Yesterday we discussed the importance of a solid, year-round communications plan for discussing health benefits with employees. Today let’s dig deeper and explore what to do when introducing an entirely new benefit, such as a health savings account (HSA).
Accentuate the positive—HSAs are tax-advantaged savings accounts to be used for medical expenses. Typically, they are paired with a high-deductible health plan, which employees could see as a negative, particularly if it’s a new option. Therefore, it’s important to show how an HSA works and the potential advantages as soon as you begin discussing this new option—6 months ahead of launch is reasonable. Additionally, don’t’ forget critical benefits such as if the company plans to prefund the accounts so money is available when the HSAs are first implemented.
Accentuate, but don’t exaggerate the positive—HSAs aren’t for everyone. Therefore, it’s important that you provide examples of when employees should opt for an alternative. Don’t become overly promotional and gloss over the risks of an HSA.
Absolutely, positively provide tools—Invest in online calculators to help employees make the right choices. Also, provide access to benefits experts, especially during the first year of implementation. And make these resources available long after open enrollment.
Anticipate questions … lots of them—Keep a running list of the types of questions employees are asking, and publish answers to your “top five” each month. Over time, the questions will diminish, but expect quite a lot during early implementation.
Eventually, if you handle communications well, help employees make good choices for themselves, and respond to questions, this new benefit will be viewed for what it is—a benefit for your staff.