Friday, October 9, 2009

Open Enrollment Season is Here

The next few months will be a busy time for everyone at UnitedHealthcare because it’s “open enrollment season,” which in the health care profession is as exciting as ski season is to my friends who ski.

The open-enrollment period gives employees the opportunity to re-evaluate the health care benefit plans that are available through their employers. For most companies, open enrollment occurs annually, usually at the end of the year for plan benefits effective the following calendar year.

Employers should look at open enrollment as an opportunity for both the company and its employees to make sure available health care plan options meet health and financial needs.

The first step that employers should make in preparation for open enrollment is to review the past record of health insurance claims. A claims review will identify treatments that employees rarely use and clusters of benefits that employees use frequently. This information can help the employer make adjustments to the health care plans they offer so that the plans truly address the needs of its workforce.

Claims review information may also suggest when it makes sense to bring in speakers for wellness seminars. For example, if there are a growing number of diabetes claims, the employer may want to hold classes in diabetes prevention and management. Employers can also help employees in open enrollment by having their benefits consultants make group presentations about the differences among the various plan designs.

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