What Does Open Enrollment Mean for Your Business?
In a small business scenario, employees have the option to sign up for or change their health coverage during a set time each year. This period of time is considered to be an open enrollment period and is usually pretty set in stone. Changes can only be made at other points in the year if there has been a major life event such as adding one’s spouse after a marriage or the birth of a new child. Other situations also qualify like a death, divorce or adoption. When the open enrollment for insurance occurs depends on the policy provider. For state-run programs this will usually take place at the end of the year from around November first under the end of the year. More private entities are usually a lot more flexible and will allow for the company to set the time of the year when enrollment can occur.
When signing up for a new health insurance policy people usually have a lot of questions. As a business it is important to have representatives present to explain the open enrollment process. There should also be ongoing support and information throughout the process from an insurance broker. Employees should be able to ask questions and early sign ups can often bring about incentives. This will increase the amount of people you have signing up and increase the amount of employees that are happy with their coverage.
Initial Sign Up
Employees who are new to the company can sign up during this time if they did not previously sign up for a policy when they were hired. Other people who missed last year’s open enrollment can also jump on board. You can change policy options from year to year and offering up different policy options or upgrades can increase company participation. Inform employees ahead of time when open enrollment will begin (the exact date and time). A number of reminders leading up to the first enrollment day will also help people remember this is coming up and they can do their research ahead of time if need be.
There are currently a lot of costs associated with high deductibles and premiums which can sometimes cause people to stray away from a certain policy. It may be time to offer some different policies or programs in order to help your employees. It helps to have a wide variety of insurance products available in order to suit everyone’s needs. Some people prefer a more high deductible plan that will cost them less per month, while other people like to ensure they have exceptional coverage across the board regardless of what they are going to pay out of pocket.
What You Cover
As a business you are responsible for also contributing to your employee’s policies. For every dollar they pay into their insurance you can match that money or you can give a set amount each year that will reduce their yearly costs. An insurance broker can help your employees determine what the final cost will be for each individual case and help put people’s minds at ease. This is an expensive process regardless of how necessary it is.
It is beneficial for businesses to offer incentives to their employees when they sign up for health insurance. It does not have to monetary in value but some sort of recognition and acknowledgement can go a long way. A special luncheon or event can really boost morale and show your employees that you care about them and the coverage that they are receiving for themselves and their family. Always let your employees know up front that there will be additional incentives during open enrollment time. This ensures that most people will be prepared ahead of time.
Using Outside Help
You may have done your research to find out what insurance company and policies will be beneficial to offer to your employees but the professionals know the best way to present these options and can help answer questions. There are always individual scenarios that come about that you might not know the answer for but you want to make sure that the proper information is relayed now before enrollment is over and no further changes can be made.
The period of open enrollment for insurance can be hectic and confusing at first for many people. After all, health insurance is something that is usually very costly to purchase as it is, but without good coverage, the bills will just keep rolling in throughout the year. Providing as much information to your employees will help them make the best decision they can and it will reflect positively on your company no matter what the size of your business is. Always be sure to offer fair and competitive options to your staff. For a free consultation with a Health Insurance Expert contact us today!