6 Tips for Getting Through Renewal

It’s group health insurance renewal time and we know what that means… busy season! Here are some tips on how to get through this benefits renewal stress-free.
1. Start early. To make the most of your benefits renewal, you should start getting everything you need together as far in advance as possible. Contact your health insurance broker if they haven’t contacted you to get the ball rolling. To keep yourself on track, set yourself calendar notices for 30, 60 and 90 days to remind you of things you may need to take care of at these milestones.
2. Take a look at the past to determine your future. Have you had a high claims year? Has everything been smooth with your health insurance broker and agent? Are you expecting a health insurance premium increase? All of the answers to these questions will help you decide what route you’ll want to take this year. You may decide it’s time to switch brokers or if you stay with the same one to add on other benefits.
3. Use several different modes of communication to notify your employees. Everyone is unique in the way they like to receive information. For some, a simple email is enough, for others, they’ll need a poster in the breakroom, a face to face conversation in the hallway and a follow up call to get them moving on it. Set soft deadlines so that you have leeway in case a few of your employees fall behind in making their elections. Unfortunately, you may need to do some babysitting!
4. Keep a running census. Your health insurance broker is going to need an up-to-date census to shop the market and provide a market price report. Without this valuable information, it will be difficult to get a clear picture of what your new plans and premiums will look like. If your broker is telling you to stick with the same health insurance carrier as last year, make them prove to you why that’s the best decision. Shopping the market is the least they should be doing in the renewal process.
5. Vary enrollment times. Hold one-on-one and group enrollments for health insurance benefits at a different time than enrollments for other benefits like life insurance, short and long term disability insurance, and other voluntary benefits. Fully understanding your benefits is half the battle in making elections. For most, the attention span for such in-depth and complicated information is small, so spreading out these meetings can help employees make better decisions for themselves and their dependents.
6. Don’t forget about wellness. This year may be the year to add a wellness program to your employee benefits package. You can stand to save an average of 10% if your employees are engaged in your wellness program and hitting even just the lowest targets. If you haven’t considered wellness in the past, seeking a consultant to help you vet each plan with you can make the process easy and affordable. Your wellness consultant shouldn’t be billing you for this service either, so seek one that doesn’t charge fees.

What role can technology play in group health insurance renewal?

With the shift from full-coverage health plans to high deductible group health plans, the need for making well-informed decisions as an employee is more important than ever. One-on-one meetings may not be an option for your business, so how do you make sure all of the information you want to communicate is readily available? The answer is technology.

With an HR software, you can easily make sure employees are seeing all of the information needed to make the right decisions for themselves and their dependents. The most sought after feature for your online benefits enrollment software is the ability to add in decision-support tools, such as a frequently asked questions section or an area for customized information to help further explain your group health insurance plans. Remember that many employees will benefit from examples. By making connections to real-life situations, it will help them understand exactly how their insurance can work for them. The right HR software can also serve as a place to link outside sources that can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the benefits that are being offered.

HR software can also make benefits elections more convenient and less time consuming. With an online benefits enrollment platform, employees will have 24-hour access to plan summary information as well as payroll deductions, allowing them to make decisions when they have time. This is especially important for businesses running on varying shift schedules.

Also keep in mind that most of our daily tasks, whether they are for work or in our personal lives, are now done online. Why would benefits enrollment be any different? The days of lengthy contracts and paperwork are over. The days of convenience and shortened attention spans are upon us. So whether your employees are more traditional or tech savvy, they’ll appreciate the inclusion of HR software in their health insurance and other benefits enrollment processes.