Don’t miss this benefits opportunity with new hires

This is true story. Only the name is changed to protect the innocent.

After he was hired, Bob went through an orientation meeting with someone from HR. He met his boss and coworkers and began applying his skills to his job. It was a nervous time for him as he knew first impressions are critical to the perception that his boss and coworkers would have of him. During his orientation, he was given a large white envelope with various benefit brochures and summaries. He was told he had 30 days to enroll in benefits on the company’s portal. Bob wasn’t that knowledgeable about benefits and he didn’t want to spend a lot of time on it, so he glanced through the summaries of health plan options, dental, vision, something called voluntary benefits, savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, life insurance and others. Too much stuff, he thought. So he started electing benefits. He enrolled in a low-deductible PPO Plan, dental and vision plans and added contributions to a dependent care flexible spending account. He wasn’t that confident in his choices, but he could change them later if needed, he thought.

A few weeks passed and Bob found that his doctor wasn’t in the medical plan and that the contributions seemed very high. He also found a deduction he didn’t understand. It said it was for dependents, but he didn’t have any. He went to HR, but HR couldn’t help him correct his misfires during enrollment. Bob was annoyed because he was paying for more health insurance than he needed, had to go to a new doctor and was contributing to a flexible spending account he couldn’t use. Bob blamed the company for his lack of knowledge about the benefits that caused him to enroll incorrectly and for not allowing him to change his benefit elections. This soured his perception of the company. He started looking for another job.

Enrolling in benefits as a new hire is confusing and takes time. Here are some suggestions for helping new hires understand, appreciate and enroll properly in their benefits.

  • Use a branded benefits guide that integrates your communication. While you may be using carrier materials and last year’s annual enrollment communications for your new new hires, you have better options. Most carriers’ benefits communications are off-the-shelf and if you have multiple carriers, you likely have multiple communications. Take ownership of your benefits communication to create a consolidated and integrated benefits guide that is easy to understand.
  • Be sure they understand the health plan options. This is particularly true if you have a high-deductible plan or a savings account. You have an opportunity with fresh, newly hired employees to help them understand their health plan options, choose what’s best for them and understand the value of a consumer-driven / high-deductible health plan. This is an opportunity to increase participation in health plans where the employee plays an active role in managing their health and costs. If you can’t meet with them personally, be sure you have an easy-to-understand summary in your guide or provide access to a short custom-made video that helps explain plan differences.
  • Reach the spouse. Spouses are decision makers, too. Be sure they have access to benefits information. A link on your portal to an interactive video or a video posted on an external server can summarize your benefits and give easy access to a one stop spot for your benefits communication.

Groh & Associates specializes in online, in-print and on-point benefits communication. We custom design and narrate interactive videos and create print materials for any budget. See a demo of an interactive new hire benefits orientation video. Also, see how to create an interactive video. Contact Groh & Associates at info@grohcomm.com or call 888-510-0955 FREE. Visit our website at grohcomm.com.