“How do I know which medical plan to choose?”

It’s one of the most common questions employees ask when they are choosing benefits. While employees like having a choice of medical plans, they often feel unsure about which plan makes the most sense for them and their family.

This is understandable. After all, employees have a financial stake in the benefits they choose. Even with most employers paying the largest portion of premiums, employees still have to pay their share of the plan premiums each paycheck. Plus, they often incur out-of-pocket expenses, too. Even more, once employees choose a plan, it is in effect for a full year (minus a qualifying life event), so they want to be sure they are picking a plan that complements their specific situation.

Providing Help with Big Benefit Decisions

While choosing the right benefits is one of the biggest decisions your employees can make on an annual basis, a report from PlanSource reveals that most people spend just 18 minutes on average enrolling in their benefits. By contrast, the average consumer spends four hours deciding to purchase a mobile phone.

It’s clear that employees struggle when it comes time to choose their benefits. Part of the problem is employees don’t know exactly how to evaluate the plans—and it can feel overwhelming knowing where to begin.

When it comes to medical coverage, one of the best ways for employees to evaluate which plan is right for them is to look at estimated healthcare costs for the year. At Westcomm, we’ve developed a handful of decision support tools that help employees do just that. These tools have been positively received by employees and, as a result, have become a permanent part of many of our client’s annual open enrollment communications strategies.

Ochsner Health Medical Cost Calculator Example

Medical Plan Cost Calculator

Our web-based calculator allows employees to enter estimated expenses—annual premiums, visits to the doctor, prescriptions, etc.—and then get a comparison of how the estimated expenses stack up with each plan. This enables employees to think more comprehensively about their medical coverage and evaluate it more completely.

Medical Plan Scenarios

Sometimes it’s helpful for employees to see how a plan works in a particular situation. To do that, we evaluate your employee usage data and develop employee scenarios that appeal to the largest segments of your employee population. Generally, these one-page scenarios compare different coverage levels (single vs. family) and healthcare usage (infrequent healthcare needs to regular chronic conditions) to illustrate estimated costs by plan

Choosing a Medical Plan Video

Similar in structure to the one-page scenarios, this video brings all scenarios together into one communication piece. This format is appealing to those who would prefer to watch and listen to the scenarios and see the “math” of the cost comparisons versus reading them.

Benefit choices are a great thing. And helping your employees navigate the dilemma of which plan to choose is one of our sweet spots. If we can help you strategize on specific tools for your employee population, let us know.

Want to chat? Reach out at helloindy@westcomm.com or follow us @westcomm on LinkedIn for more insights.