SHE SAYS:

Open enrollment is the time to enroll eligible employees who are not currently part of your group plan or to make changes from your current plan to a new plan.  Open enrollment changes become effective January 1, 2012 therefore, now is the time to review your current plan and make necessary changes.

The turmoil in the health care industry that started last year due to Obamacare continues as carriers and State Departments of Insurance are still trying to comply while balancing their bottom lines.  Some carriers are pre-emptively beginning to implement components of it in their Underwriting Guidelines in 2012 even though it won’t be mandatory until 2014.

Despite underwriting constraints, limitations and perhaps changes in how you will obtain health insurance that will come with the new health care laws, USFSB has a solution for you.  Through an enhanced relationship with one of its carriers, Capital District Physician Health Plan (CDPHP), USFSB is offering a wide range of health insurance plans with competitive prices to our members within 26 counties in New York State through CDPHP.   In addition to these CDPHP plans, we continue to offer quality plans with many other carriers.

As you begin to look for new options, please search for plans by going to www.usfsb.com where you will find all of the information you will need to facilitate a change.

Click on the Small Business Insurance Clearinghouse link and enter your zip code to view the plans available to you.  Select a plan and then to view and print a summary of benefits or application click on View Details or Fill out Application.

As always, we are here to help you! 

WHAT DO YOU SAY?

SHE SAYS:

We are currently in the midst of USFSB’s open enrollment process.   This is always a difficult time for USFSB’s employees since we, by necessity, become the messenger that has to convey to our Members the insurance carriers’ ever increasing premiums which, of course, tend to make our Members upset.

The Open Enrollment Period is when the insurance carriers assess their products and benefits, make changes and issue their new annual rates.   It is also when our Members have the opportunity to change insurance plans or carriers.   This period, for USFSB, begins in October when we start to meet with our insurance carrier representatives to discuss their proposed plans, benefits and rates for the coming year.  At that time, we also determine which of their available new or existing plans we can offer.  In November, we receive the new rates and open enrollment culminates in January when all of the changes are finally completed.

This is the busiest and most stressful period of time for our employees.  Once we have decided on the insurance plans and received the new rates everything must then be organized and entered into our computer system both for billing purposes as well as to update the Insurance Clearing House section of USFSB’s web site.   This can be a difficult and arduous process since, in many cases, the insurance carriers are not able to provide the new rates until the last minute. This puts USFSB in the position of having to scramble to get everything entered in time so that we can notify our Members by December 1st of the new rates and their options if they want to change plans or carriers.

Our custom computer system makes the job a little easier then it was in years past and we are able to provide our Members with a custom grid that gives them all of their options in a very clear and organized fashion.  Then the real fun begins as our Members call with their questions and concerns which we take pride in answering with the best information possible so that they can feel comfortable with their current plan or make a well reasoned decision to move to a different plan or carrier.

Even with these helpful tools and all of the efforts of our employees, open enrollment often feels like a runaway train that might fall off the tracks at any moment.   However, we manage to keep everything under control even if we are a bit frazzled by January. 

The biggest problem for me is that every year the premiums go up and USFSB is always put in the position of being the bearer of bad tidings, during the holidays no less.   We do everything we can to help our Members get through open enrollment as painlessly as possible and try to be the one safe port in this storm of ever rising insurance premiums.

WHAT DO YOU SAY?