I Wish My Employer had a Service Like That!

I was on a plane from Charlotte to Chicago sitting beside a gentleman who told me that he worked for a very large corporation. We discussed the pros and cons of working for a Fortune 500 company in contrast to the much smaller service company I represent.  When I told him what we do and how we do it, he exclaimed, “I wish my company had a service like that, nobody understands the benefits maze.”

Over the years, I’ve found that it is not an uncommon response from an employee who doesn’t want to bother HR with their individual questions. Busy family calendars just don’t prioritize time to understand the market or shop for insurance options to meet their needs.

Life Can Change in an Instant

Insurance plans can provide immediate financial relief from the overwhelming expenses of an unexpected event.   What if there is loss of income from an accident? What if a dreaded disease arises requiring expensive treatment? What if there is a loss of life?   Most people want the comfort and benefits of insurance coverage.

We know you have a lot on your plate. That’s why BenefitVision makes voluntary benefit offerings and core benefit enrollment solutions a turnkey process for our clients. With nearly a quarter century of experience, our team knows how to help you deliver innovative employee benefit solutions for the best value.

Employees Just Want Peace of Mind

There can be multiple frustrations when it comes to insurance and finances. Even conscientious employees sometimes must “rob Peter to pay Paul’ to meet their high deductible. What if they are sick and can’t work? As they age, most worry about what would happen if they need long-term care.

Employees want to be responsible and keep the promises they made to their families. Today, more than ever, employees are looking to their employer for solutions that give them peace of mind.

 Making Effective Communication Affordable

To make the process affordable, BenefitVision has developed a creative funding model that not only deals with the cost, but goes further by helping employers enhance their benefits offering.

Income from the optional voluntary benefits pays for the cost of the communication program. The result? Employees love having more options, the employer gets to enhance the benefits package without extra cost, and better communication is provided to all.

This is a real win-win.  Let’s talk.


Are You Afraid to Look at Your Report Card?

Did you hit your open enrollment goals?

On average, studies have found more than 30% of an associate’s compensation is in the form of the schools’ benefits.* If your associates don’t understand their benefits, or aren’t using them at all, the value of those benefits can go to waste.  

How can you increase awareness and raise participation in your strategic benefit initiatives? BenefitVision works closely with your Benefits Administrator to make sure the solutions we provide clearly address the unique issues that matter to you.  We provide tailored messages that engage every associate to make better benefit decisions.  Tax savings are not overlooked because associates don’t understand them.   We help migrate your associates to high deductibles and offer solutions for first dollar, out-of-pocket costs.  Our value added services engage each associate to help them better understand all of your critical benefit messages all-year-round.   

BenefitVision can help you pass every test with flying colors!

You will experience an efficient implementation process that ensures accurate communication and enrollment setup, as well as access to a benefit administration system that is customized to meet your needs without a PEPM that busts your budget.   Outsourcing technology sustains your systems and avoids the costs of upgrades and staff.  

Information is given out. 

Communication is getting through. 

Participation makes it stick.                                                 

 Let’s talk.  

 

 

 

*Employer Costs for Employee Compensation, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2017.


Give Your Employees a Wow

In business, we have to make hard decisions. Our CFO asks if we can cut costs here? Can we keep up with the competition? Can we afford the best talent? Is our pricing, right? Can we be the biggest, or the best? At BenefitVision, we envision the best and offer “Concierge Level Service” that employees can get excited about.

Self-service based benefit enrollment can offer convenience for employers and employees alike, however the process can be intimidating and often frustrating for employees who know their family’s wellbeing is based on the decisions they make. Questions like “what’s the difference between the two plans?” and “Exactly how much will this cost me when I use it?” typically go unanswered. Employees want to talk to someone. They want an expert that can guide them through their best options.

We provide a professional Benefits Representative who presents benefits plans, verifies and updates employee and dependent data, answers questions, explains the various options available and even models the out-of-pocket expenses so every employee can make an informed decision about their benefit needs and costs. Elections are recorded then uploaded at the end of the session, and employees are given a confirmation statement for their records.

The reality in business is that as professionals we have to make decisions. One of the hardest is whether to be the biggest or the best. Do you offer good service or great service?

You will hear about avatar solutions, or how self-service is what this or that generation prefers. They want to be able to do things themselves. You may hear that talking to a person is “old school.” We believe that “old school” is caring, and service is really going above and beyond to provide your employees with the best enrollment experience possible.

