How Employers Can Create Empathy Opportunities During Employee Benefits Selection

Pen and pink note on blue background with handwritten text HEAR changed to LISTEN, means to be better listener with empathy, not just hearing, to see the world in speaker eyes and understand more

It’s no secret that healthcare and benefits are historically difficult to understand—recent data reports that only 12% of U.S. adults are considered “healthcare literate,” and my company’s own data has found that over 80% of employees are confused about their benefits. Add to that an ever-changing landscape of compliance, technology and jargon and it’s no wonder that employees are disengaged with their benefits.

But with recent healthcare rules and regulations designed to provide plan members more insight into the cost of care—the Healthcare Transparency in Coverage Rule and No Surprises Act—employers have the opportunity to help employees tackle these literacy challenges.

These legislative changes introduce shifts in how insurance carriers, healthcare providers and plan sponsors share, bill and negotiate healthcare costs. But they also provide additional opportunities for employers to make it easier for employees to understand how to use their plan and avoid unexpected costs. You might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with empathy if it’s just another compliance to-do?”

The empathy conversation spans many topics, one being that benefits confusion leaves many employees feeling lost. An unfortunate consequence of this confusion (or lack of literacy) is that employees are often stuck footing the bill for an amount they didn’t anticipate, or worse, avoiding care altogether.

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