Overview: Educating employees about employee benefit programs and providing them with the information they need to make informed decisions is not an easy task. Employers that do this successfully are committed to providing ongoing, comprehensive communications that educate employees on their benefit choices.
Benefits are complex, and making benefit elections can be difficult. In addition, employees are being asked to play a more active role and take greater responsibility for their health and well-being. Unfortunately, all too often, they are ill-equipped to take on that responsibility with any degree of success.
Educating employees about their benefits is a process, and for employees to buy into that process, they need to be engaged. Employers that do not effectively communicate benefits run the risk of having employees become indifferent and frustrated. Having an effective benefit communication plan in place can help to ensure that employers and employees get the most from the substantial investment an employer makes in benefits.
Trends: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires additional benefit communication and disclosure requirements. The summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) describes the benefits and coverage under an employer's plan so that participants can compare the information to other plans for which they may be eligible.
Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect the final Summary of Benefits and Coverage template published by the Department of Labor.
An employer with a certain percentage of employees who have consented to a voluntary plan for payment of disability insurance and family leave benefits, must provide written notice to new hires.
This section provides an overview of the challenges employers face in aligning benefits and business strategies, managing health care costs, complying with regulatory requirements and communicating benefits to employees.
The Affordable Care Act requires every state and the District of Columbia to establish a health insurance exchange, or to default to a federally facilitated exchange operated by the US Department of Health and Human Services. This chart identifies state decisions for creating health care exchanges.
HR guidance on the value of having an effective benefit communication strategy.