Managing benefits and open enrollment doesn’t have to be a headache — here are 3 steps to take to simplify the process.
Want to dive deeper? Listen to or watch this episode of the POPS! The People Ops Podcast.
The start of every year is a great time for reflection. As many small businesses look back on 2021 fresh off of open enrollment, many are looking for ways to make 2022 smoother than 2021 turned out to be. After yet another clunky enrollment, many small businesses are starting to wonder if there’s a better way to shop for healthcare plans and benefits. Luckily, the answer is a resounding yes!
That said, it’s no small feat. For most small business owners, it’s hard to know where to start when creating a benefits portfolio for the first time. Finding a plan that’s affordable but also covers some combination medical, dental, and vision can be tricky.
And it makes sense — benefits are complicated. With a myriad of insurance carriers, so many different price points, and offerings that change based on your zip code, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly. (Don’t worry, you’re not alone!)
So how do you simplify this otherwise complicated process? You need a few things to start: Plans you want to offer, a broker to service them, and technology to streamline it all.
Step 1: Determine the healthcare plans you want to offer
First things first: start by finding the benefits plans you want to offer.
This step can be daunting, but it’s a good opportunity to pressure test your budget. Employer-sponsored benefits can get costly and recognizing how much plans truly cost will help you determine what you can and can’t afford to offer your employees. That’s why it’s critical to take as much time as you need for the shopping process. This is the step where you should get a sense of everything that’s available and what the plan options are that best fit your small business’s needs.
Take your time with choosing a healthcare plan so you can choose the best option for your business.
When it comes to selecting plans to offer, most people turn to healthcare.gov to help with plan selections. The government’s website is a great and well-known option for centralized shopping because it can help you compare and contrast plan options. However, it can get a bit complicated if you’re looking across states or searching for cheaper substitutes to traditional health coverage.
If healthcare.gov is stressing you out, rest assured you have alternative options that offer more support.
Step 2: Find a broker to service your healthcare benefit plan
If wandering around the world wide web is too much to deal with when it comes to healthcare plans, consider going the broker route. Brokers are professionals who represent you, the customer when it comes to buying healthcare plans. It’s their job to find the best plan for you and your business.
The best part? Brokers don’t just show you plans — they’ll be the ones servicing them alongside you and helping support you through any issues year after year. Brokers do come with fees (usually a percentage of your premium), but they can be a worthwhile investment for the help that they offer. Just make sure you find a good one and don’t just go with the first one you meet.
Although using an insurance broker means paying a fee, it’s worth it.
It’s important to know that insurance brokers are different from insurance agents. Brokers work on behalf of their clients and make money by taking a percentage of plan premiums as outlined above. Insurance agents work on behalf of an insurance company and are tasked with selling the company’s plan to businesses like you.
Agents often work on commission from the insurance company they represent, which means it doesn’t cost you anything to work with them. But they’re only going to be able to help you with plans from one insurance company rather than many.
Step 3: Use technology to streamline everything
The last thing you’re going to want to do is to identify the best technology to help support the benefits, enrollment, and administration of your plans. The more you can automate, the easier and more hassle-free your experience as an administrator will be. Plus, automation tends to make things easier for employees as well.
Use Zenefits to shop, compare, and administer your benefit plans easily.
At Zenefits, we combine all three of these into one award-winning experience. We showcase almost 9,000 plans supported by 30 of the nation’s largest carriers. This allows you to shop, compare, and administer benefit plans through our system with just a few clicks. On top of that, we’re happy to connect you with one of our Certified Broker Partners to make your experience that much easier.
To sum it up, picking a health care plan comes down to this: Getting the right plans that fit your budget, identifying a broker who will help support you and your business, and finding the right technology to streamline the process.
Hopefully, this has helped you get the basics down. But if you’re looking for more detail before you dive into the process yourself, check out our POPS! Podcast episode. From finding a broker to wading through technology, the episode covers all of this and more.