It’s that time of year again. Temperatures are falling, days are getting shorter, and at Creative Benefits, we have insurance renewals and open enrollment on our minds. Most companies schedule health insurance renewals and open enrollment in December and January so the time to start thinking about these things is NOW.
Few people look forward to benefits renewals and open enrollment season, but there is no reason it has to be a harrowing experience. In a rapidly changing healthcare landscape, finding ways to offer rich benefit plans while withstanding budget pressures can be daunting, but we like to remind clients that renewals are also an opportunity to take stock and make positive changes.
This two-part blog discusses how to have a more positive insurance renewals and open enrollment experience.
Making the Most of Insurance Renewals
One of the best ways to ensure a good outcome to renewals is to allow enough time for your team to review benefit plans. How many people take part in the process at your company? Will you be able to get everyone up to speed, discuss potential choices, and make decisions without rushing?
It is hard to make thoughtful and strategic decisions when there isn’t enough time. That’s why in most cases we recommend allowing 3 months lead time — and even up to 6 months lead time for large companies.
Starting early is a key to success with the renewal process. It allows time to discuss goals and expectations, learn about trends, review deadlines and deliverables, and then do market analysis and open enrollment/employee education.
The process will also be more pleasant and productive if you have an experienced and responsive broker who listens and understands your needs.
All consultants and account managers at Creative Benefits are licensed in Pennsylvania and many hold multiple licenses for other states.
Our company is at the forefront where training is concerned, and we do extensive in-house education with carriers, service specialties, and regulations and compliance to make sure we are up-to-date in all aspects of our industry.
Broker Services: Shopping the Marketplace
The broker should go out into the marketplace to find all the viable insurance carriers for your employer group. He or she should then conduct a meaningful comparison of the choices, show you the risks and advantages, anticipate different scenarios, and explain which plan is the best value and why.
At Creative Benefits, we see our role as being here to make sure our employer groups understand everything that’s available to them, every year. We’re not happy unless we know our folks have all the facts. Even if an employee group stays with the carrier they have, we know they are staying because they’re getting the best rates and the best service.
Customer Service is Key
When questions arise it is essential that you get answers quickly. At Creative Benefits, we streamline the process by assigning clients to an individual consultant and account manager who acts as their one-stop shop for any client benefits questions. Each of the account managers is attentive and detail-oriented. They are caring, compassionate, and each also has an acute understanding of the insurance industry and how to relate that to employer groups that are not necessarily experts.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog next month, when Open Enrollment is covered.
About the author: Gillian Conaghan is Director of Operations and Senior Account Manager at Creative Benefits.