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November 05, 2021

Written by Jim Molis

As an employer that believes work can change a person’s life by removing barriers to employment, Goodwill Industries of North Florida wants to help its own employees as much as possible — and health insurance is one of the biggest benefits it offers in that regard.

“A lot of people didn’t have health insurance before working with us or they didn’t have as robust of a plan,” Chief Human Resource Officer Lisa Smith said, noting that the not-for-profit organization works with communities across 14 counties.

Goodwill Industries of North Florida provides affordable health insurance to its employees in part by offering them a variety of plans that differ in costs and coverage, Smith said. “The plans that are available to us as an employer allow us to meet people where they are in terms of their needs ranging from high-deductible plans that are more affordable for some employees to plans with a lower deductible,” she said.

Employees can also choose from a wide network of health care providers, Smith said. “That’s been very beneficial to our employees because they’re able to go to their chosen doctor.”

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly in improving the health, well-being and lives of workers and their families, Goodwill Industries of North Florida has helped their employees and their dependents get the help and care they need. The not-for-profit has done so by confirming that the organization’s health insurer, Florida Blue, Florida’s local Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plan, provides strong customer service.

Health benefits that support employees daily and during difficult times

Goodwill Industries of North Florida has been impressed with Florida Blue’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Smith pointed to how the insurer waived fees for virus testing, increased access to telehealth services and provided gift cards for employees and their dependents to use for medical expenses in particular.

Smith has confidence in sending employees to Florida Blue’s member service because she knows they will handle questions or concerns with quality customer service. Our employees and/or their dependents can get answers or assistance from Florida Blue online, by telephone, via email or in person. “Response times are great,” she said.

Florida Blue representatives also intervene on behalf of employees or their dependents when necessary. For example, they’ll talk with a heath care provider directly, Smith said. “That’s a major deal because we as users may not necessarily know the medical terminology. So, having them talk directly to the doctors has been very helpful,” she said.

Clear communication is so important that “addresses my questions with clear answers” is the No. 1 key driver of health insurers’ ratings in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index. The other top drivers are “resolves problems/issues quickly,” “customer service representatives answer all of my questions,” and “offers the types of health care plan/services that I need.”

Quality customer experience and broad access to care

Goodwill Industries of North Florida has worked closely with Florida Blue since 2009 to give employees quality customer service and broad access to care. “They’ve been a great business partner to work with,” Smith said.

For example, Florida Blue helps the not-for-profit maintain coverage that the organization and its employees can afford by reviewing, in aggregate, claims data in annual meetings, Smith said. “Providing us with claims data is very helpful because we can look and see where our biggest expenses are and also advise our insured members on cost saving options,” she said.

For example, if they notice a trend in emergency room visits, they can educate employees on how to use urgent-care clinics instead of an ER. In addition, Florida Blue also provides cost data so Goodwill Industries of North Florida employees can find the most affordable places to get services like lab work or X-rays done.

To help employees achieve better health, Florida Blue offers wellness programs and other services. “They are awesome at this,” Smith said, citing as examples employee health screenings, chronic disease-management programs and wellness incentives like discounted gym memberships

In extending such benefits to its employees, Goodwill Industries of North Florida has indeed helped change their lives. And, it continues to help its employees by working with Florida Blue to offer affordable insurance that workers and their families can use — perhaps for the first time.

Learn more about Florida Blue Employer Plans

Florida Blue, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, has been providing health insurance to Florida residents for 75+ years. Driven by its mission of helping people and communities achieve better health, the company serves more than 5 million health care members across the state.

Jim Molis is a freelance writer with The Business Journals Content Studio.

This article was original published by Jacksonville Business Journal.