Today, innovative cost-containment solutions are helping employers “curb” the increasing cost of healthcare.  However, these solutions are only as good as the education tied to them.  A solution without effective education is useless and can even be costly.

Employee education has been a sticking point in the employee benefits world.  Many employers missed the boat on effectively implementing a cost-containment solution by choosing to control the education message as they feel they know their employees better than the consultants they are working with.  Unfortunately, this way of thinking has not been successful.  According to a 2003 assessment (I know, old!) by the  U.S. Department of Education, only 12% of U.S. adults have a proficient level of health literacy.  That is scary.  The days of educating the workforce about what they have, how much it costs, and how to sign up are long gone.  Stop repeating the same message year after year.  The focus of your education has to be around improving the health literacy of your workforce.

The good news is that there are consultants around the country creating some amazing messages.  Folks like Jim MillawayGary Becker, and Al Lewis are innovating the way benefit education is provided helping employers reduce the cost of health insurance.  With that, let’s look at 3 employee education tips that can help your new cost-containment solution impact the cost of your health insurance program.

1. Effective Education is a Year-long Process

If your education strategy consists of nothing more than the annual Open Enrollment meeting, we need to talk and please keep reading!  By the time your employees walk out of the meeting they will forget 90% of what they heard; especially how to use a new cost-containment tool effectively.  To ensure the new solution is a success, you have to keep the message in front of your employees all year long.

2. Make Sure your Message Helps you Accomplish your Goal

Remember, your goal is to “curb” or even reduce the cost of your health insurance so strategic education has to be a part of your long-term plan.  Do not rely on the communication provided by carriers and vendors as they are often too vague and provide information most of your employees already know (e.g. your smokers already know they should quit as their doctor has been telling them for years).  To achieve your goal you need to make sure your education aligns with the objective, improving health literacy.  Focus on the kind of education that will help your employees help your medical plan save money.  Strategic education is the wave of the future.  Innovative solutions like Quizzify are giving employees the opportunity to become stewards of their own healthcare journey positively impacting their checkbook and the bottom line of their employer.

3. Your Message has to be Clear and To-the-Point

Trying to find the right avenue for educating the workforce is not easy.  However, using newsletters and brochures to communicate your new cost-containment solution will not work because your employees will not read them.  One way to get your message across effectively is through video.  Videos only require employees to hit “play” and are short, to-the-point, and can be customized to convey the message you want.  Below, I share a video we created for a client who is working with Patient Care, a patient advocate solution.

Employees like the videos because little time and effort is wasted in watching and the employer is able to craft the message (with our help) to best meet its objective.  In the end, a video campaign like this can be a very effective way of improving the health literacy of your workforce through short, focused messages.

Remember, crafting the right educational message is hard work and requires time and effort.  But done well, you will not only be happy about your new cost-containment solution, you will create a highly educated and empowered workforce that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.