Give employees a “wow.” Help them appreciate the value of the benefit offerings you provide. Discover the BenefitVision advantage.


What We Know About Technology

In our current society, everything is based around technology. It might be hard to think back to a time where you had to mail a handwritten letter instead of typing up a quick email. There have been extreme advancements in communication among other areas. Many of the reasons to see someone face to face have been replaced. You can FaceTime or Skype from a mobile device that sits in your pocket. As technology becomes more convenient, businesses also have the opportunity to expand their operations.

We know that every company is not prepared financially or staffed to implement new technology. “The squeaky wheel gets the oil” often sets priorities. Benefits technology alone can’t help employees choose the best plan for their money. Many aspects of running a business still require a human touch which can increase the payroll budget.

BenefitVision provides a solution that offers the best of technology and staff to communicate your benefits messages. The ACES program combined with well-trained Benefits Representatives give employees old fashioned service when they enroll for benefits. Logging on or calling in gives employees a choice of how to get an immediate connection to the communication process.

Everyone needs technology they can depend on with easy access. Our online enrollment program is BenefitVision ACES, A Configurable Enrollment System. It can be described as “robust” and “flexible.”  Data can be transferred to insurance carriers, payroll departments and human resources. BenefitVision’s IT staff inspects, scrubs data and sets alarms to alert and ensure that the data feeds are sent and received as scheduled. ACES is always up to date and on real time, so you can depend on our proprietary technology to manage clients’ employee benefits programs.

Benefits technology doesn’t resolve all of your HR challenges. It is the personal touch that can help employees avoid costly mistakes that will impact them throughout the year. We can assist employers in controlling health and welfare benefit costs by defining terms that confuse employees such as dependent eligibility, and evidence of insurability.  At BenefitVision, we never lose sight of the fact that all the employee benefits, enrollment services and technology we provide are for and about the people who need a helping hand. Click here to see how we do it!


Optimizing Enrollment and Improving Employee Engagement

Is there a role for “guided enrollments” in today’s self-service age?

It used to be that it didn’t matter if you understood your benefits. Employers gave them to you.  Then costs starting going up and employers wanted you to start sharing the cost.  Benefit choices, flexible benefits, tradeoffs, voluntary benefits… suddenly you needed to make informed decisions but wow this stuff was complicated.

Employers turned to group meetings, but they were disruptive and often poorly attended. One-on-one enrollments came on the scene, but work disruption and scattered work forces were problems.

So where are we today? If you ask most employers “do your employees understand their benefits?” most will answer “no.”  And if you ask “why not?” the answer will be “they just don’t read.”

Today, we hear everyone wants the solution on their phone or their app. They want it in real time.  Gen Zers have no patience for this.  Millennials want just to touch their screen.

Is that right? Will employees today read and understand their benefit information and feel they have what they need to make decisions because the information is online?

It is really interesting, both anecdotally and from survey data, what we know is that what people really want is to talk to someone. They want a knowledgeable counselor to explain their options, inform them of the differences between plans, and to help them decide what plans work best for them.

One career benefits professional I know well (me) knows that when it is time for my annual 401k enrollment, I want to talk to my 401k advisor. I don’t want him to make the decisions for me, but I do want his input and guidance.  For most people, that is exactly what they want for all of their benefits.

I have said it before, “Self-Service is not Service,” that is an oxymoron.  If you are doing it yourself, it is not service.

Why don’t employers provide more service to their employees? It is just too expensive.  What employer is going to pay to have someone spend 30 or 45 minutes with each employee helping them with their enrollments?  But that is exactly what we do in our business, each of us that funds our benefit communication and enrollment service with voluntary benefits.

Methods vary…call center, web-based co-browsing, still some one-on-ones…but all providing “guided enrollments” that employees want.

We help people make informed decisions, we help them have better benefits, and we help employers cut their costs, reduce turnover, and increase employee appreciation of the benefits the company is providing.

All in all, this is probably the best win-win venture I can imagine.


Communication – People Helping People

Even in a technological world, there are still some aspects which require a human touch. When calling a customer service line in addition to a fear of being put on hold for a long time, there is a threat of bad music, and a disembodied, prerecorded voice. Frustration grows while suffering through countless menus with no option to talk to a real person.

