The portion of the workforce with disabilities is a lot higher than most people think. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 34.8% of working adults had a disability in 2022.
As an employer, you need to know how to appease employees with disabilities. You obviously understand the need to support these employees by offering reasonable accommodations to make their jobs easier. However, you have to do more than that if you want to attract qualified workers that happen to deal with disabilities.
One of the things that you need to do is offer decent healthcare benefits, so your employees with disabilities can get the treatment they need to deal with their healthcare problems. Healthcare benefits are obviously important for most employees and are also mandatory for businesses with over 50 employees under the Affordable Care Act. However, they are even more important if you are trying to attract employees with disabilities.
How Can You Use Health Benefits to Attract Employees with Disabilities?
Part of being an employer means providing your employees with a comprehensive benefits package. You need to think about the needs of your employees, including whether they have disabilities when offering a package.
A great employer will ensure that their company is given all the resources to fully understand the extent of their benefit package. Typically, this includes health insurance, retirement savings and time-off benefits. However, terms can vary from company to company and many choose to have others including personal-injury benefits or health insurance for people struggling with disabilities. You can read more about health insurance requirements here.
1. Create A Clear Benefit Plan Summary
Benefit plans tend to be full of many legal terms and multiple pages of confusing information. The summary should be written for your employer to understand, not an attorney. Before you provide your employees with the package, create a clear and simple summary. This should include a concise overview of the different types of benefits, how they work and what the associated costs are. This helps employees determine the value of the given benefits, and which ones will be most advantageous for them to enroll in.
You want to make sure the summary clearly indicates the health benefits and what they will cover. This is particularly important for employees with disabilities, since they tend to have higher medical bills. The National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative shows that the average person with a disability has annual medical costs of $13,492, while costs for people without disabilities average $2,835. Therefore, they need to be reassured that you can cover their needs.
2. Utilize Multiple Communication Channels
Your employees have many different platforms they have to keep up with, so don’t let it get lost in the mix. To ensure that all employees receive this necessary information, deliver the message on every type of communication channel that your office utilizes. This could include emails, printed flyers, in-person meetings, messaging systems or online resources. Regardless of the employee’s communication preference, this will ensure that they have received the information.
3. Provide Education and Simply The Process
Provide your employees with all the education needed to understand what benefits will work best for them. Partner with your benefit plan provider. Oftentimes, your benefit plan provider has the resources and materials that thoroughly explains the matters, and can even provide help with claims processes. If your company offers personal-injury benefits, help to simplify the process. Give clear instructions on how to file a claim and communicate when the status of the claim. Consider bringing in other professionals, like an attorney, to have a third party explain their rights.
If any of your employees have cognitive disabilities, then you need to make sure your educational process accounts for them.
4. Offer One On One Consultations
While online resources and group meetings can be helpful, offering one-on-one consultations can be even more effective in communicating benefit plans options to employees. These consultations can allow employers to ask questions and receive advice that is personal to them. Because benefit plans deal with personal aspects of your employees life they may feel more comfortable receiving guidance without others hearing.
Again, it may be a good idea to have a specialist that can help employees with disabilities that may struggle to understand your information.
5. Offer Safety Training
One topic most benefit plans cover is what will happen if a worker is injured on the job. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Jeffrey Hasson, P.C., explained that most employers are legally obligated to pay benefits to their employees who suffer injuries on the job. There are some exceptions; but, as a general rule, if you qualify as an “employee,” there is a good chance that you will be entitled to claim workers’ compensation benefits. Encourage safety training to hopefully avoid an accident in the future.
6. Encourage Employee Feedback
Encourage your employees to tell you how to better communicate your benefits plan. Offer focus groups, surveys, or encourage any comments to be sent in. The more open the conversation is, the better your program can become. Remember, if your employees feel they are taken care of the more your company environment can thrive. It takes a community to run a successful business.
Employee benefit plans are not an area to brush under the rug. Start the conversation during every employee’s on-boarding process, and continue the conversations every few months. Create a central location for all benefits-related information, so everyone is aware of where to locate it. As your company grows, learn what works best for you, this is a comprehensive and ongoing process.