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October 15, 2007
Most Companies Educate Employees on Healthcare Terms

Nearly 75 percent of human resource professionals report that their company educates their employees on basic healthcare terms.

When asked "Do you educate your employees on basic health care terms (co-pay, deductible, etc.)?," just 27 percent responded "No" in a recent poll. Of those that answered "Yes," 49 percent responded that "we provide written materials that explain these terms" and 24 percent responded that "we conduct seminars that explain these terms."

A recent survey by Watson Wyatt found that slightly less than half of employees reported being comfortable describing what a co-pay or deductible is. The survey also found that only 36 percent of employees are comfortable describing flexible spending account, and 35 percent can define out-of-pocket maximum. In addition, less than 25 percent are comfortable describing health savings account, coinsurance, and formulary.

"Helping employees improve their health care literacy and learn the terminology can make or break a company's healthcare efforts overall," commented Kathryn Yates, global director of communication consulting at Watson Wyatt. She also noted that employers should use "a mix of channels and formats" in their efforts to help employees understand these terms and what their health plan covers, thus empowering them "to become smarter healthcare consumers."

The poll included 227 respondents.

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