Tips for starting the new health plan year off right

Communicating, promoting preventive care, fostering a culture of wellness and supporting mental health can help employers start the year on the right foot.

The start of a new health plan year can be a great time to re-commit to building a healthier workforce. Implementing effective strategies and providing the right support can help empower employees to make positive health choices that can benefit their health, productivity and even wallets. Here are 4 tips to help start the new health plan year off right:

1. Communicate and educate

Clear and effective communication is critical to ensuring that employees understand their health benefits — and know how to make the most of them. For instance, employers may want to start the new health plan year by providing information about employees’ coverage, including any changes or updates. And they should keep the communication coming: 81% of employees want ongoing communication about benefit offerings, according to a recent survey.1

The Employee Engagement Planner® (EEP) can be a great resource for employers offering insurance through UnitedHealthcare since it auto-populates a calendar with timely, relevant materials, from reminders about flu shots to information about accessing health and wellness resources, which are readymade to send to employees. 

2. Promote preventive care

Prevention is foundational to good health.2 Employers may want to encourage and incentivize employees to prioritize preventive care, including partaking in regular checkups, screenings and vaccinations. At UnitedHealthcare, employees in eligible employer-sponsored plans can earn rewards for participating in preventive care activities, such as completing a health survey or receiving a biometric screening, through programs like UnitedHealthcare Rewards.

By promoting preventive care, employers may be able to help employees get health issues identified and addressed earlier, which can lead to better health outcomes and reduced health care costs for both employees and employers. 

3. Foster a culture of wellness

Creating a culture of wellness can have a significant impact on employee health and productivity. Employers can do this by offering wellness programs that cater to their employees’ unique and varied needs, such as fitness challenges, nutrition workshops, stress management sessions and smoking cessation support.

Employers may even want to consider opening an on-site employee wellness center like an employer in Kansas did to help create a healthier community and workforce. Prioritizing employee well-being may help employers foster a healthier and more engaged workforce.

4. Support mental health

There’s no doubt that behavioral health conditions are rampant. Employers can start the health plan year off right by recognizing the importance of mental health and the impact it is likely to have on a workforce’s overall well-being in 2024. Providing behavioral health benefits, as well as promoting a stigma-free work environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help and support is critical to supporting employees’ behavioral health.

Other ways employers can support mental health include organizing mental health awareness campaigns, workshops or seminars to educate employees about mental health and provide resources for managing stress, anxiety and depression. By prioritizing mental health, employers can create a supportive workplace that values employees’ overall well-being.

Key takeaway: Starting a new health plan year off right requires proactive planning and a commitment to employee well-being. By effectively communicating and educating employees, promoting preventive care, fostering a culture of wellness and supporting mental health, employers can set the stage for a healthier and more productive workforce. Investing in the health and well-being of employees not only benefits them but also contributes to the success and growth of employers’ own businesses.

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