You Understand ACA, but your Employees Don’t [INFOGRAPHIC]

Throughout the past year, you’ve probably attended (multiple) seminars, researched like crazy and painstakingly selected a new Affordable Care Act-compliant healthcare plan for your company. Sure, things kept changing and you had to re-understand what was going on, but you finally got it down. Now you really understand ACA. Congratulations!

There’s only one problem: Your employees still have no clue what’s going on with their healthcare plan—especially with all the ACA changes. 63 percent of employees don’t understand ACA very well or at all, and more than one fourth of employees have no idea if their current plan is compliant. Employees understand how valuable their plans are. But none of that value can be accessed if they don’t understand their plans.

Your employees need to understand the many working, moving pieces of healthcare plans. (As you surely know, since you had to research to understand them yourself.) More than half of employees aren’t comfortable with:

· Submitting claims (54 percent)
· How the out-of-pocket maximum works (55 percent)

And more than one third were uncomfortable with the other parts of their plan.

There likely weren’t seminars for employees. They didn’t spend hours with an insurance broker looking into different plans. But in order to take full advantage of their plan, and feel secure that their plans are ACA complaint, they need your help. It’s simply not enough for only HR to understand healthcare. It’s something that influences each person at your company.

Healthcare also influences how 66 percent of your employees feel about their jobs. If your employees feel stressed (and one third of them have had increased stress since ACA went into effect), they aren’t going to be able to perform as well as they should.

Ignoring your plan doesn’t just negatively impact your current employees, it may affect your ability to recruit new employees. 83 percent of employees say healthcare benefits influence their decision to accept a job. Healthcare isn’t just an added benefit anymore. It’s not just government mandated—it’s required to compete for talent.

Ignoring the value of your plan can also really hurt the company. When employees’ healthcare costs rise, 70 percent of them view it as a pay cut. That doesn’t make them feel very amicable toward the company.

Here’s the good news: Your employees believe in you. Almost half of employees believe their HR department is competent when it comes to ACA. 40 percent want HR to be the one educating them about their healthcare and the same amount say you’re already doing a pretty great job educating them.

What can you do to increase employee understanding and satisfaction of healthcare?

· Find out what your employees don’t know. Send out a survey. See what they need help with. And then hold an educational meeting to fill those knowledge gaps. You can make it an optional lunch and learn. You can do it at a time when everyone will be in the office and require everyone to attend. Show them where they can view the total cost of their healthcare premium. Explain which local providers are in and out-of-network. Focus on the areas that your employees really need help with. You can even use an HRIS to track who has had the trainings or to house documents with information to help your employees understand parts of their healthcare a little better.

· Find out which parts of their plan employees aren’t happy with. Check out the infographic below. There’s pretty low satisfaction with healthcare plans among employees as a whole. Your company spends a lot of money on the healthcare benefit. Don’t let it be a place of dissatisfaction for your employees. Ask questions about high vs. low deductible plans. What works best for your employee demographic? Do they want an HSA match? Or would they prefer to have gym membership reimbursement? Figure out what your employees will appreciate and incorporate those features next time you select a plan.

Healthcare can be overwhelming. HR knows this better than anyone because they are the frontline compliance defense for the company. Now you can arm your employees with the ability to understand their healthcare plan too. Make that benefit even more valuable to them with understanding.

Infographic by T.C. de Hoyos.

If you’d like to dive deeper into the data from this study, check out our survey report.