The adage "there are no stupid questions" is quite apt when it comes to navigating the complexities of the American health care industry, especially health insurance. Yet, many employees get incredibly stuck just trying to figure out where to start selecting health insurance that makes the most sense for them and their families, let alone understanding how to use their benefits to save themselves and their companies money. 

A whopping 56% of Americans feel "completely lost" trying to understand their health insurance, with the number rising to 75% among people on a family member's job-based health plan, according to a 2021 survey by Bend Financial. The survey also uncovered these meaningful insights:

  • When asked what element of health insurance confuses them most, 52% cited figuring out what counts toward their deductible.
  • Nearly half of respondents said understanding what procedures are covered or what constitutes in- or out-of-network care was the most confusing part to them. 
  • An overwhelming 65% of respondents incorrectly said that HSAs and FSAs are the same.

The situation is made worse when employees think they'll appear foolish or unintelligent if they ask questions directly to HR or in employee meetings. The confusion and lack of understanding are costing employees, their families, and their employers money and lost time. 

For brokers, this creates an opportunity to be an essential resource to employers and their workforces, to act as a trusted advisor and support harried HR and benefits leaders. Employers that offer health insurance benefits must make sure employees know how to select and navigate this valuable offering. Below are several strategies that brokers can share with clients in two general areas that will make a difference for the companies and their employees: communication and engagement.

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