Do you automatically enroll in the same health insurance as you did last year? It looks the same— maybe a premium increase, but that is expected. What could really be that different? Perhaps a lot. Open enrollment is your chance to make changes in your plans as well as to educate yourself on the latest changes in health care plans. Consider some of these trends that you may encounter during this open enrollment season:
Continued adoption of high deductible health plans. These plans include the ability for an employee to establish a health savings accounts as well as pricing that puts the responsibility on employees to choose and pay for care. Many employers will contribute to a health savings account for employees who select these high deductible plans as a means to increase their appeal.
Financial Incentives for wellness. Many plans will now reward wellness initiatives and care that meets certain, specified requirements. Some example of these incentives include encouraging employees to use preventative care and participating in health management programs to achieve health improvement. These incentives can include a reduction in monthly premiums, among other benefits.
Formulary. Although there is a fair amount of media attention given to specialty drugs and their high costs to the consumer, few employees make a list of their family’s prescription drugs during open enrollment. This is particularly important where there are adult children who may not reside with parents but still have some prescription drug requirements. What is and isn’t on a formulary could have an impact on your plan selection.
Changes to eligibility. Some employers are excluding coverage for working spouses eligible for other plans, requiring that they enroll in their employer’s plan. In addition, there are some plans that are charging per-dependent rates!
Transparency. As consumer driven plans become more prevalent in the marketplace, the comparable cost of services is critical. If you are enrolling in a high deductible health plan, look for a transparency site. Many employers are offering a transparency tool for employees to be able to understand and compare the total cost of services before engaging a provider.
There is no right or wrong method to approach open enrollment. The best answer to open enrollment is to educate yourself about your health insurance benefits. They will, and do, change every year regardless of how it may appear. Pay attention!
For additional information, contact EAB HealthWorks.