New research finds consumers require better communication from employers regarding health care benefits

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New research exploring the effectiveness of employer-to-employee benefit communication during open enrollment and beyond shows that 40 percent to 50 percent of consumers express dissatisfaction with content clarity, depth, variety, frequency and degree of personalization of employer healthcare benefit communications. Meanwhile, employers rated their communications to be nearly 20 percentage points more effective than consumers perceive them to be.

The research was conducted by Waltham, Mass.-based Alegeus Technologies LLC, an industry-leading benefit and payment solutions provider that has a branch in Milwaukee, as well as locations in Carrolton, Texas, and Orlando, Fla.

Survey findings revealed that most employers today offer limited benefit support. Sixty-five percent of employers communicate with employees about healthcare benefits only during the open enrollment period, and nearly 60 percent rely exclusively on plan summary documents and enrollment forms to communicate benefit plan and account options.

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Only a third offer interactive tools such as plan comparison calculators, and 17 percent offer interactive evaluation tools that consider personal data in their recommendations to consumers.

“Consumers continue to assume greater responsibility for the selection and funding of their healthcare, and many are unprepared to make informed choices without significant education and support,” said Steve Auerbach, chief executive officer of Alegeus. “Employers have a huge opportunity to enhance employee benefit satisfaction through more effective communication strategies and more robust decision-support resources.”

In preparation for the 2015 open enrollment season, Alegeus has created a list of “top 10” best practice strategies for improving benefit communication that include planning ahead and starting early; communicating about benefits year-round; leveraging interactive tools and calculators to help employees understand implications for their specific situation; and offering incentives to promote the most strategic benefit models. Click here for the complete list of tips.

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