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Explain true health costs to employees; they’re clueless

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in Human Resources

If you feel that employees don't appreciate your company's benefit plan, a new study shows why: They grossly underestimate your investment, particularly your contribution to health insurance costs.

More than one quarter (28 percent) of the full-time employees polled by MetLife believe their employers spend less than $1,000 per employee annually on medical insurance. And nearly one-half (49 percent) said that their employers spend less than $2,000 each year.

In reality, U.S. employers spend an average of $7,289 per employee annually for family coverage and $3,137 for single coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Advice: Shed more light on your contributions to employees' benefits. Studies show that companies that offer great benefits but communicate them poorly actually have more turnover than companies with worse benefits but great communication.

Tip: Distribute an annual "total-compensation statement" for employees that shows how much you really invest in them beyond wages, including all insurance and leave costs. You can prepare such statements yourself, or tap into one of many vendor offerings, such as Benefit Software (www.bsiweb.com /mainsite/communicator.html), ADP (www.nas.adp.com/solutions/benefits /totalcomp.html) and About Your Benefits (www.aboutyourbenefits.com).

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