Sutter Health Plus News & Trends

A news blog for brokers, employers, reporters and the community.

Four Tips for Open Enrollment Season

Posted by on Jun 4, 2018 in News

In this article published in the June 1 editions of the Sacramento Business Journal, San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal, Rob Carnaroli, Sutter Health Plus Vice President of Sales, shares his thoughts on planning for the upcoming open enrollment season.

Being a broker today is a challenge. Health care insurance laws are changing from one day to the next, employers are balking at rising costs, and employees are disgruntled and ready to jump ship.

The silver lining is that all of these challenges create an opportunity for brokers to step in and provide solutions. 2018 is poised to be a year of major changes, and the best brokers will find themselves coming out on top.

For many employer groups, it’s time to start planning for open enrollment season—a good opportunity to shop for the right health plan for your employees. Choosing health care coverage that gives your workforce access to the doctors, hospitals and health care services it needs can be a significant chore.

Here are four ways employers can mind their bottom line and offer comprehensive benefits for their workforce.

1. Tap into Your Broker
Brokers are consultants that serve as a trusted resource for all things health insurance. They bring expert knowledge of the marketplace to help businesses choose the right health plan options for their employees. And because the carriers pay broker fees, there is no direct cost to employers.

2. Shop Around
There are a number of carriers available in the Northern California market—providing a healthy range of options and choice. An HR professional should consider the unique makeup of the workforce when shopping for health care coverage in consultation with a broker. By offering compelling plans employees want, a company can manage renewal rates and keep employer costs at bay. As equally important as the benefits and coverage details, employees should understand the provider network and the various options to access care. Many people today enjoy the convenience of walk-in care clinics and telemedicine options, such as online video visits with a provider—all which are less expensive options than visits to the emergency room or hospital.

3. Consider a High Deductible Health Plan
High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) offer pros and cons for employees and employers alike. An HDHP is a medical plan typically with lower premiums and higher deductibles than a traditional HMO plan. Until a member meets the deductible, he or she will pay 100 percent of the out-of-pocket cost (except preventive care) for covered services received. HDHPs allow enrolled employees to put aside a portion of their pre-taxed salary into a health savings account (HSA) to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. For employees who rarely require medical care, an HDHP is an extremely cost-effective option—unless an unexpected illness or hospitalization occurs.

From an employer perspective, HDHPs can also save costs through lower premiums. Look to your broker for guidance when deciding if your employees would benefit from an HDHP offering.

4. Keep Your Employees Healthy
It’s well known that a healthy workforce typically experiences fewer sick days, lower turnover and lower health care costs.

Many employers now offer wellness programs to encourage healthy eating and increased physical activity, and some even offer discounts to employees who participate in these programs. Finding concrete data to support the return on investment of these programs can be difficult. While simply having a wellness plan may not guarantee employee retention or an overall healthy workforce, it certainly plays into job satisfaction. The act of offering such a plan shows an employer cares about the health of its workforce.

The complexity of health care along with rising health care costs present a challenge in building an employee compensation package. By partnering with a broker, employers can shop for budget-friendly plans that keep employees on track in health and wellness.