Open Enrollment - You’re Out of Time, Just Decide

Open Enrollment - You’re Out of Time, Just Decide

My husband called to let me know that soon it would be Open Enrollment time at his company. Open Enrollment is the period of time employers set up to allow employees to choose from the various health plans available to them. Usually open enrollment covers insurance plans such as health, dental, vision, life, accidental death, short-term disability and long term care. Is it important to make the right choices during open enrollment since it will determine the type of health care you will receive for the next year and how much you will pay for the services you choose. So for my husband to make one of the most important decisions for our family, he gets 11 days…and not a day more.

But to understand the cop-pay differences, and the deductibles, for health care, dental, vision, life and long term care insurance, might take more than a law degree. But why is there only 11 days to make the decision? And why isn’t there more time spent on educating employees on how the plans work and what is best for their families? There are corporate goals related to employee performance reviews and training. But no goals on making sure employees understand their health coverage options. You are basically sent to a website that will have all the information with an 800 number to call if you still don’t understand, which essentially repeats what’s on the website.

Why not bring in a team of heath care experts and have a national meeting, break into teams and roll play the different health care options. Offer incentives during the meeting to make sure everyone really understand the plans available. Or in general just develop a more comprehensive communication plan to make sure every employee is touched and that every employee understands the options available to them. Focus on the preventive care programs of the plans to demonstrate the value both to the patient and long term to the company. Since in the private sector health care is positioned as a benefit to the employee and a substantial cost to the employer. I guess these types of meetings and communication plans only work when you want to promote products that can help the top line sales…but not important enough to take care of your employees by educating them on how to make the most important decision for their family, which they make every year, in just 11 days.

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