Employees will be faced with a challenging decision for their benefit coverage in 2014. All Americans will be required to have health care coverage or face a penalty. Employers may be making changes to rules that determine which employees are eligible for health coverage.
While many employees typically spend very little time choosing their health benefits each year, this year that can be a risky and potentially costly strategy. Not making a decision during open enrollment means employees could get defaulted into a health care plan that doesn’t meet their needs. Employers should send or post information regarding the open enrollment process so employees can make the best healthcare choices for themselves and their families.
As an employer. make sure employees understand what’s changing, when they need to make their choices and what the company is requiring from them. Review all coverage that the company offers before they make a decision about purchasing health insurance through a state marketplace. Employers will need to explain the benefits of supplemental coverage and their costs. Many employers include voluntary supplemental coverage, such as income-replacement insurance or extra critical-illness coverage, as part of their annual enrollment process. An employee should be sure to carefully review the available options and their costs, and then determine if certain voluntary coverage meets their needs.
Address What the ACA Does, and Doesn’t, Change
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Explain ACA simply and concisely. The law and its regulatory guidance are far-reaching, complicated and lengthy. Stick to the basics when communicating with your participants.
- Focus on the most immediate changes. Cover what is happening during open enrollment and what changes are coming in 2014.
- Clarify that your workers do NOT need to purchase health insurance through the public exchanges. Most employers are maintaining their coverage. If you are dropping coverage for some or all of your employees, be explicit in the steps they need to take.
For more information on educating employees on ACA, please contact one of our Benefits Specialists.