The benefits of Open Enrollment are becoming ever more confusing. Individuals lack the needed understanding of their options. People find choosing health care benefits to be more difficult than parenting, making medical test decisions, or buying a car. The information is overwhelming, and help is necessary.

There is HR software available to help simplify and guide individuals through the complex healthcare system. The user can ask questions. It helps people understand the need to collect information during the enrollment process. Questions about why household income plays a part in the process and how the calculation of estimated costs come about need answers.

Confusing benefit concepts about coinsurance and family deductibles are some of the reasons help is necessary. Individuals need information about the advantages of HSAs and how to choose a plan. Healthcare benefits are among the most difficult life decisions. HR software simplifies the process. It creates an engaging experience that connects people with valuable information. Immediate access is available when the need is the greatest.

Users type in questions in their natural language. They receive information needed to continue the process of benefit comparison. Learning the value of tax savings accounts and how to optimize HSAs are part of the provided assistance. Questions about plan costs and how out of pocket cost calculations come about receive answers.

Many employees bail from the process and default to the same plan each year. That is an easy way to deal with the decision. As plans change and financial risks increase, employee education is essential to make them aware of changes and help them understand. Engaging employees is a critical step toward solving open enrollment challenges.

The expectation for 2016 is a rise in every healthcare product except for drug prescriptions. That increase causes employees to see increased premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. It is easy to rely on the status quo to meet employee needs. Changes in family health care needs, the plans employers offer, and the cost of those plans make reevaluating the selection each year important.

To help employees with open enrollment, start by encouraging them to evaluate how their family used health care in the previous year. Ask them to consider how much out-of-pocket expenses, co-payments, insurance premiums, doctor visits, and medication costs they had.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates employees have access to statements that summarize benefits and coverage. The statements serve as an overview of a health plan's coverage features. The information gives the employee an idea of anticipated out-of-pocket expenses that are relevant such as managing Type 2 diabetes and having a child.

If an employee has a flexible spending account, he or she needs to evaluate whether the contribution is less or more than adequate based on actual expenses. Consumer-Driven Health Plans are options that more and more employers provide. The purpose of a consumer-driven plan is to encourage employees to be more active in managing health care. Pairing a Health Savings Account (HSA), owned by the individual, or a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), owned by an employer, with a consumer-driven plan allows employees to have a say as to the when and how of using the funds.

These messages are key in the understanding of open enrollment.

1.) Review with employees how much an employer contributes to an HRA and the handling of the funds at year's end or if the employee no longer works for the employer.

2.) Help employees determine how much of a personal contribution is allowable for the year. Funds in an HSA often earn tax-free interest. The funds are available even if an employee leaves the company. Tell the employee whether the employer contributes funds to supplement employee contributions.

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