Best Practices for Choosing Health Insurance During Open Enrollment Season
By: Holly Tate
Workplace benefits attract employees and are a significant aspect of compensation. However, few people actually understand their healthcare plan. As the price of health insurance continues to increase, it is important that employers are making decisions that will have the most benefit to their staff, while also trying to keep costs low. I sat down with John Staub from Remodel Health, a company whose software helps employers choose a monthly allowance that can be used toward employees’ health benefits plans, to help give you guidance during this open enrollment season. While there is no one-size-fits-all health insurance plan, John offers some tips for choosing the best healthcare plans depending on the needs of your organization.
What Is Open Enrollment Season?
Open enrollment occurs every year when organizations must either select a new healthcare plan or re-enroll in their current plan. The time period for open enrollment in most organizations is generally from October-December for plans starting in January. During this time, the organization’s leaders usually shop around to ensure they are getting the best benefits for their employees at the best cost.
Why Is Choosing The Right Health Insurance Plan So Important?
Employee’s overall compensation is made up of both salary and benefits. Working at an organization that does not offer great benefits can create significant costs for employees and their families, thus increasing stress and deflating morale and tenure. Offering good benefits not only helps employers retain their current employees but it also helps them attract the right candidates.
Employees who have to provide insurance for themselves and their families can often feel great financial strain, making it hard for them to do their job to the best of their ability. Furthermore, the leading cause of bankruptcy is medical bills. Of those who file bankruptcy due to medical reasons, 51% of them are receiving insurance from their employer, meaning even with a benefits plan from your workplace, medical expenses are still leading to bankruptcy. This fact makes it essential that employees not only receive health insurance benefits but that these benefits are the best they can possibly be.
Ultimately, the health insurance benefits an employee receives has a great impact on their overall well-being. Employees who are cared for are able to care for your organization better, and quite frankly, will be around longer to do so.
To learn more about the importance of providing great benefits, check out our blog post here.
Should Christian Organizations Change Healthcare Plans Every Year?
Health insurance is the fastest-growing line-item expense in any church budget and typically the second most expensive. Most people are shopping every year to find better benefits at a lower cost, but this may not always be the case. While health insurance costs do increase every year, you may already have a great renewal rate. If your renewal rate is 0-3%, you are in the minority and are receiving a much lower increase than most. Generally, organizations will see a 5-7% increase. Some organizations may even have a 10-15% increase in health care costs each year. While you may not feel the need to look for new health insurance every year, it never hurts to look at what else is out there and see if you can find a plan that provides both lower costs and better benefits.
What Should Leaders Look For In Open Enrollment Season?
There are four key things organizations need to keep top of mind when entering into open enrollment season.
1. Care For Your Employees - Choose an insurance plan that will give your employees peace of mind. Provide the best possible benefits to your employees to ensure that they are cared for and help ease some of their financial stress.
2. Create a Feedback Loop - Listen to what your employees are saying about their benefits. If they are not saying anything about their benefits, ask. You want to be sure that you know how your employees feel about their health insurance plan before selecting a new one or reselecting the current plan.
3. Educate Your Employees - Studies show 96% of people do not understand the terms of their health insurance policy. It is important to answer employee questions and provide them with the opportunity to understand just exactly how their insurance plan works. This will not only ease some of your employees’ anxiety but will also allow them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
4. Lower your Maximum Out-Of-Pocket Costs - Your ultimate goal is to lower maximum out-of-pocket costs to your employees. When looking for insurance plans, ensure that you are finding the most cost-effective for your organization and your employees. As with every purchase, you are looking for the best benefits at the lowest cost.
It is okay to be confused and not fully understand health insurance. As we mentioned, you’re not alone. However, because it’s so costly and impactful to your overall wellbeing, it’s imperative to ask someone knowledgeable for advice during open enrollment season.
If you’re looking to better understand how your compensation and benefits compare to other Christian organizations and churches, Vanderbloemen is happy to help you with a custom compensation and benefits analysis report. We will take the information you provide us and show you where your salaries, benefits, and overall employee compensation fall in comparison to other organizations like yours. You can find more information about those reports here. If you’re deciding whether to change your current plan, Remodel Health can use their tools to help you assess the market and find an insurance plan that offers the best benefits and is the most cost-effective.