Shortly after the countdown is over and the ball drops at midnight, a new kind of excitement sinks in. If nothing else, the New Year has become synonymous with a fresh start and an opportunity to achieve new goals. We’ve all set New Year’s resolutions before, ranging from weight loss to better spending habits, and there is little doubt that improving financial and personal health topped the list yet again in 2017. 

Unfortunately, a staggering 92 percent of people who set New Year’s resolutions do not succeed in achieving them, according to Statistic Brain. While there are various reasons for not meeting goals, one reason could be the absence of a realistic plan. Advisors have a unique opportunity to help employees successfully reach their goals by providing clients with the right tools to help increase employees’ overall health and financial well-being. Below are some things advisors can recommend to clients as they engage their workers on health and financial wellness topics in 2017. 

Compare health care costs to reduce medical spending

Because of the rise in high-deductible health plans, employees now pay a greater share of out-of-pocket expenses, which could quickly run them off course with financial wellness goals. To help with deductibles, employees can purchase health care as they would other goods — by shopping around to find quality care at affordable prices. Many different factors affect the costs of common medical procedures, resulting in widely varying prices. For example, treatment at a hospital typically costs more than the same treatment at a doctor’s office or an outpatient clinic. Clients can encourage employees to compare costs of medical care before treatment occurs by using online comparison tools or discussing costs with various medical providers in the area. 

Monitor health spending throughout the year

Advisors can also help clients and their employees work together to combat overwhelming medical costs and improve financial wellness. Throughout the year, clients can remind employees to track medical spending and identify areas of care with the largest expenses. By remaining mindful of employee spending, clients will be more likely to understand employee needs and can work with advisors to ensure they offer tailored voluntary benefits solutions during the next enrollment period. 

Improve health through wellness options

Preventative care is of the utmost importance when improving the overall wellness of your clients’ workforce. Advisors can remind clients to stress the importance of good health habits before an injury or illness occurs. Scheduling annual medical checkups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle through a well-balanced diet and regular exercise are just a few simple preventative care practices that clients can encourage in the workplace. To increase employee participation, clients can discuss wellness program options with employees that can help them manage common health issues such as stress, weight, healthy sleeping, blood pressure or tobacco use. Advisors can share program ideas with clients like gym memberships, nutrition planning meetings or even time off for annual wellness visits to ensure that employees are properly managing their health before it affects their bodies and wallets. 

Education is key

Advisors can remind clients to maintain open communication about benefits throughout the year, encouraging employees to continually take full advantage of all benefits services. Extended communication can increase employee understanding of benefits and employee participation. Advisors can work with clients to distribute informational materials to ensure employees understand who and what are covered by benefits plans, when they should use specific services and why certain products are preferred in certain situations. By working with clients to help them understand the answers to these questions, employers will be better positioned to educate workers on how to be prepared for out-of-pocket costs and keep their health a top priority. 

Off to a strong start

We already know that employees are happier when they are healthy and less stressed about finances. Staying ahead of financial and health goals can be a little easier for workers if they have the right support. By providing the right tools and ensuring employees fully understand the services available to them, advisors can make sure clients and their employees get a strong start in the new year. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a solicitation. 

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