enrollmentMany workers will see some changes to their plan offerings during this year’s open enrollment.  However, they won’t all be in the form of premium hikes or increased deductibles.

While it’s true that many employers are looking for ways to control their benefits spending, often in the form of shifting the cost burden to employees, there may be other more popular methods for recouping their costs.

Wellness Incentives

Many employers have offered incentives to employees who participate in wellness initiatives.  Most will continue to do so.  However, employees may have to do more than they once did to qualify for them.  For instance, employers who once received perks for simply filling out a health risk assessment may now have to undergo a biometric screening to earn the same reward.

Rather than simply gathering data, employees now want to see workers making strides towards goals like lowering blood pressure or blood sugar or at least know they’re working with a health coach who can help them.  Only once they’ve shown proof of their efforts might they qualify for any significant rewards.

Dependent Coverage

Even workers who don’t see much increase in their own premiums may notice that the cost for coverage for their family members is going up.  This may be particularly true for spouses who qualify for insurance elsewhere or unmarried couples who are domestic partners.

Specialty Drugs

One big area where many employers and plans are looking to cut costs is on specialty prescriptions, such as those used to treat hepatitis C, cancer, or multiple sclerosis.  And one way of cutting costs may be to make it more difficult for consumers to get them.

Those whose doctors didn’t need pre-approval to prescribe these drugs may now be required to contact the patient’s insurer in advance.

No matter what changes may or may not materialize in your company’s plan offerings, it’s still important to carefully consider your elections each year during annual enrollment.  It might be your health, not the plan, that’s changed over the previous year.  If so, now is the time to reevaluate which plan is the best one for you.

For more info on things you should consider when making benefit elections, feel free to contact us.  You can also read more here in the full article by TLNT.