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Help staff make the most of open enrollment

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

As you prepare for the upcoming open enrollment season for health insurance benefits, pass along these tips to help employees make smart choices about their coverage options, courtesy of HR consulting firm Aon Hewitt.

Take an active role in open enrollment. Chances are your employees will have decisions to make about their health insurance. Urge them to think carefully about their specific circumstances in 2015. What level of premiums, deductibles and co-pays suit their budgets? Do provider networks include their preferred doctors and facilities? Only employees—not HR—can answer those questions.

Tip: Point them toward online tools your carrier or broker offers.

Assess your and your dependents’ health care needs. Understanding past needs and estimating future ones will help employees determine what adjustments they need to make in the benefits they select. Recommend starting with a review of the past year’s out-of-pocket spending, and the costs of past medical claims. If you offer a flexible spending account, now’s the time for workers to re-evaluate contribution levels.

It’s also important to think about any life changes—new medical conditions, a child on the way—that may affect coverage.

Evaluate provider networks. The changing business of health care means doctor’s groups are merging and health systems are recontracting with insurers. Health plans may now include vastly different combinations of doctors and hospitals than in the past.

Tip: Ask plans to give employees access in advance to online info about in-network providers.

Ask whether a CDHP is the right choice. If you offer a consumer-directed health plan, employees have complex calculations to consider. CDHPs have lower premiums. The trade-off: The deductibles employees must meet are much higher.

Tip: Lean on carriers to lead employees through the health reimbursement account and health savings account options that make CDHPs work.

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