Posted in Offering health benefits

How Do I Switch Health Insurance Plans?

Breaking up with your insurance carrier is hard to do. If you’re looking to move to a new provider, you’ll most likely have to wait it out until renewal time comes around. On the anniversary of your plan, which happens every year, you can make the leap and jump into the arms of the other carrier. At that time, you can also cram in more plan options, switch up your benefits, and adjust the amount your employees contribute to their plan. In this article, we’ll help you plot a path to saying goodbye to a health insurance plan that just isn’t working out.

But first… a little tip for the first-timers 

If you haven’t cut the ribbon on your coverage yet, no need to worry — you can simply sign up at any point throughout the year. Joining for the first time triggers its own special kind of special enrollment period, which most other companies can only snag once a year. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about switching plans, so you have nothing to switch from. Here are more details on how to sign up for a new health plan.

Switching health insurance plans

To switch or not to switch? If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already decided that that is the question. If you haven’t decided whether to cut ties with your current plan, take a look at this piece on what to look for in a great health insurance plan.

Change is hard. So bear in mind that switching providers can make things a little rocky for your team at first. Try to soften the blow by providing lots of upfront communication, guidance on what will happen when the change happens, and ultimately, give them a better plan.

Health plan years are determined by the anniversary of the date you adopted the plan along with the dates of the open enrollment periods. However, deductibles are based on calendar years. A little confusing, right? A plan year might wind down in June, but the calendar year isn’t done until the confetti is thrown on December 31st.

Back up a second. What does this look like?

An employee with a June plan anniversary and a $1,000 deductible might have spent $600 toward their chiropractic appointments in June. If you swap plans or providers, that person could be looking at a looming $1,000 deductible. That means your employee just kissed goodbye to the $600 for their back treatments (that they sadly can’t get back).

If you want to revamp your benefits package, and you’re not inching toward open enrollment, you’re probably better making other types of changes. This can include offering a second plan option or transferring your broker of record. A broker of record is a snazzy term that just means that you appoint someone else to manage your company’s health benefits for you. More on that here:

Breaking down broker of record transfers

Transferring your broker of record is when you tell your insurance company that someone else is overseeing your benefits. Think of it as telling someone you’re seeing someone else. In the end, you’ll hopefully both end up way happier. Generally you can transfer your broker of record, or BOR, if you have three months or more before you’re up for renewal. Once you’ve renewed, you can also transfer your benefits right away.

Switching health plans can be done. Because it can throw a little curve in your team’s lives, it’s important that you pause, plan it out, and do it the right way. There are ways to shift things around without making everyone go bananas. However, if change is the right choice, just close your eyes and take the plunge. With a little foresight, you’ll end up making people fall in love with your stronger, wiser, and ultimately, better health insurance plan.