The COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing outbreaks have led many Americans to change the way they use their health care. Considering the risks and newfound hassles associated with going out in public during the pandemic, it makes sense why many workers didn’t end up using the full scope of their medical and wellness benefits last year.
With a habit of foregoing preventive care visits or elective care procedures formed, your employees may be tempted to repeat similar choices in the future. As an employer it’s your responsibility to understand the true risk and cost of such a trend on your business and your employees’ overall health.
Rates of healthcare utilization have largely recovered to pre-COVID numbers, but that does not mean employees won’t require extra encouragement to continue using all their medical benefits. In light of the unexpected outcomes of healthcare utilization in 2020, let’s discuss how you can strategically protect your operation and employees’ health moving forward.
Benefits of Higher Health Care Utilization
The new relationship many employees now feel towards their health care has created an obligation for employers to urge their workforce members to seek care proactively, not just after something happens or escalates with their health. Doing so helps safeguard the well-being of your employees and benefits your operation by making sure your workers are well enough to stay productive and available.
Creating a company culture that prioritizes wellness and encourages employees to take full advantage of their health care benefits inadvertently saves money, fights turnover, lowers absenteeism related to unaddressed health problems, and improves the morale of your operation.
How to Encourage Employees to Use Their Benefits
Here are some ways to motivate your workforce members to utilize their benefits to their fullest potential and maintain good overall health:
- Recommend pre-employment or annual physical exams. Workers may be avoiding critical medical treatment because they don’t even know they need it. After more than a year of potentially not receiving any healthcare services, a single visit to a primary physician could illuminate any need for further tests or treatments. *Remember: there are specific compliance requirements to follow if you decide to require either.
- Incentivize preventive care. You can help get employees in the wellness mind-set by offering various perks. Whether that be offering financial bonuses to those who use certain benefits or allowing unlimited PTO for medical tests and wellness-related appointments, it will encourage wider use of the healthcare services available to your employees.
- Remind employees of new ways to access care. Things like telehealth, on-site health clinics, and mental health initiatives all benefit productivity, cost savings and employee health—and they’re convenient for employees. Remind your workers that there are still options for them to see medical providers without having to venture out into a public doctor’s office or hospital space.
- Help employees select their best healthcare plan. Selecting the correct healthcare plan does make a difference in the overall use of benefits by employees. Make sure you’re offering access to high-value providers and give your workforce solid options that include bundled care and popular, affordable plans! When employees pick the right plan, they are more likely to use it… so do what you can to make it easier to pick one.
Benefits Administration Made Easy
With EPAY’s benefits administration solutions, you can offer your workforce top-notch benefit programs without adding more work to your plate. Our software is designed to alleviate the time-consuming tasks related to compliance and high-volume enrollments. It ensures your Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting requirements, COBRA administration, and data transfers to insurance carriers are all fulfilled smoothly and without mistakes.
From enrollments to renewals, our software takes care of all the heavy lifting. Its self-service capabilities even allow employees to enter, review and update their own benefits data online. To learn more ways you can help employees feel at confident choosing and using a plan, check out our other blog, “Key Features That Will Optimize Your Benefits Administration Strategy.”