Steve Byrd, Consultant
Hill, Chesson & Woody
A recent survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that consumer confidence in the healthcare system remains low. Even though 88% of respondents are satisfied with their insurance coverage, a majority (58%) rate the overall system as fair or poor. The survey, which was completed two months after the enactment of the PPACA legislation, also concluded that the passage of healthcare reform did not change the public outlook. In fact, the majority of respondents stated they are confident about continued access to care, but question if they will continue to receive health benefits through employer-sponsored plans.
Why this is important for employers
The new healthcare reform law is difficult to understand and has created uncertainty with employees. Monthly public polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that many are still confused as to the positive provisions of the reform law. Over the past six months, respondents with favorable views have fluctuated between 41% and 50%. In the same time frame, those with unfavorable views toward the law varied between 35% and 45%.
This uncertainty has led to more questions and dialogue from employees around their benefits program than usual. This puts employers in a position to work even harder to get recognized value out of their benefit budgets. If you are using your benefit package as an occupation magnet for your company, then you should consider the additional communication requirements reform brings.
If healthcare reform is difficult for employers to understand, think about how employees view it! Employers need to recognize that employees are feeling insecure about their ability to maintain workplace benefits. Communication and education are critical in a successful benefit program and vital in understanding the changes around reform. Employers should consider increasing communications with their employees beyond normal open enrollment updates on reform. A solid communications strategy around how reform will specifically impact employees’ benefits is recommended in addition to your normal benefit communication efforts.
If you are interested in understanding more about constructing a benefit communication strategy, reach out to HCW and we will be glad to help you construct a plan.
For more information on the EBRI survey and employee communication around reform, please visit the following links: