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Do you create employee packets for your group clients?

Do you create employee packets for your group clients?

These days, employee communication is more important than ever. Obviously, the government requires that certain information be communicated and notices be provided to employees, but, even without that requirement, it’s critically important that employees understand their benefits. If they don’t, they won’t appreciate them, and the employer will not get the return on investment he or she was hoping for by offering benefits in the first place.

Put another way, companies offer health insurance and other employee benefits to attract and retain quality employees, but if the employees do not understand and appreciate their benefits, the company is just throwing its money away.

Unfortunately, health insurance is not easy for employees to understand, so carriers often design one-pagers to explain different aspects of the health plan. There might be a flier that explains the telehealth benefit, another that explains the difference between generic and brand name drugs, and another that discusses the complementary and alternative medicine discounts included in the health plan. Each of these pieces, on its own, can be a great resource to help employees understand specific aspects of the health plan. However, most employers do not have a “drip campaign” designed to educate employees about their benefits. Instead of providing the information in bite-size chunks, a little at a time, most employers either 1) give employees a big pile of fliers that they have to sort through or 2) choose not to distribute the information at all. There has to be a better way…

There is! You can put together an employee packet that your clients can distribute to their employees so that they have all of the information they need in one place.

There are several benefits of creating an employee packet:

  1. It demonstrates the value you provide as an agent. Not every agent prepares an employee packet for his or her clients.
  2. It enhances the value, or at least the appearance, of the employee benefits package. This makes the employer look good and will surely be appreciated.
  3. It gives employees a tool they can refer to when they need information about their health insurance and other employee benefits.
  4. It informs employees about free perks that you or the employer might not be time to discuss during an enrollment meeting.
  5. It allows you to sell additional products to the employees by including information about life insurance, supplemental products, travel insurance, etc.
  6. Including some of the required notices helps the employer stay compliant.
  7. It allows you the opportunity to share your contact information with employees, and that can lead to referrals.

How do you do it?

There’s no right or wrong way to assemble an employee packet, but here are a few easy steps that should help you get started:

  • Gather the material together. The information you include in the packet will likely be a combination of carrier-provided forms and fliers and information pieces that you design yourself.
  • Divide the material into logical categories. For example, you would likely include a section on costs and benefits, one with the forms that need to be completed, one with information about network providers, one with information about covered preventive services, one with information about the free perks the carrier offers, and one with required notices.
  • Create cover page for each section. The section dividers should help the employee quickly find the information they’re looking for. If the information in a given section is fairly constant (if it doesn’t change from one client to the next), you might provide a listing and short description of the information included.
  • Bundle it all together using Adobe Acrobat. The version that allows you to combine documents into a single PDF might cost a little money, but you’ll find that it’s well worth the investment.

The Compliance Stuff

The required notices section of your packet might contain items like the Notice of Coverage Options, HIPAA Special Enrollment Notice, COBRA or Continuation Notice, and the Summaries of Benefits and Coverage.

It is important to point out to the employer that the packet helps them meet some of their compliance requirements, but not all of them. It is not a good substitute, for instance for the plan document or ERISA wrap document. For those items, you might recommend a good Third-Party Administrator.

What the packet does do, though, is allow the employer to educate the employees about the benefits they get and meet some of their compliance requirements at the same time. And, thanks to your efforts, all they have to do is distribute it to their employees.

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