If HR departments do not already have enough to worry about, the period between early November and the end of the year is open enrollment time for health insurance benefits. This is the time of year when HR personnel are overwhelmed with complicated questions about health insurance. Employees can find themselves equally overwhelmed simply because they don't understand it all.
Health insurance is a part of doing business in the modern era. With or without ACA compliance problems, companies try to make sure employees are enrolled in the right plan for their circumstances. We want to help. While we do not offer health insurance plans, we do offer a comprehensive ACA compliance program. This could eliminate some of the stress of providing health insurance to your workers.
In the meantime, here are some suggestions for helping your employees better understand open enrollment:
Highlight the Basics
Some of the confusion during open enrollment is the result of employees not understanding the basics of what each plan offers. A good way to address this confusion is to highlight the basics with a list of simple bullet points. People understand bulleted points more easily than large blocks of text.
Along with those bulleted points, a quick and dirty glossary of some of the most commonly used terms is in order. For example, the term 'deductible' is one that surprisingly few workers know the meaning of. Something as simple as explaining how deductibles work goes a long way toward eliminating confusion.
Offer Past and Future Comparisons
Next, creating a side-by-side comparison of current plans and their counterparts for next year helps employees better understand how their health insurance is changing. Why is this important? Because certain kinds of changes can lead employees to switch plans.
A side-by-side comparison does not have to be complicated. It can be presented the same way a bulleted list of basic features is presented. In fact, employers are better off keeping comparisons as simple as possible.
Create a Financial Assessment Worksheet
Employees often don't know which plan to choose because they don't know how much they actually spend on healthcare. A simple financial assessment worksheet you could create within your office suite would address that problem. The worksheet could help workers figure out how much they spent on healthcare out-of-pocket in the past year, as compared to how much they are paying for health insurance premiums. Knowing this provides some guidance about which plan to choose for the coming year.
Part of the assessment should include how much workers can realistically afford to pay in annual deductibles. A plan that trades lower monthly premiums for high deductibles will not necessarily do an employee much good if he or she cannot actually cover those deductibles.
Illustrate HSAs with Practical Examples
Our last suggestion involves health savings accounts (HSAs). Often times, employees don't invest in HSAs because they don't really understand how they work. The fortunate thing about HSAs is that they are not complicated. Employers can give their workers a good understanding of HSAs by illustrating them with practical examples.
Open enrollment is a confusing time for employees and a stressful one for employers. Though it may take a little extra effort on your part, you can reduce the confusion and stress by helping employees better understand the details of open enrollment. The more they understand about their health insurance choices, the easier life is on the HR department.
Remember, BenefitMall offers an ACA compliance service alongside our payroll solutions. If open enrollment raises new concerns about your own level of compliance, we would be glad to help.