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Know How: Helping employees select 2019 health benefits

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By Dan Tropeano
Guest Columnist

Fall is one of the busiest times of the year for Delaware businesses. Most employees are back from vacation and ready to close out the year strong.

It’s also an important time to select 2019 health benefits, especially during the seven-week open enrollment period, from November 1st to December 15th, 2018.

To help employers and employees select the right plan to meet health and budget needs, I’d like to suggest the following important tips.

Take the time to research and explore options: Pay attention to more than just the monthly premiums. Understand the benefits and costs of each plan and what out-of-pocket costs, including the deductible, copays and coinsurance, your employees may be responsible for. A majority of respondents (77%) to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey said they felt prepared for open enrollment season, but 42% said they devote less than one hour to researching health benefits.

Consider any changes to your company’s health coverage over 2018: There are a wealth of resources available to help employees better understand and utilize the health care system, considering they may have major health events planned for 2019 ““ such as having a baby or surgery ““ to determine if current coverage still fits their needs.

Consider adopting online platforms designed to personalize and simplify the health care experience. This will help employees select a health plan based on their personal health and financial needs. These platforms can help employees select an in-network primary care physician and enroll in programs for help with smoking cessation or weight loss.

Don’t forget about additional benefits and features, such as vision, dental and financial protection plans. While some companies may overlook these options, combining medical and ancillary benefits under a single health plan can help maximize the effectiveness of a company’s health care dollars.

Encourage employees to learn the lingo. Since many employees struggle to understand basic health care terms, such as premium, deductible, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum, there are resources online, including UnitedHealth Group’s Just Plain Clear Glossary (in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) to help learn and understand health care terms. Visit UHCOpenEnrollment.com for more tips, articles and videos about health insurance and health care topics.

Dan Tropeano is chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania and Delaware

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