(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by ALEX®, The Jellyvision Lab’s virtual benefits counselor. Available to over one million people in almost 100 organizations nationwide, ALEX is proud to report a 100% customer renewal rate. This is a very cool product! I hope you enjoy the post.)
A few months ago, I introduced you to ALEX, the virtual benefits counselor. ALEX is a fun and engaging way to explain company benefits. You can check out the introduction to ALEX here.
In that post, I mentioned the team at The Jellyvision Lab was working on a way for ALEX to communicate health care reform information. That’s right – ALEX is now the resident expert on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I like to think of it as ALEX has read all the regulations and sat through all the webinars, workshops and briefings on ACA, saving me a lot of time.
You might be saying to yourself, “The White House just delayed the employer mandate. So we don’t need to talk about health care reform anymore.” Wrong. Postponement doesn’t mean the law is going away. What it means is organizations now have extra time to make sure that employees understand the law and how it impacts them. And there are still those October deadlines to think about.
The 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report says 75% of employees think their company will educate them about changes to their health care coverage as a result of healthcare reform. Yet in the same study, only 13%of companies said educating employees about health care reform was important to their organization.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If 75% of your workforce expects some sort of communication and the company doesn’t deliver it, I’m pretty darn sure there could end up being problems with employee satisfaction, morale and engagement. Don’t be that company.
ALEX can benefit organizations with a diverse workplace in such areas as:
- Geography (multi-state operations)
- Salary (a wide range in highest and lowest paid employees)
- Job Status (full-time, part-time, seasonal, on-call, etc.)
What ALEX does is ask employees some basic questions about where they live, their family status, and income level. It helps employees understand how certain provisions of the new law impact them. For example:
- What is the ACA?
- How does the “affordability rule” apply to me?
- What’s the “minimum value provision” and how does it impact my health care coverage?
- Am I eligible for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act?
- Am I eligible for Medicaid?
As an HR pro, I want to help employees understand their benefits. There’s nothing that frustrates me more than when an employee would come into my office, start talking about how the company should have this benefit or that benefit…only for me to reply with, “you know, you already have that benefit.”
They didn’t know. Sigh.
But here’s the thing, I don’t really want to know all the intricate details of employee’s lives. I don’t want to know about family members spending time in rehab. I don’t need to know about an employee’s bankruptcy filing. ALEX allows a company to have a resident expert without you personally becoming the resident expert. ALEX can privately listen to every employee’s situation and give them guidance.
ALEX will be consistent. He’ll ask everyone the same questions. He won’t forget a question.
He’ll meet with anyone, anytime. ALEX is available to employees at work, at home and even on their smartphones and tablets.
And, ALEX speaks Spanish.
ALEX has been created to lessen the burden of communication while still delivering the highest quality information.
Since I live in one of those states that hasn’t really made up its mind yet about health care exchanges and all that stuff, the team at The Jellyvision Lab let me test drive ALEX Does Health Care Reform. I put in several scenarios using different states, income, marital status, etc. I was really impressed with how ALEX kept the conversation easy to understand. This video explains it all.
I also really liked that, at the end of the session, ALEX would email me a summary of information. Great for employees who interact with ALEX at work or on the road then take the info home to discuss with family. Or they decide to pend the info for a few weeks while researching options.
Health care benefits are the number one recruiting enticement for companies, over compensation, flexible work, corporate culture and professional development. Educating workers about their health care is a win for everyone.