A Google search of “how will health reform affect me” garnered millions of results. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Health Tracking Poll, more than half (55 percent) of Americans say they are confused about the new health care law and 56 percent say they don’t yet have enough information to understand how it will affect them personally. If you are an employer that means more than half of your employees are in need of information and clarification.
It’s a classic case of the WAM (what about me) factor. While there are still many unknowns, now is the time to begin internal communications about what you do know about the law and how it may affect employees’ health benefits options, so they don’t have to peruse those one million sites looking for answers.
But first, educate yourself and key managers. There are many resources available. Our benefits broker, First Horizon Insurance recently conducted a webinar for key managers. Several law firms also have great resources. Bass Berry & Sims regularly updates its reform website. Your insurance carrier may have a Web source, i.e., BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has a section on its site dedicated to reform news.
Then, review your current internal communications program to determine the best way to integrate information about how the law will affect your benefits offerings as it is implemented over the next several years. Here are some steps to consider:
- Develop a list of Frequently Asked Questions with corresponding answers. Some answers may be “we don’t know yet.” Where possible, include a time frame of when the specific rule is set to be issued. Post it on your intranet or internal network where employees can access it. Update it as needed.
- Schedule employee meetings to provide information on a periodic basis.
- Send employees emails as new information and rules are determined that will affect them.
- If you have an internal company blog, include information about health reform’s impact on employee benefits.
- Include information in your employee newsletter. Create a special section or column for reform updates.
Want more ideas? Contact KVBPR. We’d be happy to help you develop and implement a plan.