Many companies' health insurance offerings have been in a state of flux, thanks to factors such as the rising adoption of high-deductible health plans and the ongoing rollout of different legislation under the umbrella of the and Affordable Care Act.
In the run-up to open enrollment season, human resources management is tasked with communicating important benefits enrollment information to employees whose understanding of the coverage may be rudimentary. One key piece of advice to bear in mind is that keeping things as simple as possible from the outset will pave the way for a smoother benefit enrollment process.
"Don't weigh employees down with detailed descriptions of all of the benefits being offered," warned HR management website HR.BLR.com. "It's not a communication to educate about everything. Get the word out to employees about what they have to do and the time frame for doing it."
So, in a nutshell, what do workers need to know going into the open enrollment season for 2015?
Employees who signed up during the last enrollment period may think they're all set for the coming year, but that isn't necessarily the case. As Fortune noted, monthly health insurance premiums associated with the exchanges are forecast to rise by an average of 8 percent, with some projected to skyrocket by as much as 20 percent. Workers who were happy with the plans they signed up for last year need to make sure the perks that sold them are still being offered for 2015.
Medicare and Medicare Advantage
As with exchange premiums, monthly Medicare Advantage premiums are expected to rise by an average of 4 percent, according to Fortune. Many plans are being restructured or eliminated. Workers need to check that the plans they're on will still meet their needs without breaking the bank in 2015.
Within the employer-based insurance realm, the move toward consumer-driven healthcare is continuing, stoked by employers' desire to get their workforce more involved in making decisions about their benefits. Under this model, employers offer preventative care for free, but workers must satisfy their deductibles beyond that, either through health savings accounts, paycheck deductions or both.
Workers with employer-based coverage may have the option to get a better deal if they participate in their firms' wellness programs. Simply by submitting to a health screening, filling out a questionnaire or taking part in company-organized activities, employees can qualify for lower prices on their premiums.
The bottom line
Once your company's workforce understands the basics of the different open enrollment options at their disposal, employees can use benefits management software to delve into the specifics and ultimately make decisions that best suit their individual needs.