This is the final part in our Open Enrollment 101 series on our blog.  Thank you for joining us.  As you enter open enrollment season AUI wants you to be educated and understand more of how the insurance process works.

We’ve been in the industry a long time and heard a lot of stories from our clients over the years.  So here is a short list of some of the most common myths that some agents tell business owners:

  1. Shopping the market takes a lot of time and effort

Yes, shopping the market will take time.  Yes, you and your employees will have to fill out an online health application if you are looking at medically underwritten products.  Yes, there is a time delay in getting proposals from health insurance carriers; however, let’s talk about where the work really lies…

First, when your agent begins the renewal process with you they should have some preliminary options and recommendations to determine if you need to do a full market shop.  Once you have had this initial meeting you will have a better understanding of what you will need to do if you are going to shop the market.

As the employer you are responsible for gathering your census data from your employees and having your team fill out the appropriate online applications.  Your agent should submit all online applications and get the proposals from the carrier.  Your agent should be pulling together the best options from the carriers and presenting to you.  If your agent is telling you that shopping the market takes a lot of time, they may be doing so to discourage you from making them do some extra work.  Shopping the market does take some time and effort, but in no way should it feel like an insurmountable undertaking!  After all, that’s what your agent gets paid to do.  If they are discouraging you from shopping they are not doing their due diligence to you the customer.

  1. Shopping Carriers Risks Losing Your Grandmothered Plan

Absolutely not!  Carriers cannot take your grandmothered status away because you are looking at options from another health insurance provider.  Your grandmothered status can change for only three reasons: one, the carrier stops issuing grandmothered plans; two, you change carriers , or three, you choose to move to another plan.

Again, shopping takes time for the agent and not every agent is going to want to spend time helping you look for another plan.  In addition, some carriers offer bonuses for continuing to renew business so if your broker is encouraging you to stay put without a market review they may be looking out for their best interest instead of yours.

  1. Just Insure the Employees You Want To: You don’t have to worry about discrimination in your benefits because the likelihood you will be audited is slim

While the likelihood that you will find yourself in a Department of Labor audit is less likely than not; discriminating in your benefits is kind of shady.  If you are going to have a health insurance plan it is best to offer it to all eligible employees not just the ones that are important to your bottom line.  It is important to pay attention to discrimination rules ensuring that protected groups do not suffer any adverse effects, besides in a tight job market providing quality insurance benefits can help you attract and retain the key talent you need.

Your agent should help you understand the rules and regulations for providing employee benefits.  An agent’s job does not end with the sale.  AUI University is one way AUI agents keep employees informed of key benefit compliance throughout the year.

  1. You Probably Already Have the Best Rate Out There

If your agent does not prove it, they may be trying to get out of doing a full market shop.  Your agent should furnish you with ACA rates as well as base rates for medically underwritten plans to show if there is the potential for any savings before you sign your renewal.  You are paying that agent whether they shop the market for your benefits or if you simply renew.  Make them work for it!

  1. If another agent looks at your policy or takes agent of record you can lose your current plan

If your agent is telling you this lie it’s time to shop for another agent.  And no, changing agents does not mean you will lose your plan.  You can change your agent at any time.  You do not have to move to another carrier.  In fact, changing your agent of record is as simple as writing a letter and submitting it to the carrier. So if your agent is not providing you with the service you deserve find a agent who will work for you.

To learn more about the ways AUI can help you through open enrollment, contact us!