What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is the one period of the year where employees can sign up for health insurance or change a health insurance plan provided by the employer. Remember that this period also allows employees to disenroll in health insurance if they no longer wish to have coverage. 

 

The only exception to enrolling, changing a health insurance service, or disenrolling is through a qualifying event. Qualifying events can vary depending on the state the employee resides in.

Qualifying events include:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Having or adopting a child
  • Loss of insurance due to employment change or termination of employment 
  • Death of someone covered on the plan 
  • A dependent no longer qualifies as a dependent
  • Moving to a new state 
  • Becoming a U.S. citizen

When is Open Enrollment for Health Insurance? 

Open enrollment periods range depending on the healthcare provider and the state the employee lives in. Nationally, open enrollment periods begin on November 1st 2022 through January 15th 2023. In order for coverage to begin January 1st 2023, enrollees must enroll by December 15th.

 

Check here for Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment dates by state. 

Is There Health Insurance That Doesn’t Use Open Enrollment?

Yes, a few health insurance policies do not have the same open enrollment restrictions that others do. This means that there aren’t restricted time periods when employers can sign up for insurance. It is available to them year-round.

 

Different types of health insurances that don’t follow open enrollment rules include:

  • U.S. government’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Medicaid 
  • Short-term health insurance 
  • Travel insurance 
  • Supplemental insurance programs 
  • Medigap 

How Can Offering Voluntary Benefits Save Your Business Money? 

Voluntary benefits are offered by employers to their employees at no additional cost to the employer. They are often referred to as employee-paid benefits or supplemental insurance. The employer makes the benefits available to the employee, but the employee pays the full cost of the plan. It is not split between the two. 

 

This form of insurance is rising in popularity because it allows employees the flexibility to choose the type of insurance or health coverage that best fits their lifestyle instead of paying for coverage the employee does not want or need. 

 

Employer benefits of offering voluntary benefits include:

  • Reducing out-of-pocket health care costs
  • Access to group rates 
  • 100% of the insurance cost is paid by the employee 
  • Gives your employees choice in healthcare plans 
  • It is available to part-time and full time employees 
  • Helps your company attract and retain top talent (77% of workers say that benefits packages are an important part of deciding on accepting or rejecting a job offer)
  • Saves you billing time through automatic payroll deductions

 

At Innovative HIA, we provide comprehensive coverage plans for employers to provide affordable benefits to employees. Here, our voluntary benefit plans encompass:

  • Health
  • Dental
  • Vision 
  • Wellness/Lifestyle 
  • Financial 
  • Security 
  • Personal and miscellaneous 

Why is Employee Insurance Enrollment Important? 

Employee health insurance is important for businesses, especially Applicable Large Employees (ALE). Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), ALEs who do not provide health insurance are penalized for every employee who is not offered health insurance.

 

This year, fines can range from $2,700 to $4,000 per employee not offered coverage. In comparison, offering our ACA compliant Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) is an affordable way for ALEs to maintain coverage compliance. Look below for a cost comparison of how providing MEC benefits to employees saves your business money.

 

Besides avoiding hefty fines, employee health insurance provides the support employees need if they ever fall ill, and keeps employees healthy. One of the main benefits of coverage is that covered preventative care visits monitor any health concerns that may arise an employee cannot physically see or feel yet. 

 

Healthy employees are more present and productive at work. Employees who are supported through covered care gain access to resources that combat preventable illness, and are more likely to be positive, engaged and determined to do their best during work.

 

Another benefit of maintaining a healthy workforce is that it reduces the costs you as an employer must front when an employee takes sick leave or if you have to find someone to cover a shift.

Actionable Ways to Increase Benefit Enrollment 

Actively encourage employees to sign up and renew health insurance during open enrollment, and especially before, so employees have time to prepare and choose a plan best suited for them.  

 

Employers can encourage employees to sign up for health insurance during open enrollment 2022 through:

  • PDF one-pagers: One-pagers have information about health benefits that are easily distributed around the office.
  • Pamphlets: Similar to a one-pager, pamphlets have information, graphics, and contact information for the employee.
  • Offer a point of contact: A knowledgeable employee within your business can answer FAQs and help employees find the right plan.
  • Text or email campaigns: Sometimes the most effective method of communication is through technology.
  • Pay stubs: Add information about enrollment to paystubs because employees receive them regularly.

Curious about how else your business can increase health insurance enrollment this year? Read our article here on how opt-in vs opt-out insurance policies make a bigger difference than you’d think.

