More employers are turning to high-deductible health insurance plans. But don’t automatically assume that they’ll cut your organization’s costs.
Reason: Many employees avoid or delay preventive care and office visits because they don’t know that such services are free or inexpensive, according to a recent study by the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute.
About 50% of people incorrectly thought that deductibles apply to non-preventive and preventive medical tests and office visits under such plans. More than 48% believed that deductibles apply to all medical tests.
Such misunderstanding contributes to undetected health problems and higher costs for companies. Plus, small business employees don’t get their money’s worth for deductibles.
Use the following guidelines from experts to educate employees about high-deductible plans:
Communicate almost nonstop. Begin education efforts at least six months before the start of open enrollment. Use company websites, publications, email and paycheck stuffers to fix the misperceptions. Cite key medical tests, office visits and preventive services that the plan covers.
Get help from managers. Urge department heads to periodically communicate the importance of understanding deductibles.
Promote insurers’ education tools. Insurance companies typically offer toll-free telephone lines and websites that provide information.
Tie knowledge of deductibles to wellness. Stress that yourworks hand-in-hand with using free and low-cost health services.