The open enrollment period is not only a time for employers and worksite brokers to inform employees of the plans available to them and of any changes that have occurred within those plans; it is also a time for employees to ask questions and gain more information about what plans may be right for them. For worksite producers, providing employees with the support they need to make informed decisions is an important part of the process.
Informational meetings by insurance professionals and comprehensive enrollment materials are critical. Employers can either host a formal presentation made by the carrier or have more informal sessions where carrier representatives are available to speak with employees. The agent or carrier representative attends the open enrollment meetings to present the plan and answer questions about the benefits being offered.
Enrollment kits are typically given out during these meetings. Ideally, these provide comprehensive information about the benefits offered as well as for what portion of the cost the employees will be responsible. If it is a Section 125 plan, employees also need to learn what benefits are available on a pre-tax basis.
So that employees can make informed decisions, be sure they have adequate time to review the materials and consult with family members about changes to their benefits.
In today’s economy, out-of-pocket costs are playing a larger role in their decision to enroll in or to stay in a plan. Whatever the reason, it is important to give employees all the latest information before they make any decision, so they can get the most out of their plan.
For example, some vision plan terminations can be avoided by explaining to employees that the particular vision plan being offered allows members the option of going to an out-of-network provider for exams, up to a set amount, then going in-network for their materials. This structure allows them to still benefit from the in-network rates.
Take advantage of the enrollment period by introducing employees to other types of benefits beyond medical coverage. In today’s challenging economy, employees are not only looking to save money, but also to provide themselves and their families with some sense of security. Equally as important as medical coverage, ancillary benefits can help keep employees healthy by making it possible to detect early signs of deadly diseases.