Open enrollment season is when employees review and select their health benefits package for the following year. It gives them a few weeks to evaluate the options presented by their employers.
Employees will naturally want to know if the Affordable Care Act has affected or will affect their coverage or their premiums and some may be confused about the impact of the new health care law.
Employers can help employees during open enrollment by having their human resource director, benefits consultant or health insurance representative make group presentations about what’s changing and, just as importantly, what’s staying the same. Two of the most notable changes include 100 percent coverage for a wide number of preventive services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, without charging a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance, as well as the ability to keep dependents on a parent’s policy until age 26.
This year may also mark the first time that employees of many small businesses, with anywhere between two to 50 employees, will have more than a couple of benefit plan choices to choose from. In the past, small businesses would typically only be able to offer their employees one plan design. But over the past year, many health insurers have begun offering multi-choice packages to small businesses to better accommodate varied employee needs. So, a 20-something single employee might opt for a plan with a higher deductible, while someone with children might prefer a lower one.
Health insurance can sometimes be a daunting proposition with confusing terminology and seemingly impossible choices. It’s imperative, therefore, that employers take this time to help guide their employees, ease their concerns and answer questions brought up by new regulations and options. Employees should also be encouraged to do their homework to become better educated healthcare consumers, and use the many online and mobile device tools insurance companies provide to help them in the decision-making process. Better information leads to better decisions and better health!
|UnitedHealthcare representative is on site at a local business to help employees better understand their health benefits|