An employee health plan — and the renewal process —  doesn’t need to cause you or your veterinary practice stress. In fact, with the right plan, an employee health plan should empower all members of your practice and create calm in an anxious world.

We understand that all insurance renewals — and especially employee health plans — can be confusing and stressful. That’s why the AVMA Trust created this blog post to help guide you through the process. 

1. Time Your Renewal or Coverage Change

When does your practice’s existing health plan expire? Understanding when your coverage expires (or is set to renew) is the first step in a successful renewal process.

Generally speaking, open enrollment occurs in November and December in about three-quarters of group medical plans, but as a practice owner or manager, you should begin your assessment well before the closing weeks of the year. It is best practice to begin 30 days before you expect to receive the “renewal” of your current plan – that is, the pricing and options for the following year.

Work back from the renewal date for your practice. Give yourself plenty of time to properly review and assess your needs and desires. The last thing you or your employees want is a rushed decision — or to renew with your current option simply because the clock ran out. 

2. Review the Past and Assess Your Options

If you offer a health plan to the practice, take the time to revisit your plan utilization. Did the group utilize your benefit plan during the past year? What did they like and dislike with the plan? Does it make sense to remain in the same plan or would switching coverages better fit your practice for the coming year? Has the size of your practice changed? Do you expect enrollment to change significantly over the next year?

Assessing your current situation by examining your plan usage and speaking with employees will help you understand your unique needs and may provide more options to you at renewal time.  

3. Minimize Burdens, Maximize Participation

Remember, your health plan should actually be a benefit not an administrative burden for you.  Nor should it be viewed as a restrictive plan for employees. Ideally, the plan should help attract and retain a talented workforce.

As you consider options, remember to assess not just the medical portion of your offering (e.g. network, plan designs, features, etc.). Administrative options can also prove incredibly helpful throughout the year. Some coverage options and carriers provide tailored customer service and online enrollment options that make employee adjustments easy and painless. Online bill pay is another feature that may help reduce your administrative burden and give you more time to deal with the day-to-day business of your veterinary practice.

Ready to explore your options?

If you’re ready to consider adding or changing the employee health benefit for your practice, consider the AVMA Trust Association Health Plan. Features include:

  • Monthly enrollments with rates locked to the end of 2021 (12+ months of cost stability, delaying premium increases)
  • Plans designed with various cost-shares and deductible amounts
  • Health Savings Account strategies available to promote responsible plan use and future healthcare cost
  • An optional partnership with Paylocity to offer significant savings on payroll and healthcare account services
  • Tailored customer service and online enrollment platform to make group adjustments and online bill pay  
  • Rabies vaccine and titer testing included in PPO networks