroll in benefits.
The Next Evolution of Benefits Portals
In many ways, today’s decision support has become a synthesis of all previous forms. Most benefits portals at least feature multiple forms of information dissemination. Software tools and downloadable benefits guides are alongside each other. Videos of benefits presentations rest atop links to provider enrollment windows and resources.
At Flimp Communications, our digital postcard campaigns function like benefits portals, including all of these resources, while also allowing you to push the information to employees in your open enrollment messaging. You can send digital postcards to employees through email or text, and you can add them to printed materials (like mailers or posters) in the form of a QR code. All employees they have to do is click the link to access the digital postcard and the information they need is either part of the postcard itself or accessible via the click of a button.
For those who prefer hard copies of documents, they can download and print the ones they need. Embedding informative videos into these flexible microsites helps you reach all employees with the information they need in a way they can easily consume. Since healthcare language is purposefully obtuse, reading an entire packet of it might be ineffective for many, while a simple and engaging video can bring that packet to life. Providing both gives workers the best of both worlds. Employees access information in the ways they feel most comfortable with, from their desktop computers to their mobile devices. The more ways you can give your employees to learn about their benefits, the happier and more engaged they’ll be.
‘Support’ Is the Key Word
These tools make it easier for employees to know what they’re getting into. They ease stress and make normally busy times like open enrollment much more manageable from your end. You might find yourself making a larger initial investment in online video communications systems and benefits decision-support tools. But you’ll save money in the long run. Supporting your employees through the confusion of benefits enrollment will ensure they have the coverage they need both at work and at home. Portals can provide year-round support for offered programs, boosting workers’ engagement with them. And happier, healthier workers save your company money in so many other ways, too (increased productivity, fewer sick days…).
For more information on our benefits portals, contact us.