Each year, companies are tasked to sign up for a new health insurance plan or renew their existing plan from the previous year. It is important to know what to expect during this process and why business services from a benefits renewal expert may be needed.
What Is An Employee Benefits Renewal?
Group health insurance renewals are an important component of employee benefits planning and management. Employee benefits renewals generally occur once per year, giving insurance carriers the chance to adjust their prices and terms, and employers the opportunity to switch carriers or plans. Plan members can also renew coverage under new terms and conditions or opt out of coverage.
Health insurance renewals generally occur during the open enrollment period which typically begins in October. Most health plans renew on November 1st with new rates and terms based on risk, inflation and other contributing factors. Ideally, businesses should begin working with a benefits renewal expert months in advance to ensure that the most suitable carrier and plan are chosen for the business and its employees.
What Is The Employee Benefits Renewal Process?
If a business is renewing its employee health insurance plan or offering a plan for the first time, it is important to be familiar with the process.
Perform A Renewal Survey
The first phase of the benefits renewal process involves completing a benefits renewal survey. Several months before the renewal is set to take place, businesses should complete a renewal survey that details whether or not management and employees are satisfied with the current coverage. The survey should also include what details of the plan are unsatisfactory and what changes the business would like to see made. A benefits advisor will then review this survey information and make a recommendation for a new plan or carrier based on the feedback. Performing a renewal survey can help ensure that the right benefits are chosen for the company.
Getting Carrier Updates And Documentation
Group health insurance premium rates tend to increase annually. In addition, some insurance carriers will modify the terms and conditions of their plans. This information must be included in writing and sent to the proper parties. Approximately two to three months prior to the renewal date, a health carrier will usually send out specific information about the plan, including any plan changes, new premium rates and any other updates that are relevant to the benefits renewal process. A business’s benefit advisor will gather this information which will be considered in the determination of a health care plan.
Once the result of the survey from the business and documentation from the insurance carrier has been collected, a benefits consultant will prepare a recommendation for the business based on this data. The business will then have the opportunity to review the recommendation and accept or deny the plan. Businesses can also contact their benefits consultant at any time to ask questions or discuss the recommendations. If any changes need to be made to the plan choice, it is important to reach out to the benefits consultant early on as the business insurance market provides little time to make these changes.
Finalize Plan Confirmation
If the business is satisfied with the terms and cost of the group health insurance plan, then the process moves into the plan finalization stage. Approximately one to two months prior to the benefits renewal date, a benefits advisor will review the finalized health insurance plan that outlines the plan’s terms and premiums. A benefits specialist will then complete any necessary paperwork with the health insurance carrier. The business will need to sign the final renewal package before moving forward with the open enrollment period.
Schedule Open Enrollment
Several days to a week following the finalization of the group health insurance plan, an open enrollment period will be scheduled for the company. The open enrollment period for businesses typically spans four to seven business days on average. However, the length of enrollment is primarily based on the size of the company and the deadline set by the insurance carrier. Any employees that are eligible for benefits will be promoted to complete open enrollment. During open enrollment, employees will have the opportunity to enroll, change their plan, add or remove dependents or waive their coverage. Employee signatures or waivers are required before the insurance carrier will approve the plan; therefore, it is important that all employees complete enrollment.
Submit Paperwork To Carrier
After open enrollment has been completed, the benefits advisor will submit all paperwork to the insurance carrier. The time it takes for the insurance carrier to process this information can range, but a typical approval is made within two to four weeks. Once the information has been submitted to the carrier, it may be necessary to provide additional information, such as a voided check or workers’ compensation details. If a business is required to submit additional information, this can drastically lengthen the approval time; however, the benefits advisor will usually request updates weekly.
Get Carrier Confirmation
Once the insurance carrier provides an approval for the business, they will send out a confirmation of the benefits package. The benefits advisor will then check to make sure that the plan includes each employee’s open enrollment selections and that all family members are covered as requested. This stage of the process generally occurs close to the effective date of the benefits. If the enrollment and rate is confirmed, the benefits advisor will reach out to the business to let them know that the plan is approved and accurate.
Contact A Benefits Renewal Process Expert
Choosing an insurance carrier and group health insurance plan is a major decision for any company. As one of the largest expenses that most businesses incur, health insurance plans must provide value to a business and its employees. A benefits renewal process expert will answer any questions that may arise and help businesses throughout the process. To learn more about the benefits renewal process or to acquire services from an experienced benefits renewal process expert, contact Business Benefits Group.