Suzanne Lucas

Engage in Monthly Health Plan Monitoring to Improve Engagement, Costs

When you change your health plan, make sure to engage in health plan monitoring so you learn what works and what doesn’t. That way, if need be, you can change for the following year. Why start in November instead of January? Because most health plans run January to January, your employees will sign up at the end of the year. Here’s a calendar of things to look for every month so you’re on top of your health care plans at all times:

November

Double- and triple-check to make sure every eligible employee signed up for the next year. If an employee hasn’t signed up or didn’t enroll their family, ask why. It could be that their partner’s plan is better for the kids, but it could also be that your plan is too expensive.

December

Provide information to every employee about their health care coverage for the coming year so there aren’t surprises in January.

January

Ask your employees to let you know directly about problems they experience with their health insurance. While they’ll complain directly to the insurance company about these issues, you should be fully aware of any inquiries they have. This way, you can adjust the plans accordingly for the next year.

February

If your health care plan has a wellness or disease maintenance component, check to see who’s enrolled and how the plan is going. Are people happy with it? Have there been any positive results?

March

If your company has a flexible spending account (FSA) from the previous year, employees often have until the end of March to use it up. Check employee balances and notify any employees of money they may lose. It’s a perfect time to get new glasses, go to the dentist or update medical equipment.

April

Ask your health insurance company for a report on usage. See if it’s up or down from last year.

May

Remind employees to use their benefits for things such as well child checks and annual physicals.

June

Look at company costs. Are they above or below expectations, or right on target? Did this plan deliver what you expected or not?

July

Ask your employees for feedback on their plans this year. Are they happy? Unhappy? See what works and what doesn’t. You’ll want this information to prepare for the next year.

August

Meet with your health care broker to pick a plan for the next year. Use the information collected throughout the year to make the best choice for your company.

September

Put together information for open enrollment. Double check for accuracy.

October

Provide open enrollment information to employees and help them sign up for next year.

And then, the cycle starts over. It’s never ending, but health plan monitoring can keep your costs under control and your employees happy.

Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corporate human resources, where she interviewed and hired employees, managed the numbers and double-checked with the lawyers. Her writings have appeared in Inc. Magazine, CBS MoneyWatch, US News, Readers Digest and other publications. She focuses on helping businesses nurture great employees and helping employees enjoy great careers.