Another year has come and gone, and it’s time for your health benefits open enrollment period. As a seasoned human resources professional, office manager, or business owner, you’ve got a lot on your plate and health insurance has never been as “hot” of a topic as it is today.
Wading through the plan options, plan costs, and plan benefits can feel like a juggling act as you weigh the needs of the business with the needs of employees. At the same time, there are new options for health insurance, and new health reform requirements, to consider.
All of these considerations generate stress - and sometimes confusion - about the best health insurance for your small business. To help limit the stress around open enrollment, we’ve composed a list of four (4) small business tips to retain your sanity during your open enrollment season.
Tip #1: Get Organized
For many companies, open enrollment happens at a busy time of the year. As such, it is crucial to get all the information you need to make informed decisions. This can vary from which plan best fits the needs of your employees, which networks various carriers service, and the logistics of communicating to and enrolling employees.
As you prepare for your open enrollment period, work with team members internally and externally to gather the appropriate information to make these informed decisions. During this time, it is not uncommon for the business to seek help from a health insurance professional or other consultant to find the best path for their company.
Tip #2: Start a Conversation
If you are planning on making changes to your benefit offerings, voice the possibility of this change and listen to what your employees have to say. This is a good time to ask what they would prefer in regards to their benefits, and help them with guidance on making the best choice for them and their families.
Remember, health benefits are an important aspect of their employment with your company. Be upfront and honest about what you’re considering and value whatever feedback they may have.
Need help with communication? See: 5 Ways to Communicate Your Health Reform Strategy to Employees.
Tip #3: Explore New Options
There is a lot of buzz about individual health insurance among small business HR professionals and owners. It’s more affordable, all employees qualify, employees can select a customized policy, and there are discounts through the marketplaces.
As such, a major trend this year among small employers is to drop group health insurance coverage to help their employees pay for individual health insurance policies. By switching employees to the individual health insurance marketplace, small businesses are ensuring that their employees get to choose the coverage that is best for their families. In addition, by not offering a group health insurance policy, small businesses are making sure their employees have access to premium tax credits to assist them with the cost of their premiums.
For more, check out this Quick Guide to Small Business Health Insurance in 2015.
Tip #4: Plan for Next Year
Be proactive. Take what you learn from this year’s open enrollment, and apply it to next year’s. While you are most likely drowning in a checklist of to do’s for 2014-2015, the more you learn from trial and error, the more prepared you’ll be to take your companies health benefits strategy to new heights for next year.
Are you a health insurance professional? See: Five Broker Tips for a Positive Open Enrollment Season.
What are your tips for staying sane during open enrollment? Leave a comment below.