Want more value from your 2020 medical benefit spend? Think ahead. Act soon.

Do you ever notice how the days seem to slip by faster and faster with each passing year?

Here we are approaching the final couple months of 2019 and it’s a shock to realize we’ll be entering a new decade. I can’t seem to adjust to typing 2020 on the applications. Before the rest of the year slips away completely, it is time to do some serious thinking about your medical benefit policies for next year.

Quoting and Timing

We see it every year— there is always a time crunch when quoting medical benefits mostly because the insurance companies do not make rates available to groups and agents until they absolutely need to. I believe insurance companies offer limited information on rates because it makes it difficult for clients to switch providers.

If you take action early… perhaps even right away, together we can put the pressure on the insurance companies. Additionally, we can reduce the time crunch by taking care of ancillary benefits like Dental, Disability, Life and Vision sooner because all quoting can be done months in advance of renewal. This will allow for more time to be spent toward working on medical benefits when the rates are available.

As a side note, I think it is unfortunate these benefits are called ancillary. Even though they might be seen as a luxury when rising premiums force people to make hard choices, they can be just as important as medical benefits… just ask the employee who needs dental work or has vision problems.

Notices and Enrollment Periods

Other important, time-sensitive things to think about now are your notices and enrollment periods. Open enrollment is the annual period of time when employees are able to make changes to their benefit selections. The only other time they can make changes is when they experience a Qualifying Life Event (QLE). Typically, groups need to provide a special notice to their employees to establish the time period for the upcoming open enrollment.

I am often asked to clarify which employees are eligible for open enrollment. The answer is simple for groups where all employees are working full time – 30 hours or more per week. However, for groups with employees who are working a variety of hours per week, it is a little more difficult. If you are concerned about getting it right, call me, I can help.

If you want to protect yourself, I recommend you consider setting up what is known as a Look Back Period. A Look Back Period helps you and your insurance advisor verify which employees qualify to have been part of the open enrollment process.

WisMed Assure Exclusive Programs – AHP, Delta Dental, MGIS

Most agencies only quote and spreadsheet for their clients which is why they are happy to work with any type of group or company. We’re the opposite. We are focused solely on health care companies which has helped us develop innovate and exclusive products that only WisMed Assure can offer. Some examples are the Association Health Plan, Delta Dental and income protection solutions from MGIS. If you shop for these elsewhere, you won’t get the discounts we offer.

A Little Faith Means Less Frustration

If, as the end of the year comes closer, you find yourself scratching your head with insurance questions, and feel frustrated due to not having access to the systems and services you need, think of us… have faith in us.  We are here to help you move the health care of Wisconsin forward and to be your financial partner for life.

Chris Noffke, GBDS