Ep 235 – Better Healthcare Benefit Communication 365 Days a Year

With so many changes in with HSA, ACA, and new telehealth and telemedicine options, plus FSA, HSA and EAP options, employees are overwhelmed by making upcoming benefits and health insurance selection as new hires, but also as part of their annual enrollment. HR leaders are tasked with helping employees understand and navigate these healthcare selections, and it’s not an easy challenge.

Episode 235: Better Healthcare Benefit Communication with Justin Holland (@jh_healthjoy

Today I’m joined by Justin Holland, CEO, and Cofounder of HealthJoy, the first benefits experience platform that combines an AI-powered virtual assistant with a team of online medical providers and healthcare concierges to deliver a simple, mobile experience that employees can turn to when they need care. Justin helped build HealthJoy to $48.5M in funding and 220 employees in three countries and its platform serves hundreds of thousands of members every day. 

1 in 3 Employees Don’t Understand Their Healthcare Benefits

As an HR leader, I know you understand that employees are clueless about their healthcare benefits. In fact, 33 percent of employees don’t understand their current healthcare offerings at their organization. Personally, I found this number to be a little too low in my experience. Are an HR leader, it is a challenge during annual benefits enrollment to field questions, and I know that so many employees and their partners are left without answers when it comes to their healthcare plans. Justin shares that using machine learning technologies like HealthJoy are helping freeing up HR leaders and allowing employees and their partners to get instant access to their healthcare plan information. For me, I’ve found the most common question about a healthcare plan’s from employees is the group number. Just says that this is true, but the healthcare virtual assistant, Joy’s work goes beyond that providing resources including doctor’s that accept current plans and even emergency rooms that are within a specific location.

Justin says that normally one person in a household is the benefits point of contact and often times this person is the partner that is not the employee of the organization which makes communciation about things like open enrollment a challenge for HR teams. It seems like these type of healthcare benefit plans questions need answering outside of normal business hours. In my experience, they happen late at night and often just before the annual enrollment deadline. Don’t get me started on the number of benefit questions I received written in all caps and with sheer panic at 9:00 PM on the Sunday before deadline is too many to count. Justin and his company’s work is changing all that.

How COVID-19 Is Changing Telehealth and Your Employee Benefit Plans 

I remember the first time I called the nurse’s line to ask a question about my young daughter running a fever. I had questions about the dosage. It felt weird asking for advice when I wasn’t in the room, but I quickly learned as a new parent that tele-health appointments and the on-call nurse’s line were essential and continue to be. With the majority of us now working from home and being limited geographically to an area that’s outside of our offices, the use of telemedicine is dramatically increasing.

While I’ve used tele-health for many years, not everyone especially your employees have felt comfortable talking to a doctor via web cam. COVID is dramatically changing the way we use healthcare and how our employees are embracing our healthcare benefit programs focused on virtual and online services. As HR leaders, we need to be reminding employees of different healthcare program benefits keeping them and their families safe and putting to use the full extend of the healthcare plans.


I think the recent pandemic, along with federal governance for healthcare enrollment, has put a spotlight on how employers handle communication not just for annual enrollment, but also how we choose plans and providers based on flexibility and service for our workforce. Most HR leaders will agree that benefits, regulations, and FSA or HSA plans are one of the most challenging areas to simplify for our workforce. As technology like AI becomes more widely used, support in this area is more common and employees are more comfortable using platforms that can walk them through benefit plans, employee assistance programs, and changes to open enrollment. I’m pleased to have had Justin Holland with us today to make sense of a really complicated process.

Connect with Justin Holland on LinkedIn




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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.


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