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Five Ways to Make Employees Better Health Care Consumers

Each year, you provide the best health insurance your company can afford. You send out open enrollment reminders and distribute benefit plan summaries. You hope your employees participate in any free health-improvement and education programs offered by the insurance provider. Unfortunately, the year passes with little positive change in overall employee health. You do, however, see an increasing cost for providing health insurance.

It’s time to take a more proactive role in motivating your employees, starting with education.

Schedule employee training

Health plans can seem complex, even daunting. Make sure your employees know the basics of their plan, including:

  • What their health plan covers
  • Which facilities may charge more for the same services
  • The benefits of using one primary care physician
  • How to contact their health insurance provider

Remind employees to connect with the insurance provider

You, and your employees who are plan members, should sign up to access their account online, if available. This is where they can find:

  • Claims statements and amounts applied to deductibles
  • Health tips and alerts
  • In-network physicians, pharmacies, hospitals and other health facilities
  • Who to call with insurance questions

The online portal may also offer:

  • Discounts on gym memberships or weight-loss programs
  • Free apps that help employees track their food choices and exercise goals

Encourage employees to keep moving at work

You’ve helped your employees understand their health benefits. Now it’s time to put them in charge of their health. They know they should move more, eat better and lower their stress, but they may find it difficult to get started or stay motivated. Help them at work by:

  • Designating meetings as “standing” vs. sitting
  • Providing them with pedometers
  • Forming lunchtime walking groups

Make it easy to eat healthy in the workplace

Don’t bring donuts. Instead, offer fresh fruit or protein bars and put better choices in the vending machines.

Sponsor health-focused events or programs 

Offer rewards to individuals who reached controlled and achievable outcomes through:

  • An employee challenge for weight loss, stress reduction, or hydration
  • An after-work bowling/soccer/golf league
  • A self-improvement book club
  • Taking part in a community event

By now, your employees have become informed health care consumers who are taking part in improving their own wellness.

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