Employees are more positive and apt to comply with an audit when every portion of the DEA is clearly communicated. A diversified communication plan is necessary to ensure a high response rate from employees.
Communications could include:
- Internal emails
- Centralized information posters
- Direct mail to employee homes
- Word of mouth (via managers and HR)
- Video postcards
The initial communication should be sent out to all employees prior to the DEA start. We suggest starting with a direct mail piece that clearly outlines the 5 main Ws: who, what, where, when and why. When organizations reach out to employees to announce and explain the impending audit, ensure you cover each core W.
Communicate the “Who”
Clearly communicate that the DEA applies to every employee. Each employee will need to respond and provide documentation for his or her dependents. You should also list out who would be considered an ineligible dependent.
Ineligible dependents typically include:
- Divorced Spouses
- Over-age Children
Employees should also be made aware of the consequences of not participating in the DEA. For example, many organizations will stop providing benefits for any dependents that employees did not provide documentation for during the DEA process.
Communicate the “What”
Explain what a DEA is and how the process will work. In a nutshell, the central task of an audit is to verify the eligibility of each dependent claimed by an employee. Make sure to be positive when communicating what a DEA is. 90% or more of your staff won’t have any issues. On average, an audit affects 6% of covered dependents, which most employees will take as a positive attribute when they understand the importance of the audit.
Communicate the “Where”
Employees will need to provide documentation for each dependent. Clearly explain where employees should submit this documentation. This could include mailing copies to a central location or uploading it to an online portal.
Communicate the “When”
Set a schedule for the DEA and clearly outline to employees when the DEA is starting, how long the process will last and any pertinent deadlines they will need to observe. Keep the process simple. The easier the process, the happier your employees will be.
Communicate the “Why”
Employees are more positive and apt to comply with the audit when they know why you are conducting the audit. It’s important to let employees know that each of them will benefit from the audit.
When an employee files a claim for an ineligible dependent it can cost employers $3,500 – $50,000 or more. When this happens, your business has to pay the claim for ineligible dependents, which can increase medical costs for every employee, every year. That’s why it’s so important to weed out ineligible dependents.
Great reasons with which to supply employees could include:
- Ensure the company is compliant & safe from legal exposure
- Decrease the chances of getting fined over compliance issues
- Benefits will stay the same or get better
- Medical costs won’t increase including co-pays and other fees
When organizations provide a clear explanation of the purpose and motivation for the audit, it can often improve employee outlook, which can in turn motivate employees to participate.