Insurance companies may find the Internet to be a useful tool to help reach employee benefits communications goals.
Many companies are currently offering a variety of services to their employees via the Internet to help straighten out the communication process as well as address any issues their employees may have regarding benefits.
Joanne Dietch, a principal for Towers-Perrin, who wrote a chapter in a recently published book titled “Web-Based Human Resources: The Technologies And Trends That Are Transforming HR,” said the Web is important because it permits up-to-the-minute communications and relays information both to employees and their covered family members.
She also said the Web can easily identify the user and display the information that is appropriate.
From an insurance company perspective, she added that use of the Web to inform members of their health plan benefits is increasing.
Via the Internet, “Insurance companies can present to a member information they would ordinarily have to call about,” she said.
More sophisticated (health care) Web sites, have the ability to check a claims status and print forms, which saves time, money and paper, Dietch said. They can also provide listings of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, she said.
She added that many health care Web sites have links to health and wellness sites, which she believes “helps in the long run to make people better consumers of health care and can help modify the cost trends for these medical plans.”
Dietch said other advantages for communicating employee benefits on the Web include:
Allowing a company to construct information so that it can be easily accessed. “Its easier to find a fact on the Web than it is in a book or by calling someone,” she said.
Allowing the ability to answer questions through the use of modeling tools. “Web sites used for 401(k)s are an excellent example of how information can be turned into knowledge through interactivity,” she explained.