It is time to unlock the power of hidden benefits. Each year when preparing to communicate new benefits changes, we tend to get bogged down in the delivery of rising medical costs and medical benefit changes. Understandably, medical hits the company’s bottom line and the employee’s wallet the hardest. This singular focus on medical benefits causes us to neglect the communication of other valuable benefits that may directly or indirectly save money for the company and your employees. Prior posts in this series include Enrollment and Billing Audit, Dependent Eligibility Audit, Know Your Claims and Duplication of Coverage.
Secret Five: Hidden Benefits
Hidden benefits are services and benefits that your employees may not fully understand or have no knowledge they exist. They could be stand alone plans or riders on policies. Either way, they have a purpose and can be very useful.
They key is identify your hidden benefits and communicate them properly. Here is a list of typical hidden benefits and some additional information about them:
- International EAP
- Preferred networks
- Short term disability
- Disease management
- RX discounts
- Medical evacuation and repatriation
The importance of an international EAP plan could merit several blog pieces on its own. The obvious benefits of EAP are credit, substance, marital, emotional counseling, and the list continues. Take anyone one of these common issues and multiply the stress of being a thousand miles from home and your support group and you have a serious problem. A problem that needs to be addressed by someone who can support the cultural issues, language barriers, and the exponential stress associated of being abroad. Not utilizing a good EAP plan can create loss of productivity and maybe the loss of your expat.
Some international medical plans come with EAP riders and other useful riders like medical evacuation and repatriation. You have to determine if the rider is adequate for your needs compared to a standalone plan. Either way, it is important employees understand their benefits and how they can utilize them.
Make sure you take the time to communicate all your benefits each year and not just the changes. Ensure that everyone has a summary of the plan in an easy to follow handbook that can be accessed via the internet. Additionally, you should issue new cards each year for wallets and purses.
My final recommendation on communication is bit outside the box but I have seen very positive results with my clients. I recommend you consider inviting spouses to the meetings or at least include them in the communication. In every home, you have a quarterback on issues like benefits and half the time it is the spouse. Effectively communication with the spouse may pay off in the long run.
Good luck unlocking the power of your hidden benefits. I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.
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