Employers lose 9 hours a week answering benefits questions: Study

HR professionals spend an average of nine hours a week answering questions from members about benefits, according to a survey by HealthJoy. Advisors can get a whole workday back for their clients by helping them find effective communication and education strategies. 

One in five employers surveyed by the Society of Human Resources Managers said communicating benefits to employees was one of their biggest challenges. Only 19% of employers say their workers have a firm grasp of the benefits available to them, according to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.


Alternative Reimbursement: You Can’t Pay Less For Healthcare Unless You Pay Less For Healthcare

Thursday, June 10, 2021, 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM ET

The only way to pay LESS for healthcare is to pay LESS for healthcare. This simple statement sounds obvious but is ignored by most employers as reflected in their health benefits. For years, we have depended on the carriers to negotiate the price we pay for healthcare, having a more direct and transparent reimbursement (provider compensation model) is the key to immediately lowering your health benefits cost.

In a post-COVID world, even zero change in employees’ healthcare costs will likely still result in them spending a greater percentage of their income on healthcare. Why? Most household incomes are down so the focus shouldn’t be on maintaining the status quo, but on fighting to reduce overall costs and expenditures.

Start by helping your clients provide their members with the information they need, at the time they need it. More dynamic messaging can help employers connect with members throughout the year. For example:

  • Text messaging. Outbound text messages have higher open rates — 98% — than email, and a 209% higher response rate than phone, email or even Facebook. 
  • Company chat platforms. With more workers dispersed in remote offices or at home, chat tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams are replacing quick stops by a colleague’s office. Employers can pin updates, nudges or disclosures where workers will see them. 
  • Chat bots. For answers to routine questions, chatbots can help members find information quickly and easily, and direct them to their benefits manager for more complex questions.