A recent Kaiser Health News article states that more and more members in high deductible health plans are finding themselves in debt due to medical bills they can’t afford. We’ve talked about common mistakes people make when rolling out high deductible health plans (HDHP), but let’s talk about the things you can do right when explaining to employees how to use these plans. Employing a few simple and visual ideas can add clarity to your communication campaign.
Use personas. While many people can save money in a high deductible health plan, these plans aren’t for everyone. People-like-me stories can help employees find a hypothetical peer that’s in a similar life situation to them—think age, covered family members and the type/frequency of care they use—so they can decide if a plan is even right for them before they enroll.
Scenarios, please: When employees understand how the cost of care can vastly differ between providers, they start to be a bit choosier in, well, who they choose to visit. Most health insurance companies now have some price estimator tools that employees can use. Spend some time with these tools and create scenarios to highlight what you find. If you tell an employee: “Let’s say you have a need for an MRI. In your city, that can cost anywhere from $150 to $2,500,” you can sure bet they’ll start paying more attention to what things cost before making appointments.
The power of the infographic: Infographics are trendy for a reason—they distill complex data and ideas into easily-understood pictures. Use these to illustrate how much money can be saved, how the plan features compare with other offerings and the tips and tricks to get the most out of their plan. An infographic is great for touting the benefits of a Health Savings Account too, which you’re hopefully offering alongside your HDHP.
Real-life examples: Remember when you were in high school and those complex algebra formulas your teacher wrote on the board made no sense? And then, thankfully, they showed you an example of how it worked and the light bulb suddenly went on? Understanding what the plan covers and what the employee’s share is kind of like algebra. Take the time to write out examples with your plan’s coverage to show employees exactly how it works and what their responsibility is along the way.
Clever use of the above mediums will enhance any communication campaign and help to keep those pockets debt-free.