How to Prepare Your Business for Health Insurance Open EnrollmentPosted on Oct 19, 2018
Open enrollment for health insurance through the healthcare marketplace begins November 1, 2018, and lasts through December 15, 2018. Plans sold during this enrollment period go into effect on January 1, 2019.
As a business owner, you can follow the same formula for open enrollment periods with plan changes going in effect at the first of the year. Prepare your employees for health insurance open enrollment and make the transition as seamless as possible.
Begin Explaining Changes, Requirements, and Options Early
Offering healthcare information early in the enrollment period helps to avoid a last-minute meltdown of productivity within your organization. Or worse, having employees miss the deadline because they weren’t properly prepared and didn’t understand their options.
Begin early explaining possible changes in your policy. CBS News reports that poor insurance choices during open enrollment cost employees somewhere in the neighborhood of $750 annually. Simply keeping the same plan from one year to the next could prove costly as well since healthcare needs and plan coverages often change from year to year.
The better informed your employees are about coverage options, the better decisions they will make about the policies that best serve their needs.
Offer Employees an Open Enrollment “Cheat Sheet”
Your cheat sheet should explain the differences in plans for the coming year and how those differences affect employees. The primary goal of your cheat sheet needs to be educating your employees about potentially confusing terminology and the plan options that are available to them (plus the costs of coverage).
It should also contain links to a variety of resources your employees can turn to for better information such as direct contacts at the healthcare providers.
Don’t forget to include a highlighted list of important dates for employees to remember, so they don’t miss a key deadline for open enrollment. You should also provide a clear overview of plans available that breaks down the costs and coverages of each option.
Set up an Open House Bringing in Professionals to Explain Upcoming Changes
This open house could include a group Q&A session along with a brief presentation about what’s to come in the new year and allow employees to consult with an insurance professional to ask questions. Use this opportunity to make employees aware of more than just their contribution to the premiums. You want them to understand how various aspects of the plan will affect them. Especially the following:
- Out-of-pocket maximums
- Coverages and exclusions
- In-network vs. out of network healthcare providers and penalties for going outside the network
Once again, the better your employees understand the plans available to them, their options for coverage, and how the coverages and cost affect them, the more informed buying decisions they will make.
Send Out Daily Reminders During Open Enrollment
Daily reminders keep thoughts of open enrollment relevant to all employees, so they are thinking about it often. You might want to include a countdown clock and additional reminders as the final deadline approaches, so no employees are left behind by failing to make the appropriate changes during open enrollment.
Keep up with who has responded as well and consider contacting employees who have not yet scheduled changes to their plans. This allows you to see if they’d like assistance with the process, answers to questions, or keep their plan as is for the coming year.
One thing you do not want to do is make assumptions that employees who have not yet made changes to their healthcare do not intend to do so. The simple act of reaching out to them by the beginning of November and once again in the final week can help prevent costly mistakes.
You provide healthcare coverage to employees because you care about the people who help to build your business. Make sure they’re able to get the proper benefits from their health insurance by following the tips above to prepare them adequately for open enrollment and educate them about what it means for their coverage.