Heads-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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