10 Tips for Helping Employees Make the Most of Their Benefits

It’s a new year and some of your employees may have just signed up for your health insurance or changed their plans. Now is a good time to share tips for making the most of their new health care benefits.

Help your employees get the most from their health benefits with these ideas:

Review Their Plans

Encourage your employees pull out the summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) to understand exactly what’s included and at what cost. Exact pricing for services won’t be listed, but employees can avoid surprises with a quick refresher on their copayments, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and other plan details.

Participate in Wellness

If you have a wellness incentive program, get the word out and encourage your employees to sign up. Wellness programs not only increase retention and reduce health care costs for you, but have also been proven to improve employee morale and health. To increase participation, make sure to let your employees know about any cash incentives, prizes or discounts.

Look for Discounts

Many insurance providers, including BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, offer discounts on health and wellness products and services. Employees should check their insurer’s website for discounts on gym memberships, massages and other medical services.

Call the Nurse

Depending on what your company offers, a nurseline can save time and money for employees who have questions but may not need a full doctor’s visit. Health coaching and disease management may also put health and wellness experts just a phone call away. These programs can help employees reach their health goals, prepare for doctor visits or even quit smoking.

Stay in Network

Using an in-network doctor is a surefire way to save money. Going out of network costs significantly more. Doctors can move between networks at any time, so remind employees to always call before an appointment to make sure their doctor is still in their network.

Use Mobile Resources

Smartphone usage has soared in the past few years. If your health insurance offers a mobile app or other mobile resources, make sure to promote them to your employees. That way, they can better manage their health on the go.

Take Advantage of Freebies

From flu shots to health screenings, employees could have access to free health care services and supplies. Taking advantage of these is a great way for employees to save money and get regular preventive care.

Comparison Shop

Some products, like contact lenses and glasses, can cost significantly more in the doctor’s office than from other vendors. Encourage your employees to shop around and compare prices to make sure they’re getting the best deal.

Save on Prescriptions

The Tennessean reports that Tennessee residents spent nearly 11 percent more on brand name prescriptions in 2015 than in 2014. Educate employees about options for spending less on their medicines. The best cost-savers are requesting generics instead of brand name drugs, using mail-order prescriptions instead of the corner drugstore and asking for 90-day supplies instead of monthly refills.

Opt for Urgent Care

Emergency room care is expensive. Remind your employees about the benefits of using urgent care clinics for sore throats, stitches, broken bones and common illnesses. Wait times are shorter, the bill is smaller and the emergency room is left free to treat life-threatening situations.

Now that open enrollment is behind them, your employees may not remember all the details of their health plans. Sharing these tips with them can help them make the most of their new benefits in the new year for better personal and financial health.

Advice or recommendations are for informational or educational purposes only, not a substitute for a visit or consultation with your doctor. For employers: Wellness programs 
are regulated by federal and state law. Consult your legal counsel before implementing any program 

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