That’s Not What We Were Told!

Hermann Ebinghaus

How effective are employee health insurance benefit meetings? Or are they a waste of time?

By Bill Rusteberg

“That’s not what we were told! is an age old complaint we sometimes hear from unhappy employees who use their health insurance and, for the second time, learn what IS and ISN’T covered. This is despite those despised and lengthy mandatory employee meetings HR demands in order to explain plan benefits to a sleepy, half dead audience of employees who couldn’t care less. “Good morning! We are so excited to have you here today! Today  our broker is gonna talk about what IS and ISN’T!”

Employee health insurance meetings are a waste of time. No one wants to go to these boring meetings in the first place, much less in a mood to learn the in’s and out’s of ever so complicated health insurance coverage taught in tongues.

Hermann Ebbinghaus did an interesting memory curve study that shows within 24 hours we will forget 75% of what we learned and within 30 days we will forget 90%. Of the 10% we remember, 5% is inaccurate.

In view of the Ebbinghaus Memory Study, employee meetings to explain health insurance benefits (or anything else) will not produce the intended effect of a smarter, brighter, more knowledgeable health care consumer. After 30 days employees will remember only 10% of what they learned, and half of that will be wrong.

An employee meeting should probably start off something like this:

“Thirty days from now 100% of you will remember only 10% of what we discuss today and half of that will be wrong. But don’t worry, there is hope for the brain dead! When you eventually have the need to use your health insurance, you will learn and remember and will never forget what IS AND ISN’T covered.”

After insulting the audience one may expect a heightened interest in anticipation of the next “bombshell.” With peaked interest comes improved memory retention, or at least we hope so. Perhaps the audience will remember 15%………………………half of which will be wrong.