Addressing Open Enrollment Blues

by Wayne D'Antoni, CA-PHR

Benefits,  Hot Topics

There seems to be quite a bit of confusion among workers about their health insurance. Are your employees not sure what type of plan is best? They may be suffering from the “open enrollment blues,” and it may help to know they are not alone.

A recent survey shows that a significant portion of Americans is unclear on some of the most basic facts regarding their health insurance, including not being sure what type of plan is best, or what their coverage is. Worse yet, many of them, about one in every four, have avoided getting health care treatment simply because they were unsure of what their insurance covered.

The numbers are rather disturbing. Only about 30 percent of those surveyed were able to correctly define the three most common health care expenses: premiums, co-pays, and deductibles. Only about 22 percent knew people could get help in purchasing a plan under the Affordable Care Act, and about 80 percent still mistakenly believe there is a tax penalty if you forego health insurance. And believe it or not, roughly 13 percent of people surveyed were unsure if they even had health insurance.

How can employers aid their employees in overcoming this confusion? Education is the key, and employers can work in harmony with plan providers to assist employees with accessible avenues to find what they need to know about all elements of their coverage or lack thereof. For example, many providers offer a health care advocacy service that is designed to simplify the communication process by cutting through the “red tape,” explain complex conditions, find specialists, clarify coverage, help with insurance claims, and a lot more.

The world of health care insurance can be a scary place, but with effective communication with your employees and collaboration with your provider, today’s workers can find the answers they seek and avoid the entanglement of the health care insurance spider web.

About the author
Wayne D'Antoni, CA-PHR

Wayne holds a B.A. in broadcast journalism from Louisiana State University and is a certified CA-PHR. With more than 20 years' experience in Human Resources, Wayne joined Employers Council from ADP, Inc., where he served small business clients as a Human Resources Business Advisor for nearly six years. In his previous life, Wayne spent several years in Los Angeles and his home town of New Orleans as a radio and cable TV sportscaster.