New Law Expands Mandatory Paid Sick Leave in California

New Law Expands Mandatory Paid Sick Leave in California

With group health plan open enrollment nearly upon us, employers should be focusing on driving engagement so that their employees can make informed decisions about their health insurance options. We want to help you help your employees understand all of their options so that they can purchase a plan that is appropriate for their situation. So here is our advice for the open enrollment:

Listen to your workforce

Before you make any decisions, you should listen to your employees and better understand their needs and preferences. With answers and feedback in hand you can create a benefits package which is more appealing to them, which in turn gives you a competitive edge when attracting and retaining workers. Engage employees and solicit feedback through quarterly employee-benefits round table meetings. Invite employees from different age groups and different departments to participate in these meetings to ensure you have a good cross-section of your staff represented.

Get an early start

If your plan year starts Jan. 1, you should hold open enrollment meetings and dispense plan materials in October or November. Avoid holding meetings in December. It’s too busy and the ramping up period is too short.

Give advance notice

You can start this month with simple reminders for employees to start thinking about open enrollment and evaluate their current health plans. Send out memos and place posters in high traffic areas. If you start with this in October, they can have time to assess their options, particularly if anything has changed in their lives like marital status, new children or health issues.

Costs are paramount

You need to settle on plan arrangements that will be within your and your employees’ budgets (under the Affordable Care Act, in 2024 at least one plan you offer must cost less than 8.39% of any employee’s household income). Employees have a right to understand the costs, so let them know how to access the free transparency tools provided online by most medical carriers.

Communicate effectively

Your task is to get employees out of cruise control and truly assess all of their options. This is especially true if you are making changes to cost-sharing, introducing new plans, introducing a wellness plan or health savings accounts or flexible spending accounts. You should use a variety of different media to communicate with your workforce. Use video, virtual and live meetings, e-mail communications and print materials to get through to your employees. While the attentive ones may think it’s overkill, using different forms of communication ensures that you reach the widest number of staff.

Get spouses involved

If you offer family coverage, ask your staff to invite their spouses to join your open enrollment meetings. You can also invite them to view materials you may post online or by e-mail.
Remind them of the law
Inform your staff of their responsibilities to secure coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Let them know that employees that refuse affordable coverage from their employer and opt to purchase it on a public exchange will usually not be eligible for government premium subsidies.

Your Open Enrollment Meetings

Send out meeting notices early to give your employees time to prepare and set aside time and invite their spouses (if needed).
• Make the meetings engaging with visual aids and real-life examples.
• You may want to consider video recording the sessions and also providing remote access to employees that don’t work onsite.
• Provide enough time for the presentation as well as questions from your employees.

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