Navigating the similarities and differences between individual and voluntary benefits can seem challenging. Which ones do your employees want? What can employees get from individual benefits that they can’t from voluntary? How can benefits attract and retain great talent?

 

Here is a list of the major similarities and differences between the two to help you navigate what benefits you want to provide.

Similarities 

  • Customizable options: Both benefit options have multiple coverage options available. These customizations give people the ability to change their options to cater to their needs, their family size, and their budget.
  • Dependent coverage: You have the ability to add eligible dependents, like your spouse and children, for an additional charge.
  • There are various areas that are covered: Both types of insurance cover dental, vision, disability, and life insurance.

Differences 

  • Voluntary benefits are sponsored by your employer: Voluntary benefits are only offered through employer-sponsored healthcare plans. Those who are not employed do not have access to voluntary benefit options. The employer also chooses what options are offered and what the coverage levels are. As an employer, this can be a great way to differentiate your company.
  • Individual insurance is completely paid for by an employee: Some business owners pass the cost of voluntary benefits on to their employees, though it is not required. Some employers will also cover a portion of voluntary benefit elections for their employees. With individual coverage, the employees take the entire cost.

At Innovative HIA, we understand how important your employees are to your organization. Offer your employees the most options for coverage. When you offer your employees more options when it comes to benefits, they will likely have higher engagement levels as they feel you care for their wellbeing. Contact us to learn more about the voluntary benefits you can offer your employees.

 

Read on to learn more about how you can add value to your existing benefits plans. 

 

Article originally published on SBMA Benefits.

infographic on how to navigate individual and voluntary benefits

A study found that 70% of people don’t feel valued by their workplace. In that same study, 25% of people believed that their productivity at work would improve if they received employee benefits. When you show your employees you value their hard work, they will be more likely to strive to perform better. It’s part of why investing in health insurance for your employees is so important. 

 

Investing in health insurance is essential to ensuring a happy and healthy workforce. Navigating employee benefits that your employees actually want, can be a challenge. Not to mention the various requirements necessary for employers with 50 or more employees. So, why should you invest in health insurance for employees?

 

Learn more about Affordable Benefits, talk with one of our team members!

 

Employee Benefits Increase Employee Productivity

According to the CDC, employees who prioritize preventative care, such as annual check-ups, are more productive in the workplace. This may be attributed to a few different reasons. Whether they’re taking less sick time, or they’re less stressed about their health, improving focus on their work, whatever the outcome, is beneficial to you. 

 

As an employer, you want your employees to remain focused on their work to ensure ongoing success. Having to worry about their personal healthcare and that of their dependents drains their time and energy. While it can be time-consuming to set up proper health insurance, partnering with the right company can simplify the complexities involved.

 

Almost anyone in a management role knows the importance of employee morale in the workplace. A positive workforce yields positive results. One way to ensure your workforce remains positive is to provide benefits that match their needs. After all, employers who provide great benefits gain a better reputation for their business, while also increasing productivity, and decreasing turnover. 

 

When you partner with a broker who can guide you through the process seamlessly, health insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. They can help select plans that are right for your employees, help set up your virtual benefits, and serve as a go-to resource to answer questions that your employees may have. 

 

Why invest in health insurance for your employees?

 

How can Ancillary & Voluntary/Worksite Benefits Attract and Retain Top Talent? 

In today’s job market, employees require more than traditional benefit programs. Benefits like vision, dental, accident, term life, critical illness, and hospital indemnity insurance can provide your employees with additional coverage when they need it most.  These additional benefit options allow your employees to tailor their benefit coverage to their needs.

 

When employees are given the choice in their benefit programs, they are more likely to use them. And when employees use their benefits, as we said above, they are able to remain healthy and ready to work more often. 

 

Employees look for employers who offer voluntary benefits because these benefits give employees choice, they meet various needs of a diverse workforce, and they ensure employees remain financially stable. Offering voluntary benefits adds a level of insurance coverage that many workers have not previously had access to. Benefits beyond the traditional 401(k) and health insurance are vital to attracting the right talent for business. 

 

At Innovative HIA, we offer our clients comprehensive coverage that provides the complete solution for employers who want to provide affordable benefits to their workers. Service is our priority. We pride ourselves on our reliable, fast, and friendly team that makes compliance with ACA easy and affordable. 

 

You Remain Compliant with ACA Requirments – and Avoid Paying Hefty Fines

As an applicable large employer (ALE) you are required by the Affordable Care Act to provide benefits to 95% of your full-time or full-time equivalent employees. If you fail to do so, you will be subject to some pretty significant financial penalties. 

