Seven simple steps to a stress-free enrollment

When it comes to open enrollment, communication matters. But is it working? Many employers don’t think so. A recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that 80% of organizations think employees don’t open or read materials. And 49% think employees don’t understand the content. So what’s the solution? Try these tips to get your messages across.

1. Look at last year. Consider the feedback you got on last year’s campaign. Which communication pieces resonated? Which fell flat? Take a look at the questions employees raised and work those into your materials for this year.

2. Define success and then measure it. Determine what a successful campaign looks like. What are your goals? Do you want a certain number of employees to enroll in a medical plan or use the online tools? After enrollment, look at the numbers and gather employee feedback via focus groups or an online survey to guide future campaigns.

3. Cut the clutter. People don’t want to weed through a 50-page brochure to find information. Remember that readers are used to quickly scanning an article for the high points. Break up paragraphs into bullet points, pull important details into callouts, and use infographics in place of long-winded narratives.

4. Know your purpose. Start with what you want your communication piece to do and let that drive the format. For example, if you want to educate, use FAQs and examples. If you want to inspire employees, feature testimonials.

5. Use straight talk. Don’t try to sugarcoat change messages. Clearly explain what’s happening, why it’s happening, and when it’s happening. Change can be hard, but you have to be honest with employees to earn their trust.

6. Start early and communicate often. Give employees a heads-up early on, especially if you’re making major plan design changes. Announce key dates, such as when enrollment will be and when employee meetings will be held. As the deadline approaches, remind employees to take action.

7. Go for variety. Reach your employees with a variety of media to appeal to generational and personal preferences. For example, if you’re explaining a new high-deductible health plan, you might mail employees a print piece to their homes, post a video online, and walk through the new plan at employee meetings.

If you need additional support, be sure to talk with your Milliman communication consultant.

This article first appeared on RetirementTownHall.com.

Considerations for product governance risk management

A key focus of the insurance regulatory authorities around the world has been the protection of policyholder interest. This has resulted in more emphasis on product governance and product life-cycle management. The insurance directive launched under the European Union insurance law has issued guidelines for insurers to embed product oversight and governance into their risk management frameworks.

A robust product governance process can help reduce mis-selling and complaints, and increase policyholder confidence in the market. It can also ensure internal and regulatory compliance for the products offered by the insurer.

The core components of a robust product governance process are:

• Product governance policy
• Product development
• Pricing and value
• Distribution and sales
• Legal, compliance and risk management
• Ongoing assessment of the product

To read more about building a strong product governance policy, read Neha Taneja’s article here.

Critical Point podcast: “Healthcare waste and how to find it”

Milliman’s new podcast, Critical Point, presents unique perspectives from the firm’s professionals. The podcast’s debut episode, “Healthcare waste and how to find it,” features Jackie Sehr, Marcos Dachary, and Dr. David Mirkin from Milliman MedInsight®, a data warehousing and healthcare analytics platform. In this episode, they discuss healthcare waste and approaches to minimize waste and reduce unnecessary costs across the American healthcare system.

To listen to this episode of Critical Point, click here.

Regulatory roundup

More healthcare-related regulatory news for plan sponsors, including links to detailed information.

2018 Social Security and Medicare trustees’ reports released
The Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees issued their annual financial review of the programs. The projections indicate that income is sufficient to pay full scheduled benefits until 2026 for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance program, 2032 for Social Security’s Disability Insurance program, and until 2034 for Social Security’s Old Age and Survivors Insurance program. The Supplementary Medical Insurance (SMI) Trust Fund remains adequately financed throughout the projection period, but only because SMI has unlimited access to general revenues.

For more information, click here.

The CMS’ RDS Center changes its location for retiree and cost report files
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Retiree Drug Subsidy (RDS) Center is changing the location where retiree and cost report files are sent via Connect:Direct. By the end of 2018, all files that are currently sent to the RDS Center via Connect:Direct must be sent to the new location. This change only impacts vendors that submit data to the RDS Center via Connect:Direct and does not affect vendors that submit data using the RDS secure website.

For more information, click here.

Commercial health insurance: Overview of 2016 financial results and emerging enrollment and premium data

In this report, Milliman’s Paul Houchens, Jason Clarkson, and Jason Melek provide a detailed review of the commercial health insurance industry’s financial results in 2016 and evaluate changes in the market’s expense structure and enrollment prior to relative years. They also provide enrollment and Advanced Premium Tax Credits estimates for 2017.

Medicaid managed care market penetration quadruples over past decade

Milliman has announced the availability of its annual research into the financial results and administrative expenses associated with Medicaid managed care plans. This year’s report marks the tenth edition of Milliman’s research, and combines the financial and administrative analysis into one comprehensive report including an in-depth examination of Medicaid managed care plans’ medical loss ratios (MLR), administrative loss ratios (ALR), underwriting ratios (UW ratio), and RBC ratios. The information is of significant value to the Medicaid industry as enrollment and revenue continue to increase year-over-year.

Observing the changes that have occurred in the Medicaid managed care landscape over the last ten years provides valuable insight into the makeup of the market. We have made enhancements to this year’s report that help to highlight the growth in this industry and the ebb and flow of experience over time.

Key findings from the analysis include:

• The average underwriting gain of 0.9% in calendar year (CY) 2017 remained relatively stable from the composite gains observed in CY 2016.
• During the past ten years of our analysis, the data studied for the report has seen a 250% growth in membership and over 400% growth in revenue for the studied Medicaid managed care programs
• Administrative expenses continue to increase on a per member per month basis, but decrease as a percentage of revenue has been observed from CY 2016 to CY 2017.

To see the Medicaid administrative expenses report, click here.