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As An Employer, Do I Have to Wait For Annual Renewal to Make A Change In Health Insurance Providers?

Many people in Florida and around the United States believe they must wait for a specific period of time each year to change their health insurance plan.

They are usually thinking of the Affordable Care Act insurance marketplace, which holds open enrollment anywhere from 30 to 90 days falling mainly in November and December.

As an employer, however, you have a wide variety of other options. You are also generally able to change your health insurance provider at any time of the year. That assumes only that you find a new one that meets your needs. Most business owners strive to avoid disruption in healthcare benefits.

There are some scenarios where it may be impossible to make a change at a given time:

  • You have established a contract with an insurance provider that includes a certain timeframe
  • You agreed not to change providers within a given timeframe with your employees or union

Even in these cases, however, there are some ways you can change your company’s health insurance safely and easily. This group insurance operates under very different rules from individual insurance Floridians buy on the ACA marketplace. The key is finding a new group insurance plan that works for you.

Why Businesses Might Change Health Insurance Providers at Mid-Year

Most companies wait until the end of the year to make changes in group health insurance, but this is not because they are required to. Instead, it can simplify year-end bookkeeping to make the change official at the start of the new year. Naturally, the details depend on your accounting system.

Based on the size of your business, you may be required by law to provide group health insurance options. Larger organizations may face penalties and other sanctions if group health insurance lapses. This leads many companies to avoid a significant mid-year change.

Still, there are times when you might want to change insurance offerings in the middle of the year:

1. Your Employees’ Health Insurance Usage Has Changed

Sometimes, health insurance usage among your workforce may change rapidly. Employees may have needs that aren’t effectively met under the current plan options. While there’ll always be some people who prefer their existing plan, making a change in this instance can boost team morale.

If you are getting employee feedback that your current insurance scheme isn’t working, it may be wise to consider alternatives. Of course, it is important to balance the need for fast action with its trade-offs. That said, acting quickly on this kind of feedback can help employees feel heard and valued.

There are pragmatic reasons to make sure your health insurance is aligned with usage, too. Not only will it tend to be less expensive, but it could reduce absenteeism. Plus, employees have opportunities to be more engaged and productive when they do not have to worry about their basic healthcare needs.

2. Unexpected Costs or Other Conflicts

Your agreement with a health insurance provider is a major vendor contract, so it is no surprise you will want to optimize it as much as possible. Some Central Florida businesses have discovered substantial waste when they audit their interactions with their group health insurance provider.

Health insurance conflicts can also come from your employees. You may learn, for example, that an insurer is consistently rejecting coverage for care that appears to fall well within the bounds of your policy. Often, the most influential thing you can do in these situations is “vote with your wallet.”

Business owners often have little interaction with the group health insurance provider over the course of an average year. But no matter whether you or a team member is the relationship owner, it is useful to stay abreast of the quality of customer service and the end-user experience a provider offers.

If you are not satisfied, there are plenty of other ways to meet your needs!

3. New Opportunities to Save Money

Just as with individuals, businesses should get into the habit of examining their health insurance each year to see what they are getting for their money. If you have sound data collection practices in place, this can be simple and straightforward. Providers must also furnish documentation to you when asked.

As a general rule, the cost of health insurance rises every year. Healthcare costs as a whole have often gone up faster than the rate of inflation. So, it is normal to see increased costs each year. But you must put these in the context of your whole employee benefits strategy.

Your group health insurance is a core part of your overall employee benefits. Research shows health insurance consistently ranks #1 among the most vital benefits that employees look for. But the biggest advantage of benefits is to use your purchasing power to get more than individuals could alone.

If rising costs are eroding that value, it is high time to look elsewhere.

You Can Change Your Group Health Insurance with a Local Health Insurance Broker

No matter whether your current group health insurance is too expensive or you and your team are simply losing faith in it, there is an alternative. You can review your options at no cost and with no obligation by sitting down with a local health insurance broker.

A health insurance broker in Central Florida is an independent insurance professional. These teams build relationships with all the different organizations that offer health insurance in a given area. It is critical to work with a local health insurance broker since each one focuses on a specific geography.

A health insurance broker has no sales quota and is not required to sell products from any given insurer. Instead, your broker is an ally who is always on your side and advises you based on your specific needs.

When you talk to your health insurance broker, he or she will work hard to understand your situation. Then, you can discuss all of the different options that may be suitable for your business.

That includes finding health insurance providers that will help you switch over any time of the year – even if you have a strict deadline and need to move fast.

Health insurance brokers can work with individuals, businesses, or both. It is always good to ask prospective brokers about their experience with group health insurance and companies like yours.

Once you find the right health insurance broker for you, that person can be a trusted advisor for many years to come. As long as you continue to do business in Central Florida, you can always bring your changing needs to your broker. That sense of history leads to even better insights.

Choice Health Insurance Brokers has helped companies of all sizes across Central Florida identify and adopt the best group health insurance for their unique situation. No matter the time of year, your total headcount, or your budget, you have options.

Contact us to find out more and get started.