Open enrollment (OE) meetings are intended to educate employees about their benefits in an effective and efficient setting. Perhaps meetings were once the best approach. But times change, and today employers typically offer many more benefit choices, with more complex variables, and the potential for far greater employee financial liability.
In the Virginia small group health insurance market, there are nearly 400 plans offered by 7 carriers, with each carrier offering dozens of plans. At Clearview Logix, we spend a lot of time organizing this plan data, both so that our decision support algorithms precisely calculates recommendations, and so that our broker quoting tool provides our clients with error-free quotes. We get to know this data all too well.
A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a financial instrument that allows you to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to pay for certain qualified medical expenses. HSAs were created to supplement High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs), because HDHPs typically shift the cost of medical care entirely to the insured person until a deductible has been met, at which point the insurance carrier begins heavily subsidizing any future medical expenses.
MyClearview asks the user 4 questions, and then applies mathematical and statistical models to estimate the cost of medical services an individual or family will consume in the plan year. Most users complete the process, including review of the results, in less than 5 minutes. The questions call for top-of-the-head responses without research. The user tells us who will be covered and gives a personal assessment of likely use on a 5-level scale. Next the user tells us if any events or conditions from two short checklists are thought to be likely during the coming coverage year.
Many employers are nudging their employees to be savvy health insurance consumers through strategies like expanded choice of plan options, defined contribution funding, HSA education and cost transparency tools. But relatively few employers have taken the leap to a private exchange as their delivery model. We are learning that many elements of an exchange experience can be effectively realized without necessarily moving to a private exchange platform, where an employer might lose more flexibility than it is ready to cede.