Working with multiple benefits vendors can be confusing for employees

More than 40 percent of employees find that dealing with multiple vendors to access their benefits is confusing, according to recent research from HealthAdvocate. The survey, Driving Benefits Engagement: Strategies to Optimize Employee Health and Well-Being Programs, found that working with multiple benefits vendors also leads to a fragmentation of vendor/partner/internally developed tools (43 percent). Other issues with utilizing multiple vendors are lack of utilization (40 percent) and technology issues with integrating systems (35 percent).

Generally speaking, when asked what approaches benefits leaders currently used to optimize employee engagement in health and well-being benefits, about a quarter of respondents mentioned a unified integrated benefits management platform, while another 25 percent specifically said mobile applications and social media were starting to play a larger role than in previous years. According to HealthAdvocate, the majority cited more conventional approaches including regular communications (mainly employee newsletters and blogs) (78 percent), events/meetings (such as benefit fairs) (67 percent), and contributions to health accounts (such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)) (65 percent).

Over half of employers (54 percent) used incentives to optimize employee engagement in benefits. Incentives most commonly used included: HSA contributions (49 percent), reduced insurance premiums (44 percent) and cash/gifts (39 percent). HealthAdvocate found that the programs employers incentivized the most were wellness programs at 73 percent, retirement benefits (such as 401ks) at 48 percent, and biometric screenings at 45 percent. Financial wellness, pricing transparency and disease management were examples of benefits employers don’t currently incentivize but are considering.

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