 

The Cost of Pentalty A 

If an employer fails to offer benefits to their full-time employees, they will be subject to a penalty of $2,700 per employee annually. Violations are assessed on a monthly basis. When broken down monthly, each month that an eligible employee is not offered coverage will earn you a $225. A large company with 5,000 employees that fails to provide proper benefits for its employees, could be subject to a $13,500,000 annual fine.

 

The Cost of Pentalty B

Penalty B is calculated for every full-time employee that was not offered minimum value coverage by their employer and went to the Health Insurance Marketplace and qualified for a premium tax credit. The annual penalty per employee in this scenario totals $4,060. Penalty B is also calculated on a monthly basis and when broken down to a monthly rate equates to $338.34 per employee. 

 

If a company failed to offer minimum value coverage to 100 ACA full-time eligible employees, or if the offered coverage was not affordable and they received a premium tax credit or subsidy on the exchange, the employer involved would be liable for an annual fee of $406,000.

 

At Innovative HIA, we have the most competitive affordable benefits available. We ensure the benefit plans you offer your employees are fully ACA compliant.  To achieve this, we process your 1094/1095s on your behalf. If there are ever any errors in your 1095 processing, we refile for you. No hassle to you, just compliant benefits.

 

Read on to learn more about how offering minor medical benefits is more beneficial than not. 

Article originally published on SBMA Benefits.

 

infographic explaining why employers should invest in health insurance for their employees

Benefit plans serve as a great way to provide value to employees beyond their salary. Because benefits are becoming increasingly important, it’s important that you give your employees the option to tailor their benefits to their needs. At Innovative HIA, we believe in meeting your employee’s medical needs with additional benefit options. We offer our clients the option to choose various voluntary/worksite, ancillary, and virtual health benefit options. 

How do ancillary benefits (vision and dental insurance) bring value to your employees?

Oral and eye health are essential to our overall well-being. There are quite a few serious conditions that can be detected with regular check-ups for eye exams and oral exams. More than 90% of common diseases have oral symptoms. Among these diseases that can be identified and managed due to regular oral exams are diabetes and heart disease. 

The dental plans included in our benefit offerings include preventative care and basic procedures. The preventative care services include checkups, cleanings, and x-rays. They also include cavity fillings and other basic procedures.

Vision care plans can help make annual eye exams more affordable. With the greater use of screens and an increase in eye strain because of the usage, eye exams are essential to ensuring overall health and well-being. It can also help your employees save on eyewear, lens coating and enhancements, and corrective surgery. 

How do worksite/voluntary benefits bring value to your employees? 

Accident, term life, critical illness, and hospital indemnity insurance provide an avenue for you to meet your employees medical needs beyond benefits. Accident insurance helps employees pay for the medical and out-of-pocket costs that may incur after an accidental injury. Term life insurance is an affordable way to provide financial protection for your employee’s loved ones during working years. 

Critical illness coverage adds a safety net for under-insured persons. Lastly, hospital indemnity insurance can offset high deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses so that a hospital stay does not become a financial crisis. Giving your employees the chance to cater their benefits to their needs is essential to their happiness. 

How do virtual benefits bring value to your employees?

Lastly, virtual benefits provide a great way to ensure your employee’s needs are met. Right now virtual health benefits are essential to a well-rounded benefits program. With Innovative HIA, your employees get 24/7 access to doctors at no cost to them! They are able to speak to a licensed physician when and where you need one by phone or on video. 

Behavioral health is also essential to your employee’s benefit programs. Our virtual health plans offer behavioral health/therapy at a $50 copay. Your employees can speak to a therapist whenever they need one.* Lastly, our benieWALLET stores their health-related information in one easy place so they are easy to access anytime, anywhere. 

Navigating insurance policies can be challenging for anyone. There isn’t a way to predict the future, so how can you know what you will need? There are so many options available, how can you decide?

Voluntary benefits can help supplement insurance policies that may not cover all of your employees’ needs. There are many options when it comes to voluntary benefits with a few differences. What’s the difference between hospital indemnity policies and accident insurance? Here’s a breakdown.

Accident Insurance 

Accident insurance is an option to help supplement out-of-pocket expenses for potential expenses incurred when an accident occurs. This insurance is used to cover expenses that your standard health insurance plan cannot cover.

Typical medical insurance directly pays the medical provider, and you receive the bill later. Accident insurance, on the other hand, pays the cash directly to you, then you choose the best way to use that money.

What Exactly Does an Accident Insurance Policy Cover? 

