Group health insurance for employees is a not one-time investment or a one-time responsibility for the employer. You have to revisit it every year to assess it and renew its coverage.
Buying new group insurance can be confusing. Renewal is no different! You must consider several aspects to ensure the whole process is seamless and cost-effective, all the while your employees get the health benefits that they deserve in the upcoming year.
You would have to be slightly more careful if this is the first time you’re renewing the group health insurance. This is to avoid the basic mistakes that many business owners make.
In this extensive post, we’ll cover every aspect of renewing your group insurance – right from the steps to important tips.
Group Health Insurance Renewal Steps
This is more than just about contacting your insurance carrier and requesting them to renew the group insurance. A large part of the standard steps includes you doing your basic homework to ensure you and your employees are getting the most out of this engagement.
Here are the five steps of renewing group health insurance:
- Reassessment– A new plan year would come with newer requirements, influenced by the existing economic trends. So, the insurance carrier will reassess your company to come up with newer/changed premiums, as well as different terms. They would factor various aspects, right from increased doctor’s fees to the higher risk levels. In general, remember that the cost of your group insurance will go up unless you implement aggressive cost-mitigating strategies.
- Screening– After reassessment of the present needs and conditions, the insurance company will provide you with different group health insurance options to choose from. It’s your task to screen through them to find a few plans that check all the right boxes.
- Selection– The selection of new health coverage for employees in the next year should undertake various factors, including your company’s financial standing and your employees’ needs. Picking a fitting plan isn’t as simple as it may sound. So, it’s a good idea to consult an insurance broker and seek their help. They can navigate you in screening multiple group plans presented by your insurance company and pick ones that best suit your needs, requirements, and budget.
- Enrollment– In this stage, you will provide your employees with a few group health plans you have selected for them. This is so that they can compare those plans, weigh the cost as well as the coverage and then pick one that they prefer. Such open enrollment wherein your employees decide on the plan promotes higher satisfaction.
- Renewing– This is the final stage wherein the renewal process would be completed. You would sign that papers and make the payments. The insurance company will make sure, per the selection, your employees are properly covered in the upcoming plan year.
These are standard steps to renew your group health insurance plan. In between, there may be further steps and delays in the process. For instance, if plenty of (small) claims were made the previous year, reassessment can take some time. Moreover, if you’re customizing the insurance plan, which is highly recommended, that would take more time.
In any case, if you’re stuck or need assistance in this renewal process, get help from a licensed insurance broker.
9 Tips to Renew Your Group Health Insurance
Now that you’re aware of the standard steps, comes now how to renew the group health insurance policy in a way that gets you maximum coverage at the lowest possible cost. For that, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with basic dos and don’ts.
Here are 9 tips to renew your group insurance policy for your employees:
1. Don’t delay it
Usually, before the expiry of the plan, the insurance company would reach out to you regarding the renewal. They would communicate with you about the deadline. (Note, however, that they are not obligated to do this.)
Act promptly and get the group insurance plan renewed before the deadline.
Although the insurer would provide you a 30-day grace period even after the expiry to renew the policy, you don’t want to wait that long. Why?
One, because during that period, your employees would have no insurance coverage. Second, going to the grace period may also mean missing out on the credit of waiting period for the pre-existing disease.
So, don’t assume you have a lot of time to renew the policy.
Stay informed about the deadline and start the renewal process a few weeks ahead of the policy expiry date. This is especially true for the startups and SMEs who need extensive budget planning in such cases. You want to allot yourself enough time to plan your finances for investment in group health insurance.
2. Evaluate your evolved needs
Your company has come a long way since the last year. Its financial standing, as well as growth projection, has changed.
Maybe the sum you could have spared on group insurance a year back – you can’t now.
Similarly, maybe your company is in a better position now – so you can invest more money in group insurance.
In addition to this, the needs and requirements of your employees have changed as well.
For example, a year back, they may have not cared about getting coverage against certain viruses or diseases – but they do now.
