Open enrollment has become a common term amongst employees and households throughout the United States, but do employees know what it is and what it means for them?
More importantly, as a leader in your organization, do you know how to prepare so you can serve your employees adequately?
Well, you're in luck, because we're going to break down the important details that every business leader needs to know to direct employees through the entire process.
What is Open Enrollment in 2020?
Every year, there's a window of opportunity when employees can sign up for health, dental, vision, and even pet insurance. Of course, this period of time is called "open enrollment."
During this timeframe, it's easy to qualify for insurance because enrollment is...well, open.
Other times throughout the year, criteria must be met to qualify for insurance. There's more red tape involved, and it's much more difficult to enroll in insurance plans.
This year, the open enrollment window runs from November 1st, 2019, to January 31st, 2020, if you reside in the state of New York.
How to Prepare for Open Enrollment in 2020
As a leader within your organization, it's your responsibility to help employees understand their insurance options during the open enrollment period.
And often, this also means ensuring they complete their paperwork on time.
Here are some things you can do to prepare for open enrollment--and make sure things run smoothly:
1. Educate Yourself
Attend conferences, webinars, and networking events to familiarize yourself with the process and changes. Make sure you come prepared and get all of your questions answered.
2. Educate Employees
Hold group or individual meetings 2-3 months before open enrollment to start preparing employees for the decisions ahead. The more they see the information, the more they will think about it and be ready to act when enrollment opens.
3. Provide Educational Materials
A few weeks before enrollment opens place educational brochures, flyers, and pop-ups in areas employees frequent.
4. Be Available
Insurance is confusing, and employees may have additional questions that are personal or weren’t covered in meetings. Open your door to those who need additional assistance with understanding benefit options.
5. Communicate via Technology
Use technology to put enrollment information and deadlines front and center. Create email sequences or send calendar invites leading up to, and during, open enrollment.
6. Gamify Open Enrollment
If you feel like employees drag their feet when it comes to confusing paperwork, you aren’t the only one. Take some tips from other HR pros and leaders to come up with fun incentives and games to encourage quick completion.
Check-in with employees who haven't enrolled as the deadline approaches. You never know if they simply forgot, have more questions, or paperwork was misplaced. So do you best to check in with those who haven’t enrolled a month before the deadline.
8. Utilize Your Resources
Bring in the experts on insurance from the companies you are working with and hold meetings or allow for special individual sessions with representatives.
Note: If insurance is confusing to you, you aren’t alone! Get the basics down, and field the rest of the questions to the pros (ahem, us) to prevent any misleading or inaccurate information.
Changes for Open Enrollment in 2020
Life as a leader is much easier when policies, procedures, and regulations stay the same year after year. Alas, you knew when you stepped into your role that you’d need to keep a finger on the pulse of the insurance industry.
So, here’s the breakdown of the most significant changes to be aware of for open enrollment 2020:
1. Changes to Medicare
In a nutshell, there are quite a few changes to medicare in 2020. Some of which include an increase in premiums and deductibles, and the discontinuation of Medigap plans C and F.
2. Capped Rate Increase Jumps to 15%
Insurance companies cannot increase rates of more than 15%, up from 10% in 2018, unless it's justified by state regulators during rate reviews.
3. No Tax Penalty for Uninsured
Previously, the tax penalty was assessed on a month-to-month basis for those who were not carrying health insurance. However, in 2018 the Trump administration made changes to this law and starting in 2019 the penalty no longer exists.
The most important, and valuable, thing you can do before open enrollment is to create a plan to guide employees through the process and provide them with accurate information.
If you have questions about how you can serve your organization through open enrollment, reach out to us for help...that’s what we’re here for!