That time of year has snuck up on us once again: a busy period of paperwork, presentations, and answering questions from perplexed employees.
According to the 2018 Aflac WorkForces Report, nearly one in five employees surveyed didn’t feel confident they understood the benefits they signed up for after open enrollment. Between the pain points employers express about open enrollment and statistics like these, the need for simplifying this process is critical.
What if we could make this time of year a little easier? What if employees didn’t have to feel so confused, and plan selection could be simpler for everyone involved? Last year, we talked about open-enrollment decision support tools that can help people make better benefits decisions. This year, we’re putting that tool into action.
The right guidance matters
We hear from employers that improving engagement and cutting costs is top of mind. The way we see it, achieving those goals begins with helping people choose the right health plans. If they have a plan that supports their unique needs, they’re more likely to use the benefits available to them.
Our health-plan decision support tool, Plan Choice, is making those smart plan selections possible and easy. (This year, approximately 400,000 people are using Plan Choice to compare plan options and enroll in the optimal one for themselves and their families.) We took the same intelligence that fuels our other solutions and applied it to this specific problem. By using claims data that’s already available from the past year, we can highlight the plan options that will be most relevant for people in the coming year.
Plan Choice crunches the numbers on out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles, provider networks, HSA contributions, and all the other complex details, so employees are spared those manual calculations. It’s also set up in such a way that the two factors people tend to prioritize most in health plans—cost and preferred doctors—are clearly taken into consideration and pointed out in the available plan options.
Why this is especially important today
Plan designs and narrow provider-network strategies are becoming more nuanced, so employees are feeling more overwhelmed by the choices—and unsure of the most logical choices for their specific circumstances. Understandably, employers are concerned about the added confusion that comes with those nuances, as well as the need to reduce costs associated with low engagement. This is leading HR professionals to further prioritize tailored communications and plan-selection guidance to ensure employees get the coverage they need.
Together, we are overcoming these concerns and solving the problems at hand. Even small changes can make huge impacts on the bottom line. By keeping the big picture in mind, and remembering there’s no need to fear risk at the cost of innovation, we can create better results.