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What Does Open Enrollment Mean For Your Employees?

For small businesses, your employees can only change their health coverage during the open enrollment period. Open enrollment occurs once per year, unless of course there is a qualifying life event. These include loss of health coverage, child birth, adoption, marriage, divorce or death, to name a few. You can see if you qualify at HealthCare .gov. The next open enrollment for 2018 runs from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. However, it is important to note that job-based plans may have different enrollment periods. What does open enrollment mean for your employees? It is an opportune time for employees to change coverage, ask questions, and even receive early signing incentives. In addition, it gives access to health care and choosing the best option for your needs.

Missed last open enrollment

If you missed the last open enrollment, then this is a good time to add coverage. In addition, it is also an opportune moment if you were late for your window during a special enrollment. Be sure to come prepared with a list of questions.

Change policy or coverage

With the high cost of deductibles and premiums, perhaps you need to upgrade or downgrade your current policy or coverage. For instance, you might need to switch to a higher deductible if your monthly premium is breaking the bank. Take the time to shop around and research your options. However, don't take too long and miss another opportunity for coverage.

Rewards and signing incentives

It has become practice among some small businesses to offer a reward for employees who have already registered. It could be a minor mention in a meeting or a nice lunch. Whatever the incentive, it is guaranteed to boost employee morale. Be sure to tell your employees if there are any early signing incentives.

Insurance brokers and online tools

It has become common to have insurance brokers and online tools handy for employees to choose the best health coverage during open enrollment. Brokers will have the answers to all your questions because they are the party selling the insurance. In addition, online tools are ideal in selecting scenarios that suit your needs such as out-of-pocket costs, participating physicians, etc. Again, it is imperative to come armed to the table with any questions you might have.


This article was written by Deirdre Haggerty for CBS Small Business Pulse

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