Actually, a 2016 Open Enrollment Survey* found that 48 percent of employees would rather do something unpleasant, such as talking to their ex or walking across hot coals, instead of completing their annual benefits enrollment.

Whenever employees try and learn about their benefits, they soon discover the sheer magnitude of information to be absorbed. Assistance is almost always required.  It is important that employees have benefits; it is more important that employees make informed decisions about those benefits.

Providing a communications staff which is well-trained at engaging employees in the decision process is the mission of BenefitVision; helping employees have a better vision, a better understanding, of their benefits. It is widely known that this connection can affect the work ethic of the employees as well.  When employees fully perceive the value of their benefits, they have lower rates of attrition.

It’s generally estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that replacing an employee costs a business one-half to five times that employee’s annual salary. Employers who deliver an education campaign about their benefit package can save the unwelcome costs of turnover. Providing effective communications about benefit options must be a top priority.

The most important message is that “effective communication of the benefits is as important as the benefits themselves” says Ron Kleiman, CEO of BenefitVision. “When an employee feels like they matter to a company, they will be producing the best work possible.  A full understanding and appreciation of benefits is one way to gain respect and loyalty from employees.”

* Conducted by Lightspeed GMI on behalf of Aflac, the survey includes responses from 1,900 employees across the U.S. in various industries and business sizes. Its results point to a need to simplify benefits information and enrollment.


Why does everyone hate Open Enrollment?

With increases in the cost of employee benefits, Benefits Departments continue the search for effective cost containment strategies. Most employers are extremely busy re-evaluating benefit plan options, shopping for new providers, raising employee contribution levels and searching for increased efficiencies within their HR technology strategies.  Additionally, pressure to explain their plans to every employee and transmit the data in a short period of time is stressful.

And…it’s no wonder that almost every study out there suggests that employees dread open enrollment because they have difficulty understanding the benefits and health insurance options available to them.

A Harris Poll survey really hit home:

  • Nearly half (49%) of employees eligible for employer-sponsored benefits say making health insurance decisions is “always stressful,”.
  • Researchers note that “others use more critical language, calling their benefits communication complex (18%), disappointing (15%), boring (10%), or a waste (7%).”
  • Only about half of employees know their out-of-pocket maximums (53%) or their employers’ contributions to the costs of health insurance (47%).

Outsourcing has its advantages.  Enrollment firms can staff and deploy Benefits Representatives who are trained on their client’s benefit plans, but can the client expect consistent delivery of the client’s critical messages?  And what about newly eligible employees throughout the year?

BenefitVision can work with you to find the most effective strategies and methodologies for every learning style.  We can offer a choice for employees to call-in or log-on to get the information they need.  With either method, our seasoned Benefits Representatives explain and compare the features of all of the benefits as they review the plans with the employee. The data is captured and sent to back to our clients and/or their vendors.

Surveys taken have shown that the employees have a greater appreciation of the benefits the employer has offered, and are confident that they have made the best choices for their family’s future needs.   Benefits Departments are relieved from the redundant tasks that require additional resources they cannot deploy.

If you hate open enrollment, BenefitVision is your pain relief.


Self-Service alone sounds good but does not work

Benefit Enrollment is much more than just the mechanics. Helping to insure employees understand and appreciate their benefits works best when employees can speak one-on-one with a knowledgeable benefits representative whose focus is on helping the employee understand his or her options and helping them through the process.

In a white paper authored by Andrea Davis, Editor-In-Chief Employee Benefit News, we hear that “Blanket communications of benefit programs – mass communication to the whole population with the same information, regardless of what their needs are – may be one of the factors that contributes to low engagement and utilization of benefits.”  Further, amongst the top concerns workers have is “Selecting and understanding benefits (50%).”

And the reality is that it is even worse according to another study.

The International Foundation of Employee Benefits Plans’ Benefits Communication Survey Results revealed that, despite prioritizing benefits communication, only 19% of employers say their employees have a high level of understanding their benefits.   The reason why employers say benefits understanding is so low is because most participants do not open/read materials (80% of organizations reported this), almost half don’t understand the materials, and participants do not perceive value in their benefits (31%).

At BenefitVision we use live, knowledgeable and experienced people as well as one of the best enrollment and administration platforms available to communicate one-on-one with every employee.  To do any less would be just short of criminal.


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