Open Enrollment: Many groups hold an open enrollment period in the month of March. This does not mean you must conduct an open enrollment session; groups that pay 100% of the employee premium tend to not have open enrollment because 100% of the eligible employees should be covered anyway. Those employers that do not pay 100% of the employee premium, tend to offer open enrollment in March since employees are allowed to not be covered.
When do I receive my new rates? We’re projecting to have April 1, 2012 rates by sometime mid-January 2012, roughly 70 days prior to the renewal. When you receive the renewal packet, you’ll have the opportunity to either stay in your current plan or switch to one of the other six medical plans available. Employers will also have the option to switch life, dental and STD coverage as mentioned below.
How are my own rates determined?
- Rates are based on your group’s specific demographics, claims data, the plan in which your group participates, and your employee count.
- If your group is 50 employees or fewer, your claims data is pooled to a greater extent with the rest of the employers of that size. The reason this is important to you is if someone in your group incurred a very large claim, it would not necessarily impact your rates………….because it would be part of the aggregate claims inside the pool.
- Employer groups of 51 and greater are more individually underwritten but still take advantage or participating in the larger AFN pool.
- You might ask; What if our group didn’t have any big claims that we were aware of this year?
- The rates as mentioned above are determined by a number of factors to make it fair for all groups.
Will we see any claims data on the AFN or my group specifically? In the renewal packet, there will be aggregate premium / claims information on the entire AFN pool. We do not and cannot share specific employer claims data. Additional financial information will be included in the packet which will detail our reserve status.
If we want to shop around to see if we’re getting the best deal possible, how can we do this? Just let us know that you want a quote outside the AFN plan and we’ll make the request on your behalf.
- If you would prefer to work with another broker, let us know and we’ll assist you and the broker any way we can. We don’t hold groups back from performing your due diligence.
- The one thing you need to be careful of is comparing a plan outside the AFN that might be inferior to the benefits offered in the AFN, just to receive less expensive premiums. If a proposal comes in from another carrier and it just looks too good to be true……..it typically is. If we believe that moving outside the AFN is the right decision for your group, we’ll definitely tell you so.
Is the AFN Plan competitive with the rest of the market in Alaska? Very much so. The AFN plan has been offering competitive plans and rates for almost 40 years. We are continually less expensive for comparable plans in any of the community pools offered by other insurance companies. Keep this in mind though; healthcare in Alaska is probably the most expensive in the country and the rates in all plans have to reflect that reality.
What about our AFN Dental, Life Insurance or Short Term Disability Plans? You can make changes to any of the benefits you have currently or may add benefits, effective April 1st, 2012. There are two dental plan options, four life insurance options and four short term disability options.
How has Healthcare Reform affected the AFN Plan? Current legislation that went into effect last year and April 1st of this year did result in some positive changes:
- Our life time maximum is now unlimited.
- Employees can have their dependent children stay on the plan until they reach the age of 26.
- Some groups that changed plans this past renewal did go into a “non-grandfathered” status, which means their preventive benefits became richer.
Where can we find more information on the AFN Employee Benefit Plan? If you have any questions about the upcoming AFN Employee Benefit Plan Renewal or Employer Benefits Plans, please contact Wallace Insurance Group via email, the website or by phone. We’d like to hear from you.