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Friday, 20 September 2019 13:36

Tips for a Successful Benefits Renewal

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Another year has zoomed by and 2020 will be here before we know it! For many employers, the end of the year means another renewal season. Even if your company does not renew on January 1, our tips for a successful renewal will help guide you to success! 

At Fall River, we get excited about benefit renewals! Every year, the market and legal landscape changes. Renewals happen annually to make sure plans are up to date with rules and regulations. Insurance carriers may adjust pricing to consider inflation in the health insurance industry and reassess risk. Knowing and understanding these key changes is an important part in the renewal process.

As an employer, renewals are an opportunity to tailor your benefits package to align with your organizational needs. Your company may have changed since your last renewal, so this process provides employers the chance to pick new plans or reset contributions. Too often, we see employers waiting until their renewals come out and then scrambling to make decisions and implement changes before the effective date. At Fall River, we’ve identified a much better way to handle benefits renewals.

Planning

  • Renewal preparation should begin several months in advance. At Fall River, we work 120-150 days prior to the renewal date. We partner with our clients and have crucial conversations to gather important information, such as employee demographics and census information, financial documentation, and feedback on current benefit plans. We can assist with helping clients provide an annual benefits survey, review employer benchmarking data to see how your benefits stack up to other employers, and conduct plan marketing to new potential carriers.

  • Compliance and other audits can also be done at this time, such as reviewing ACA and ERISA obligations to make sure that the organization isn’t at risk of being assessed costly fines and penalties.

  • It’s also a great time to review technology and other vendor needs, such as payroll and HRIS systems. If an HRIS system is already in place, it is recommended to conduct system audits months in advance of the renewal to make sure information such as salaries, titles, beneficiaries, emergency contacts and any other pertinent employee information is accurate.

  • Other items that should be reviewed are your wellness initiatives. Renewal is a great time to discuss implementing premium incentives or review other aspects of your wellness program.

  • We can’t emphasize enough how important it is that as many of the above items as possible take place before the renewal arrives. Too many brokers wait for the arrival of the renewal to start the needed conversations, which puts unnecessary stress on the HR team and other decision makers at the employer.

Analyzing renewals and assessing marketplace options

  • Several Fall River employees have worked at the insurance carriers before, so we know which companies get the good renewals and which get the bad. We analyze your renewal packages and options, showing you what’s behind the curtain to help you understand your options. Make sure your broker is explaining your renewal; if you are partially self funded or over 100 employees, that should include showing you the claims data and actual calculation that went in to your renewal.

  • We can model several different plan options, packages, and contribution scenarios, so our clients feel equipped to make the best benefits decisions for their company and employees.

Communication

  • Once your renewals come out and you have evaluated the market and made decisions for your next plan year, the next step is to develop and communicate the plan to employees. The current healthcare landscape has many individuals worried about the future. Proactive communications help to alleviate much of that stress and can help create happier and healthier employees.

  • Fall River can assist with several types of employee communications, from custom Benefit Guides, to Open Enrollment presentations, flyers and other materials that help in your communication endeavors. The Open Enrollment meeting with employees where we can help educate and answer questions is the most fulfilling part of our job!

  • In addition, we communicate directly with benefit carriers and vendors to coordinate any necessary paperwork and ensure a smooth transition process.

  • Different meeting structures work for different companies and employees, and we’ll consider each option for your company. These meetings can be conducted live and in-person, or via live or pre-recorded webinars. We’ll also coordinate decision support tools, such as online enrollment platforms and/or any necessary paper forms.

Follow Up

  • Companies may want to consider a post-renewal meeting to review how the renewal process went and strategize how to move forward toward the next renewal date.

  • It’s a great opportunity to celebrate the successes and hard work that went into another renewal and open enrollment season!

Companies that would like more information on renewal planning or how Fall River can help employers optimize an existing employee benefits package can give us a call or send us a message. We offer complimentary consultations so that employers can discuss their needs and goals with us, and we’ll help turn it into a reality!

Read 160 times Last modified on Thursday, 26 September 2019 09:48
Juliet Fitzgibbons

Juliet joins Fall River as an Account Executive and brings over 15 years of prior broker and account management experience. Her experience brings extensive knowledge on employee benefit programs, account management and creative cost-saving strategies and compliance solutions for employers of various sizes.

She is responsible for new business proposals, client renewals including plan benchmarking, rate analysis and mid-year reviews. She helps clients navigate healthcare systems and educates employers and employees through open enrollment meetings and day-to-day service requests. Juliet joined Fall River in 2015.