December 2017 Newsletter
Health Action Council. Your compass in the ever changing healthcare terrain

December 2017 Newsletter

Discover the Benefits in Ongoing Benefits Communications

Open enrollment may have come to a close, but just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean benefit communications should be out of mind. We all know that happy, confident employees are productive employees, which is why now more than ever, it’s important to provide reassurance and support for your employees’ health and wellness program choices by establishing ongoing communications that keep them engaged along their journey.

Effective employee communication ultimately builds and reinforces a strong foundation of trust, offers insight into their lives, and empowers them to take control of their health and wellness needs. Plus, it creates an enhanced level of engagement on a personal and professional level—a truly invaluable piece to completing the happy workforce puzzle.

To create successful communications that not only enable you to address employee needs and gain insight into satisfaction, but also encourage employees to stay active and alert to offerings, changes, benefits, and perks of their plans, take some cues from B2C marketers’ best practice playbooks—whose value can prove to be tenfold!

  • When it comes to information delivery, remember the adage “KISS”—Employees want simple, convenient answers and explanations. Don’t make it difficult. Keep it simple!
  • Speak in a way that no one feels alienated or singled out— Create dialogue with employees so they feel like they’re an active part of the conversation and that their opinion matters
  • Target employees across digital channels—With the advent of technology comes an increase in the different ways we reach our audiences. Think texts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter
  • Seek out and embrace data analytics—Algorithms, studies, and surveys may help you solve issues with engagement and retention and give you a better understanding of your employees’ experience
  • Don’t be afraid to explore available marketing technologies—These can help you determine employee trends and patterns and predict future behavior

Quality communication is an invaluable step in enhancing employee engagement and can’t be a one-time occurrence. Its value is achieved when it becomes part of a long-term strategy that’s woven into your organization’s culture.

To discover more ways to add value to your organization, I encourage you to register for our 2018 Columbus Annual Symposium and Cleveland Annual Conference. Both events will feature nationally known speakers, experts, and workshops, covering the latest trends, technologies, solutions, and innovations changing the face of healthcare today.

Patty Starr
Executive Director

Member Center

Member Center

CDC Workplace Health Program

Get ready—we’re starting the season of family, friends, food, and fun. Those office holiday parties are just around the corner. Help make the winter holidays healthier for your employees.

A good place to begin? The CDC Workplace Health Resource Center (WHRC), which contains hundreds of credible tools designed to help you plan and implement science-based health promotion strategies to improve employee health and well-being--twelve of which are Total Worker Health® approaches from CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety. These include ideas you can implement right now to promote worker well-being.

Also available, the new CDC Workplace Health Resource toolkit. Click here to access.

Co-Pay Assistance and High Deductibles
Have you Evaluated the Impact of Co-Pay Adjustment Programs on Your Members' Health Care Costs?

For members with complex chronic conditions, finding the right treatment can be a long and difficult journey. Many members face high costs due to cost sharing for premiums, deductibles, and Rx out-of-pocket (OOP) amounts. And while many manufacturers offer commercial co-pay assistance, there are financial limits to this help.

Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are offering programs to reverse the application of this assistance from a member’s deductible, but that process can result in a financial burden to members. It has been shown that when some members face higher cost sharing for their medications, they become non adherent to their therapy, which has been associated with increased utilization of costly health care services such as emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations. But there are other existing strategies that can help members stay on treatment as prescribed.

Click here to read the full article on the impact of co-pay adjustment programs on members' health care costs from Rx Benefits Brief For Employer Health Care Economic Decision Makers.

Time's Running Out! Don't Forget to Complete Your 2017 Employer Member Satisfaction Survey

To enhance member experience and provide you the solutions, resources, insights, and tools to foster a community of health in the your workplace, we need to know what’s most important to you!

If you haven't yet, please take a moment to complete our 2017 Employer Member Satisfaction Survey. Your input is important to us and will assist Health Action Council, our members, and our other partners to continue our efforts to build healthy communities where businesses thrive.

Click here for survey.

Around the Water Cooler

Around The Water Cooler

Mark Your Calendars For Our Premier Educational and Networking Events!

Columbus Annual Symposium
January 25, 2018
Nationwide Conference Center, Columbus, OH

Cleveland Annual Conference
February 21-22, 2018
Huntington Convention Center, Cleveland, OH

Our 2018 Annual Symposium and Conference will feature nationally known speakers, multiple plenary presentations, and breakout sessions covering the latest trends, technologies, solutions, and innovations that are changing the face of healthcare and employee benefits. Click here to learn more.

Health Action Council Holiday Schedule

The office will be closed from Monday, December 25, 2017 through Monday, January 1, 2018. Our normal office hours will resume on Tuesday, January 2, 2018.

From our family to yours, wishing you a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season.

