How to blend benefits decision assistance with financial wellbeing to drive real results

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Open enrollment is a chance for your employees to take charge of their financial and physical health for the new year, but many don’t see it that way. Instead, they’ll spend open enrollment trying to navigate confusing plan docs and calculating how to pick the cheapest plan based on the amount taken out of their paycheck.

Most open enrollment info is littered with insurance jargon and intimidating acronyms. It’s no wonder that most employees will focus on what they think they understand: the cost. By only looking at price, your employees are missing out on the whole point of open enrollment: maximizing their gains and minimizing loss in the long run by making smart decisions in the present.

As a benefits professional, one of the greatest challenges you likely face is in educating each of your employees about what policy is right for them, and why they shouldn’t just focus on what they’re “losing” each month from their paycheck.

But you only have so much time in the day to dedicate to this type of education. That’s where blending benefits decision assistance with trusted financial guidance comes in. Holistic financial wellbeing programs work to break down the ins and outs of open enrollment, from the highest level (how do deductibles really work?) to the nuances (do I need an HSA, FSA, or both?) alongside tools like an interactive budget , employee benefits portal and benefits education that’s customized to your offerings.

Let’s get one thing clear right away: your employees likely know even less about health insurance than you think they do. A recent policy genius survey revealed only 4% of Americans can define the four major health insurance terms properly (the terms were deductible, co-insurance, co-pay, and out-of-pocket).

And out of those surveyed, millennials had the lowest understanding of these terms out of any generation. That’s not their fault, either: there’s no college course for any of this. Financial wellbeing is the crash course your employees need to stay healthy, both physically and financially.

Without financial wellbeing education, your team members might opt ​​for the healthcare policy with the absolute cheapest monthly payment, not recognizing that this policy will actually lead to them paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for a minor medical issue.

With financial wellbeing, they’ll have the knowledge they need to choose the right plan for them & their family and can head into the new year with confidence.

Only 40% of Americans feel remotely confident that they’ve picked the right health insurance policy, but the best thing about financial literacy is that it has a ripple effect. If your employees have no idea what they’re looking at, they’re not likely to do much more than pick out a cheap insurance plan before moving on to the next task at hand. But once your employees start to feel competent about the basics of their healthcare, they’ll likely be more willing to go farther and consider all of the types of supplemental insurance that can often be a lifesaver, especially in times of stress and struggle.

Take life insurance: a young married couple might not even consider paying a monthly fee for something that feels so far away to them. But a good financial wellbeing course can explain all of the benefits they can gain from signing up for a life insurance policy as soon as possible, like how they’ll save by starting younger, and how this policy will serve as a life raft for either of them, the worst-case scenario should occur.

When your team members are equipped with a strong understanding of their own benefits, they can start to view these benefits for what they are: an opportunity to be proactive about their own health, and to be proactive about their own financial goals. Understanding the costs of their health, both in the short term and the long term, will allow your workforce to plan for the future rather than living in fear and struggling with their finances.

Brin Chartier is the Director of Marketing at LearnLux, the leading provider of trusted financial wellbeing for the workplace. Brin is passionate about creating a world where having a financial plan is never out of reach. At LearnLux, she creates strategic content and marketing campaigns to support clients, partners, and members. Brin is based in Austin, TX, and in her free time volunteers as a marketing mentor, likes to do yoga, hike the Greenbelt, and is constantly counting the days until SXSW.

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