There are quite a few expenses accident insurance covers that your traditional health insurance plan may not. These can include:

  • Emergency room visits
  • Ambulance rides
  • Helicopter transportation
  • Hospital admission charges
  • Diagnostic exams
  • Follow-up treatments
  • ICU and rehabilitation unit care
  • Physical therapy

Ambulance transportation can be extremely expensive. Investing in accident insurance could save you thousands of dollars.

Deductibles for many medical insurance plans can also cost thousands. Other insurance simply doesn’t cover hospital stays, ambulance rides, or other non-preventative care. Accident insurance can be a great backup plan.

How Much Does My Insurance Go Up After an Accident?  

Unlike claims filed for car insurance or homeowner’s insurance, the premiums on accident insurance do not increase after an accident or diagnosis of an illness. In other words, covering an ambulance ride with insurance will not impact the premium.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), created in 2010, halted any insurers’ ability to adjust insurance rates due to medical history or gender.

Now, once you are insured, your premiums will not increase as a result of filing a claim. However, premiums increase steadily over time due to healthcare inflation, increased prescription costs, and rises in chronic illnesses. Many insurance policies implement a fixed annual rate increase that in no way is based on claims filed on accidents.

As Verywell Health explains, “the overall rates for everyone on the plan will typically go up from one year to the next, based on the total claims that were filed by everyone on the plan. But they’ll go up by the same percentage for people who filed big claims, people who filed small claims, and people who filed no claims at all.” Rates reflect the usage of the group, not the individual.

What is Hospital Indemnity Insurance? 

Hospital indemnity insurance is very similar to accident insurance. Whether you choose one over the other or get both will depend on your lifestyle, expenses, and savings. It is also used to supplement any expenses incurred outside of your health coverage.

Hospital indemnity insurance provides a set cash payment to use for any bills you need to pay. This is especially helpful for paying housing, bills, and living expenses if you are unable to work.

What Does Hospital Indemnity Insurance Cover? 

Hospital indemnity insurance coverage depends on the plan and coverage options you choose. Some things covered under a typical hospital indemnity plan include:

  • ICU stays
  • Critical care unit stays
  • Outpatient surgery
  • Continuous care
  • Outpatient x-rays
  • Laboratory procedures
  • Outpatient diagnostic imaging procedures
  • Ambulances
  • Emergency rooms
  • Physician office visits

Generally, hospital indemnity plans have lower premiums compared to other insurance, but depending on your coverage that can increase.

Is Hospital Indemnity Insurance Worth It? 

It’s important to consider your own personal health and wellbeing when deciding on purchasing hospital indemnity insurance. Since this insurance does not cover typical doctor’s visits or prescription medication, it really depends on you and your lifestyle.

Keep in mind:

  • Your personal health—are you or your family members more likely to be hospitalized?
  • What level of coverage does your current health insurance plan cover?
  • Are you financially able to cover unexpected health costs?
  • How much would a hospital indemnity plan cost over time vs. the cost of benefits received?

This plan may give you peace of mind, and the support you need during an unexpected accident. However, if the plan does not seem like something you need, or if you are able to cover the price of an emergency out-of-pocket, you may not need hospital indemnity insurance.

So, How Do You Decide Which Coverage to Invest in? 

The important distinction between the two types of insurance is how often you frequent the hospital. If you have hospital indemnity insurance and do not go to the hospital, you will not get paid benefits. However, accident insurance plans apply to both hospital stays and treatment from your primary care doctor. Consider a few things before you make your decisions.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Do you enjoy running, hiking, and other activities that may be more prone to accidents? Accident insurance might be your best choice.

Do you have kids who play sports or are constantly playing outside? Accident insurance may be for you. If you lead a relatively healthy, active lifestyle, accident insurance might be a better option for you.

If you have a chronic health issue or have dependents with chronic health issues, hospital indemnity insurance may be a better bet for you.

How Much Money Do You Need to Get By?

If you live alone or if you are a relatively young person with fewer financial responsibilities, accident insurance is a great option to ensure you are covered for whatever comes your way.

 

Sometimes, the best solution may be to have both coverage options. If you have children, own a home, own a car, and have other expenses, purchasing both will give you the best coverage.

Consider How Much You Have Saved for Emergencies

If you don’t have a large amount of savings, (e.g. enough to cover three months of expenses), a small monthly premium for accident insurance may make sense for you. On the other hand, if you have enough money to cover potential accident expenses or medical expenses, and support your lifestyle, but a large hospital bill might drain your savings, hospital indemnity insurance may be the smarter option.

Curious about other benefit plan options available to you? Read our article about voluntary affordable benefits here.

Article originally published on SBMA Benefits.