Enhancing Business

Enhancing Business

Benefits Communication: Finding the Channels, Frequencies & Messages that Work

Consider this: nearly eight in ten employees are in the wrong benefit plan, three out of four believe their plan options are not personally relevant, and only 20% feel their employer communicates benefits effectively. It’s time for HR and benefits leaders to adopt a few marketing strategies into their playbook to better communicate the value your benefits program provides. Read more.

5 Ways to Connect With Those Hard-To-Reach Employees

What is the best way to communicate an important message—such as annual enrollment—when your employees are working from home, based internationally, or holding field positions that give them minimal access to a consistent physical workspace? How do you connect with those hard-to-reach employees? Benz Communications presents 5 ways employers can reach out and make sure everyone stays connected. Read more.

10 Things You Need to Know When Marketing Employee Benefits

Each year, organizations look for creative and effective ways to promote their group employee benefit offerings. It has become critical in a time when individuals are faced with comparing their workplace benefits with those offered on the open marketplace. Companies need to make employee benefit marketing a priority in order to attract and retain their best employees. Read more.

Enlightening Lives

Enlightening Lives

5 Things Employees Need to Understand About Benefits

Keeping track of what your company’s employee benefits cover and how they can work for you is essential. Your employer-provided benefits are part of your compensation, and if you’re not taking advantage of them, you can miss out on important savings and coverage. Here are five things all employees need to understand about their benefits. Read more.

Large U.S. Employers Project Health Care Benefit Costs to Surpass $14K per Employee in 2018

Given the projected increase in 2018 health care benefits costs, employers plan to focus more on how health care is delivered and paid for while retaining traditional methods of controlling costs—such as cost sharing and plan design changes. Employees who are aware of the strategies their employers are adopting give themselves the best chance to stay ahead of the trends. Read more.

Increases in Cost-Sharing Payments Have Far Outpaced Wage Growth

Rising cost-sharing for employees with sponsored health insurance plans has gone up. Increases in deductibles and coinsurance are in part responsible for these rising out-of-pocket costs. The Kaiser Family Foundation has found that deductible spending has risen at a higher rate than spending on copayments, wages, insurance covered costs, and spending on coinsurance. All the more reason for employees to look closer at their benefits options to figure out what really works for them. Read more.

Enriching Communities

Enriching Communities

Improving Collaboration Among Health Communication, Health Education, and
Health Literacy

Health communication, health education, and health literacy are rooted in a common understanding of human communication and share the goals of enhancing human health, improving health outcomes, and reducing health disparities. When professionals in health communication, health education, and health literacy reach out across the boundaries of their respective disciplines, they have the potential to transform health communication practices for the benefit of everyone. Read more.

Gateway to Health Communication & Social Marketing Practice

CDC’s Gateway to Communication and Social Marketing Practice provides resources to help build your health communication or social marketing campaigns and programs. Whether you are looking for tips for analyzing and segmenting an audience, choosing appropriate channels and tools, or evaluating the success of your messages or campaigns, it’s all here in one convenient place. Read more.

Community Health Records: Establishing a Systematic Approach to Improving Social and Physical Determinants of Health

To systematically improve population health in the United States, community health records (CHRs) must be defined, developed, and implemented. CHRs contain data about communities, including the social, physical, and lifestyle determinants of health. Along with electronic and personal health records, CHRs will provide a more complete view of population health, allowing stakeholders to target community health and quality-of-life interventions in a data-driven and evidence-based manner, increasing health communication and improving our communities. Read more.

Programming & Community Calendar

Programming & Community Calendar

Health Action Council Programs are diverse, informative, and free to Health Action Council employer members. Click on the available links to learn more and register.

December 7, 2017
Compliance Calendar Update
Join Attorney Chris Poth of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, December 7th, as she provides an overview of effective dates, important deadlines, and recent developments under the new administration.
2:00pm - 3:00pm EST
Emerging data suggests that the combination of low health care literacy and complex plans like HDHPs may have a significant impact on health care resource utilization, employer costs and member health. Learn about key considerations when utilizing HDHP services.
10:00am - 11:00am EST


January 25, 2018
Columbus Annual Symposium
Symposium topics balance best practices and day-to-day solutions with insights into the trends, technologies and innovations that are changing the face of healthcare and employee benefits.
Nationwide Conference Center
7:15am - 3:30pm EST



February 21-22, 2018
Cleveland Annual Conference
Our annual premier educational and networking event features nationally known speakers, multiple plenary presentations, and concurrent breakout sessions for employers and other key stakeholders in the health benefits industry.
Huntington Convention Center
Wednesday 12:30pm - 4:30pm EST
Thursday 7:25am - 5:00pm EST

Thanks to Our Annual Supporters

Special thanks to our Premium Annual Supporters for sharing Health Action Council's vision and collaborating with us to provide outstanding services to our members.

Classic Annual Supporters


Health Action Council is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing mid and large-size employers that enhances human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services and collaboration. It provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve the quality and moderate the cost of healthcare purchased by its members for their employees, dependents and retirees.

Health Action Council also collaborates with key stakeholders - health plans, physicians, hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry - to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the community.