We see it in the news each week, if not each day; Health Insurance Costs on the Rise. As a result, the sense of fear in your next health insurance renewal has been well established. No need to fear – just plan. The time to plan for your mid-year health insurance renewal is now… yes, a good 4-5 months in advance.
Regardless if you partner with a national or regional carrier, it is fair to say you will see an increase in your health insurance premiums. The only unknown is how much; 5%, 10%, 15%, or even higher. You don’t have to wait for your broker to present the renewal to start thinking of your strategy. In fact, there are significant advantages to starting the process early and even engaging key members of your employee population.
First, start thinking about your plan design options. If your current plan is a traditional plan, also known as a first-dollar plan, then you have several plan design options to consider. To mitigate an increase, and lower the premium amount, you can consider any of the following;
- Add a deductible to introduce more cost sharing at time of use
- Move to a tiered benefit plan where benefit level is determined based on the facility where care is provided
- Move to a qualified high deductible health plan (HDHP)
- Move to a qualified high deductible health plan (HDHP) and add a Health Savings Account (HSA)
These plan options all offer lower premium then traditional plans and as a result, shifts some of the cost exposure to your employees. Therefore, in addition to evaluating plan options, engage your employees, provide education, and make them part of your decision process. A few engagement suggestions;
- Conduct an employee survey to gather opinions on health insurance,
- Hold seminars to educate employees on the overall cost of insurance and the plan design options available in the market place,
- Provide cost assessment tools to employees so they can assess what different plan options mean to them and their families,
- Offer employees the option to request a one-on-one meeting to ask specific questions in a private setting, and/or
- Communicate with your employees throughout your renewal decision making process so that any changes taking place are not a surprise
While engaging in all of the suggestions above may not be reasonable, embarking on some will be time well spent. If you wait and do nothing, then you are minimizing your options to mitigate the increase because there simply is not enough time to do it right. Act now and the renewal path to take becomes more clear by the time you see the numbers on the renewal. Start today!