TOOL Communicating the Value Proposition for High-Deductible Plans

By Charlotte Huff

Feb. 16, 2010

Employers and their agents, such as insurance brokers, should keep educational efforts simple and multifaceted, and should assume the long view, health benefits experts say. Among their suggestions:

Watch your language: When explaining these plans, be specific and provide examples. Don’t slip into acronyms or consultant-speak. Remember that just 53 percent of Americans are sufficiently literate to follow directions on a prescription medication label, according to a federal survey. One-third of those surveyed couldn’t even achieve that.

Think multimedia: Use social media tools, such as text messages and tweets, to alert employees about enrollment meetings and wellness fairs. But don’t jettison old-fashioned paper, including brochures and reminder cards that can be mailed home to interested spouses.

Gauge understanding: By tapping focus groups and online forums, get insights into what employees understand and when misunderstandings and frustrations are festering.

Don’t stop: Ideally, education should extend beyond the enrollment period and be combined with wellness programs and other efforts to limit health costs for everyone involved.

Charlotte Huff is a writer based in Fort Worth, Texas.

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