The signs are up, the emails are going out – Open Enrollment is fast approaching.
If you’re an employee you’re likely thinking that this means more money will be taken out of your paycheck; you will have to go and sit through a long meeting which will tell you all about the changes to your plan and you usually leave feeling more confused than before. If you’re an employer, you are thinking about those employees that may be sitting in front of you at the meeting with glazed eyes, or panic-stricken faces.
Make sure that this year is different!
Here are ten tips and hints for helping you get through this year’s Open Enrollment.
Tips for Employees:
Prepare for the meeting. If you read through your current coverage before the meeting, you will be more prepared to ask any questions regarding your coverage from the past year. You will also be ready to ask any questions regarding the new coverage, or understand more clearly your current coverage if there are no changes.
Keep in mind that the broker and insurance company representative have had extensive conversations with your employer about your insurance coverage. They work very hard to decide what plans to offer you and your family. Their goal is to make sure that their employees are happy with the decisions, and at the same time, to make sure the company can afford the best benefits possible.
Do Not Procrastinate
Be sure to get your required paperwork in to your employer with any changes to your insurance clearly outlined. Do your best to fill out all information requested so there are no delays. The sooner you get the paperwork in, the sooner you will get a new ID card (if applicable).
Show No Fear
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask questions!! Take advantage of the people in the room who are there to answer your questions about your insurance. The broker representative and sometimes even the carrier representative will be able to help you or give you advice. If you have questions specific to your claims, ask for carrier member phone numbers where you can call the carrier directly with any confidential questions you may have. You can also ask to speak to the representatives after the meeting confidentially.
Tips for Employers:
Articulate a Clear Vision
Make any transitions as painless as possible for your employees. Work closely with your broker to clearly outline any changes to the coverage for your employees.
Call In The Second String
Request that a carrier rep accompany your broker to enrollment meetings in order to help with any employee questions that may arise at the meeting.
Leave No Stone Unturned
Make sure your broker brings all of the appropriate paperwork such as forms to be filled out, plan summaries of all of your offered coverages including medical, dental, life, disability, vision.
Educate, Educate, Educate
Encourage your employees to make financially smart decisions in regards to their insurance and encourage healthy lifestyles both in and out of work. This can significantly reduce both employee and employer health care expenses.
Blue Light Specials
Encourage your employees to take advantage of some of the things that Health Care Reform has offered. Preventive health care is FREE, including annual physical exams, screenings, and immunization. These are all essential to good health. Many Americans don’t receive the regular preventive care they need, despite the fact that chronic diseases, which are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the country’s health care spending, are often preventable.
For Employees and Employers:
Take the time to get to know your broker and carrier representatives. They are there to help answer your questions or help you decide which coverage is best for you, your family and your company. Just as your company is an expert at what they do, your reps are very knowledgeable at what they do, and they are there to help you get through Open Enrollment!