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  • Leon Grove

    By Leon Grove, DBA, Full-Time Faculty, Kaplan University
    Published January 2015

    It was exactly 1 year ago today that I reported on 2014 tax changes as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). During the first period of open enrollment, many citizens experienced difficulties logging onto the system to sign up for care, prompting a review of the system by Congress. Now open enrollment is here again. This article will discuss the employer’s perspective on coverage during open enrollment.

    Enrollment season for the ACA is from November 15, 2014, to February 15, 2015. Many U.S. companies also have open enrollment for employee insurance this time of year. There is no better time to ensure your employees understand their coverage options and unique needs.

     First things first: Putting the need in perspective 

    While ACA health care reform is mandatory, disability insurance is not. However, one question may be posed to employees: how long would you be able to make ends meet without your income? The thought of losing your income due to disability can be intimidating, but employees should be able to answer this question. First, it helps them understand why disability insurance coverage is crucial: it can help provide income protection should they be unable to work. Second, the question may alert them to the fact that they are not properly covered, or worse, don’t understand the risks of being underinsured.

    Getting their attention is key to having a purposeful dialogue…

    Now that you have your employees’ attention, where do you go from here?

    Step 1: Answer common questions right from the start.

    According to LIMRA, fewer than one-third of working Americans have disability insurance.1 While everyone at your company can benefit from enrollment information, be sure to focus on employees who may not be properly covered. Recent graduates and young professionals may not understand the risks of not being properly protected. To help address their concerns, focus on the following questions in your enrollment meetings:

    What expenses will this cover? 

    Disability insurance benefits can be used toward everyday expenses (rent/mortgage, utility payments) but can also help cover payments for larger expenses such as student loans and children’s education/tuition.

    Will this just pay the bills? 

    No. In fact, there are resources that may come with your disability insurance that employees may not realize they have access to. Promote additional benefits such as wellness and employee assistance programs, and demonstrate the variety of ways these resources can help them with their personal health and wellness needs and/or goals.

    Step 2: Remind them that it can be a good deal to buy disability insurance through work.

    There are a variety of reasons for buying disability insurance through an employer that your employees may not even know about. Group pricing often is available, which can make premiums less than if an employee were to purchase insurance on his or her own. Many employer-sponsored policies have limited—or no—medical underwriting. They won’t have an extra bill; payment is deducted straight from their paychecks.

    Informed employees are able to make smart decisions about the type of coverage that is right for them, so it is important that your employees are in the know this enrollment season. To help you with these focus areas, we have put together an infographic to guide your disability and life insurance enrollment meetings.Download itand use it as a guide to help you make your enrollment meetings a success this year.

     

    1 Facts from LIMRA: 2014 Disability Insurance Awareness Month. LIMRA website. http://www.limra.com/uploadedFiles/limra.com/LIMRA_Root/Posts/PR/_Media/PDFs/2014-DI-Fact-Sheet.pdf.

     Leon Grove is a full-time faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.

     

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