Our goal is always to create a seamless health insurance renewals process. But this year, we also asked ourselves what could be fundamentally different—and better—about the experience for customers.
Each year, people from our operations, engineering, marketing, and customer success teams spend the better part of 10 months working on delivering health insurance renewals to thousands of small businesses across the country.
Busy people rely on our ability to take a complex suite of changing health plans and provide access to them in a fully integrated, easy-to-use platform. That's why Justworks exists.
Under the hood, renewals for the many different types of insurance accessed through our PEO are actually occurring throughout the year. They underpin our customers’ continuous access to high-quality medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as their workers’ compensation insurance, Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), and more.
While some of these renewals can take place behind the scenes, others — like those for your company’s health insurance — touch each of your employees and their families. As a result, they necessarily require a more thoughtful, guided, and hands-on process.
Our goal is always to create a seamless health insurance renewals process. But we also ask ourselves what could be fundamentally different — and better — about the experience for customers. We aim to design and deliver a more helpful and human approach year over year, one that goes beyond just providing you with access to great coverage options in Justworks.
With this as our guiding principle, we’ve built more optionality into renewals to account for the potential need for health insurance alternatives, and created programming to empower you as a more confident consumer of health insurance for your business.
Leading up to plan selections, when you’ll first be able to choose medical, dental, and vision coverage options for your team, and all the way through the end of employee open enrollment, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Here’s what to expect.
Upfront and helpful conversations. When it comes to the typical health insurance experience, your rates can feel like a proverbial “black box” when they arrive. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We believe in helping you to become a more confident consumer. We’ll start the conversation early and help you understand the actions you may be able to take to create the best outcome for your business and your employees.
More context on control. We believe in giving you the information you need to make the best decisions for your business. Once you receive your renewal rate, we’ll be available to help you to make changes to the plans you offer and your contributions, so your coverage can better meet the needs of your team and your budget. And we’ll ensure you have the time you need to make these decisions confidently.
The option to choose. The option to choose. As companies grow and evolve, so do their needs. We’ll proactively reach out to businesses whose teams might have a potential need for health insurance alternatives, support them in exploring alternative options, and help set them up for long-term success given their individual priorities and constraints. If these alternatives make sense, we’ll help make a transition seamless.
All insurance companies try to estimate the likelihood that a person or group will spend a certain amount on health care each year, based on information such as age, gender, and area of residence, to name a few. As they learn from the claims incurred by a person or group, they annually adjust rates to better reflect their understanding of each group’s situation, based on hundreds of data points. They also consider macro factors that affect the entire health insurance industry like changes in prescription drug costs or government-mandated benefits, as well as meeting their own business’s performance goals.
This simplification, however, fails to take into account the fact that there are people under all of that math — people who may be sick through no fault of their own. Or people who may use their health insurance plan in a way that’s inherently higher cost — like choosing to use brand name drugs when generic alternatives are available. The fact is the way insurance companies perceive a given individual’s situation is more or less agnostic to the human element. They mathematically estimate the likelihood of incurring a certain amount of cost, based on the data they have, and attempt to spread that cost out.
When your company joins Justworks, your employees and their dependents become part of this insurance math and ultimately determine your cost of coverage. But, over time, the human element underneath that math continues to change. Your employees and their dependents age, for example. People may join or leave your company. And others may get sick. This means that the overall population of Justworks’ health plan and how people utilize their healthcare is constantly shifting, as do the healthcare services covered by it.
One well-known example of covered services changing is the ACA’s dependent coverage mandate, which required all new health insurance plans to provide coverage for dependent children until the age of 26. For renewals in 2020, we saw the rollout of mandated changes to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) coverage across large-group health plans underwritten in New York. In other words, health plans themselves are constantly shifting, too. The same goes for the broader health environment we live in, which we’ve seen up close with COVID-19. And all of this is occurring amid a larger trend of rising healthcare costs nationally.
Because of our role between you, the insurance companies, and delivering your rate, we try to bring a more human approach to the overall renewal process. This means in addition to providing access to high-quality medical, dental, and vision coverage options year-over-year, we also ask what the best outcome for your business might be. We focus on how we can help you feel confident in your decisions and how we can leverage all the other benefits in Justworks to help keep your team feeling secure and valued for many years to come. By grounding ourselves in our customers’ long-term success, we are able to support individual companies in navigating the tough decisions that sometimes emerge during health insurance renewals in a way that reflects our values.
To this end, we’ll crunch the numbers for you and proactively reach out to a small number of customers who may benefit from alternatives to their present health insurance offering. We’ll begin a conversation with these customers early and support them in exploring alternative coverage options, so that they feel confident that their renewals decisions will set their business up for long-term success. Whether they decide to switch carriers, move to an open market plan, or decide to seek insurance elsewhere, we’ve got them covered — each company has unique needs, and our increase in plan options will meet them where they are. And more importantly, we’re here to support any potential transition so it’s as seamless as possible for their team. This includes continuing to provide their employees with access to Justworks’ health plan-adjacent benefits like One Medical, Health Advocate, and more — regardless of the medical plan they choose through Justworks.
Most customers will continue to be a good fit for large group health insurance and go through the typical renewals process. However, if we determine that you would get a better rate through our open market plans or through another mechanism, we will proactively surface that option to you at renewals.
Either way, when you receive your health insurance renewal, we’ll be there. We’ll help you to understand your rate and support you to make changes to your plans and contributions, so that your coverage can best meet the needs of your team and your budget. Prior to this, we’ll also introduce programming to help you become a more confident consumer of health insurance for your business.
For example, all customers will be able to:
Talk to your team. Get a sense of what your team’s health insurance priorities are and their perception of your current health insurance offering. To make it easy, use our Employee Health Insurance Evaluation Template.
Take a look at what other companies are doing. Health insurance is the core of a competitive benefits package. Comparing your current health insurance offering to companies like your own is an opportunity to identify ways to improve your health insurance offering for the new plan year.
Create a plan of action. Use the information you’ve gathered around your team’s needs and what other companies like you are doing to determine this year’s priorities. Use our Guide to Building the Right Health Insurance Offering for Your Team to help you choose which types of plans will fit with your team’s coverage needs and your company’s budget.
In mid-August, apply your plan of action and select plans. When health insurance renewals begin, take a look at your renewal rate and assess where it falls within your budget. From there, use your plan of action and budget assessment to determine which plans to select to offer for the upcoming health insurance plan year.
While we are always focused on being the best all-in-one solution for small businesses, we see the opportunity in becoming more flexible when it comes to the many different insurances that underpin the health of your business. Over time, more flexibility will also help us to serve more types of small businesses to begin with, which is critical to realizing our vision of making starting, running, and growing a business more accessible for all people.
We believe Justworks is uniquely positioned to play an outsized role in creating stability, continuity, and a positive impact in the physical, mental, and financial health for many companies’ employees and their families through our platform. This gives us a huge opportunity — a responsibility we take seriously — to help smooth out the sometimes rough edges of health insurance renewals and move towards delivering a more human experience for our customers and their people.
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