Tips for Employers to Engage Employees in their Consumer-Driven Health Plan (CDHP)

Overall, the success of your consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) really depends on clear, consistent communication. Employees are often skeptical to enroll in a CDHP for a variety of reasons, including concerns about higher out-of-pocket costs, misinformation, lack of understanding, or reluctance to switch from a traditional plan that is more comfortable and familiar. In order to minimize these concerns, employers should do the following:

  • First, communicate early and often and explain that CDHPs are meant to help employees take control of their health.
  • Second, make sure to focus on the lower monthly premiums associated with CDHPs and the tax benefits of HSAs and HRAs.

To achieve buy-in, communication regarding healthcare consumerism should resemble a marketing campaign more than a typical HR information campaign.

  • Incorporate sufficient lead time into communication efforts to ensure maximum traction.
  • Use a variety of communication methods, such as handouts, emails, videos, face-to-face meetings and presentations.
  • Repeat key messages to ensure sufficient exposure and understanding.

In addition, employees need education on how to use a CDHP, as these plans differ significantly from traditional health plans that employees are familiar with. For example, teach employees when it is appropriate to go to the doctor’s office, urgent care or the emergency room, so they can reduce their out-of-pocket expenses. (The Employee Benefits Management Group (EBMG) at Rose & Kiernan, Inc. has put together a downloadable handout that provides an average cost comparison of ER services vs. urgent care services.)

Other beneficial topics may include highlighting the benefits of generic medications and the higher costs and restrictions associated with out-of-network care. This education should begin during open enrollment and continue throughout the year so your employees can become smarter health care consumers.

Having the right information regarding CDHPs will give employers valuable assistance in designing a plan and effectively communicating it. Survey employees before implementing a CDHP to discover what current perceptions and knowledge are, so you can target the areas that need clarification. In addition, re-surveying employees after implementation will provide an assessment of where gaps in understanding remain, how effective your initial communication efforts were, and how plan design and communications can be modified for the future.

CDHPs offer an intriguing option for long-term improvement and cost savings—so much so that many employers across the nation either have already implemented CDHPs or are considering doing so.

If you have any questions for our Employee Benefits Management Group (EBMG) or are interested in setting up a CDHP, contact Rose & Kiernan, Inc. here or by calling (800) 242-4433. Advice given in this article is for information purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of an insurance professional.

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