Or, maybe a few months back they were reluctant about their family’s health coverage – but they are concerned about it now.
So, don’t stick to the same rules and consideration that you had a year back. Evaluate the evolved needs. Renew your group health insurance plan based on their current requirements and scenarios.
3. Increase the assured sum
This is something every employer should consider.
If your company has grown over the past year and is financially in a much better condition, you should ideally consider revising and increasing the sum assured.
Understand that the healthcare cost is consistently increasing. Even for basic health problems, the bills could be huge. A small coverage is insufficient, and something that most of your employees will not appreciate.
So, during the renewal, assess your financial capability, as well as current employees’ requirement, and increase the assured amount.
4. Read the terms and conditions thoroughly
In general, the terms and conditions of the insurance will remain the same even during the renewal.
However, there could be times when the insurer may decide to introduce changes (with the approval of IRDA). In such a case, it’s important that you thoroughly go through the policy terms and conditions so that you’re aware of the what’s, why’s and how’s.
You don’t want to be in a position where your employee is trying to claim a sum but the terms limit them.
Understandably, going through those never-ending terms and conditions of group insurance is not only confusing but also tedious. An insurance broker can be of help here.
5. Feel free to switch to another insurer
This is an option you have – and you should seriously consider it if needed.
Maybe you don’t like your insurance carrier. Maybe there were a few things that happened in the last year that left you with a bad experience.
The reasons could be plenty why you don’t like your current insurance company and you want to port the policy to a new insurer.
If there’s indeed any such need, feel free to go with another – better – insurance company.
Migrating from one insurer to another isn’t as complicated as it may feel. A licensed insurance broker with enough relevant experience can assist you throughout this process.
6. Educate your employees
So many employees aren’t adequately aware and educated about how their health coverage is beneficial and how they can claim the sum.
When you’re renewing the policy and possibly making changes, things could get even more confusing.
So, it’s a great idea to educate your employees from the go.
Explain to them what the health policy covers, what it excludes, which hospitals come under its network, and more.
Help them understand the terms and conditions of this policy, including how they can enjoy cashless claims. Educate them on how they can optimally make use of this insurance.
7. Opt for wider coverage
This is usually recommended for companies in a good financial position.
Offer your employees even more health benefits.
For instance, if the previous policy didn’t cover dental care, make sure the renewed policy covers dental benefits.
Similarly, if the previous policy didn’t provide health coverage to employees’ family members, consider including even their loved ones under the coverage during renewal.
In short, opt for wider coverage that provides more health benefits to the people responsible for building and growing your business.
Remember, your investment in group health insurance would eventually return your business with bigger rewards in the long run, boosting everything – right from the team’s productivity and performance to employee retention.
8. Don’t panic over the increased cost
Here’s a thing: The cost of group health insurance will increase every year.
Yes, you can try to lower this cost with cost-mitigating strategies. But in general, you should still assume this cost to climb higher annually.
So, don’t panic when your insurance company gives you a higher quote.
Anticipating this will also help you effectively plan your finances. You would set aside a bigger sum for the group insurance from the go.
9. Take the hands of an insurance broker
As mentioned earlier, renewing group health insurance for employees could be just as challenging and confusing as buying the policy.
The room to make costly mistakes is big.
This is why doing it all by yourself isn’t usually recommended. Instead, you should seek help from experts.
A licensed insurance broker can help you understand the whole renewal process. They can help you find a good group plan for the upcoming year that matches your needs and budget. Further, if needed, they can also customize your plan to suit your distinct requirements.
So, take your time to find a good insurance broker who has extensive experience and expertise in this. Communicate with them your needs and then work together to renew the group insurance policy the right way.
Don’t rush through it!
Undertake all the key factors when renewing the group policy for employees. This is important for your finance. And most importantly, this is important for your employees’ well-being.
Now you know what steps are involved in this process and how you should go about it to get maximum value, take a step forward and renew your group insurance.