You’re going to hear a lot more about open enrollment in the coming weeks, and, in particular, one critical component of the open enrollment process: healthcare exchanges.
In a nutshell, an exchange is a secure online marketplace available to employees: full-time employees, part-timers and sometimes 1099 contract workers, specifically. The Arizona Small Business Association is now working with ConnectedHealth as our exchange provider to offer you and your staff a wide range of individual plan options.
ConnectedHealth’s Leadership Team sat down with us recently to address some of the top questions and comments about exchanges.
1. “I really don’t want to throw my employees to the wolves and make them figure out benefits by themselves.”
An effective benefits marketplace can provide an online retail experience – something consumers are very comfortable with. With an exchange, you can offer a similar shopping experience to different people, too – making the process for everyone seamless.
2. “If it takes an entire benefits organization to figure this out, how are our employees expected to deal with this on their own?”
ConnectedHealth’s marketplace gives the employees much more flexibility and control than traditional benefits over how they spend their benefit dollars, and also provides a Recommendation Engine and other resources (videos, knowledge center, FAQs, live call center support) that make choosing and enrolling in a plan option quite simple.
3. “Everyone else is still offering traditional benefits; I won’t be able to attract and keep talent if I use an exchange to deliver my benefits.”
The same benefits (or better) that you are offering today can be offered on exchanges. You can still choose to cover everything—but start to introduce “choice” to employees. They can choose the plans that are right for their family and life stage (whether they’re having a baby, getting married, etc.).
We believe that the employer’s role as the gateway to employee benefits will continue, and mechanisms – specifically exchanges – that make it easy for employers to administer benefits while reducing administrative hassles will play a critical role.
Carol Mangen is the director of Member Benefits for the Arizona Small Business Association.