Risk & Business Magazine General Insurance Services - Fall 2020 - Page 26

OPEN ENROLLMENT ’Tis The Season For Open Enrollment Open enrollment is a period of time each year when employers permit current employees to make election changes to their benefit plan(s) without a qualifying event. During open enrollment, employees may decide to change plans, add or drop a dependent, or enroll in an optional benefit, such as a dental or vision coverage. Employers can assist employees during open enrollment by distributing materials that explain new health options and changes to existing benefits. To help employees select the plan option that best meets their needs, employers should provide information about the following: • A general summary of what benefits are covered by the plan • Limits on coverage, as well as limits on coverage for certain conditions • Coverage for preventive services, procedures, and medications • Prescription drug coverage details • Cost-sharing (e.g., premium contribution, deductible, copayment, or coinsurance requirements) • Consumer-directed and highdeductible health plans or other nontraditional plan types OPEN ENROLLMENT EDUCATION STRATEGIES The following are ways for employers to improve their open enrollment communication strategies: • Communicate frequently with employees regarding their health coverage options but avoid overwhelming employees with information. • Be honest and direct when discussing health benefits, especially if employees are facing cost increases for their coverage. • Discuss the “Five Cs” of enrollment with employees: cost, coverage information, changes to plans, comparisons to last year’s plans, and current options. • Provide information to employees about the health care providers or networks that will be available to them in new or revised plan options. • Use a variety of communication methods, such as the internet, printed materials, and face-to-face discussions. • Some groups of employees may need additional assistance, particularly those with mental or physical disabilities, low or fixed incomes, parents of children with special needs, and non-English speakers. Without special assistance, these groups may miss open enrollment periods or have large gaps in their coverage. Group health plan sponsors should be aware of the legal changes affecting the design and administration of their plans for plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2021. I’ve created a 2021 Open Enrollment Checklist that I’m happy to share with your organization. Feel free to give me a call at 219-850-1102 or email me at candace@ genins.com. Together, we can do better. + BY: CANDACE ARVIN, EMPLOYEE BENEFITS ADVISOR GENERAL INSURANCE SERVICES Candace Arvin was born and raised in Chesterton, Indiana. After graduating college with a degree in Business Administration, she spent five years working in the healthcare industry where she gained a multitude of experience serving populations ranging from pediatric to geriatric. She has been a member of the Chesterton- Porter Rotarian Club for many years and also serves on the Hobart Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Candace still resides in Chesterton with her wife, Gabrielle, and their four children. In her free time, she enjoys visits to the beach, kayaking, reading, and spending time with friends and family. 26