Informed Decisions

Helping Employees Evaluate Options During Open Enrollment

Open enrollment season-not a time when many feel in control, a bit overwhelmed by the healthcare choices they must make.  But enrollment periods can be turned into a positive when employees see that they do have some personal control over their own healthcare.  This feeling of empowerment is particularly important when you consider the rising costs all employers and employees face.  And ongoing dialogue year-round can improve long-term employee satisfaction with the plans you offer, giving them adequate time to gather facts and analyze their own situation.  Some points to share:

  1. Coverage.  Has there been a change in family status or new healthcare needs that call for a change in coverage, either dropping unnecessary benefits or adding new ones?  Consider offering a checklist to prevent oversight-braces, lasik surgery, new diagnoses, changes to a spouse’s plan?
  2. Health incentives.  There is a trend in employers rewarding healthy lifestyle changes.  Are employees taking advantage of every available incentive to drive down overall costs?
  3. Flexible savings account.  Provide a review of last year’s expenses.  Did an employee struggle to exhaust their fund or do they need to consider putting more away?  Are there changes in co-pays, deductibles or new medical issues that should be factored in the next year’s estimate?
  4. Deductibles. Employees who don’t traditionally use many healthcare services, might want to consider moving to a higher deductible plan if it’s available. Make sure they understand the ramifications of such and understand that out-of-pocket expenses per service will increase.  They’ll need to consider this when establishing flexible savings or health savings account levels.
  5. Additional insurance.  Is it time to add additional life insurance, long-term care or disability plans?  More coverage is particularly appropriate when you have family members depending on your income.  Group pricing through employers often makes this an affordable option.

Depending on your plan’s options, there are surely additional considerations to share.  Just make sure you don’t limit the discussion to enrollment season; start the dialogue now.