What Workers Can Expect During Open Enrollment

Health insurance card with pillsHeads-up, workers. Open enrollment season is just around the corner. That’s when you’ll make your selections for the benefits you’ll receive next year.

Here are a few changes you may see in your employer’s health plan for 2016, according to Tracy Watts, a senior partner with benefits consultant Mercer:


  • Telemedicine. More employers will be covering doctor visits done over the phone, Skype or FaceTime. These virtual visits cost a fraction of an in-person consultation.
  • Health cost estimators. To help workers be better consumers of health care, insurers are offering online tools to compare the cost of medical services at different providers.
  • Incentives. Employers will be offering employees financial incentives — ranging from a $50 gift card to a $1,000 reduction in family premiums — if they fill out health risk assessments, undergo biometric screenings or adopt healthier behaviors.
  • Lower-cost plans.  More companies are adding plans that often have high deductibles but low premiums, paired with a health savings account. “Do the math” to see if lower premiums make up for higher deductibles, Watts says.


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