Retiree Health Benefits Solutions: 4 Qualities to Look For

You’ve been providing health benefits to your retirees for years. You’re glad you can: It rewards loyalty, protects people that you consider to be valued colleagues, and promotes engagement within your business. But as health reform adds to administrative burdens and the need to control cost intensifies, it feels like each day there’s less time to manage the retiree program.

Maybe the question isn’t whether your retiree health benefits are worthwhile...but whether you’re delivering the benefits in the right way. Take a look at your retiree health benefits plan, and ask yourself if it offers:

1. A Variety of Plan Options

Whether you’re working with pre-65 retirees, or those who are eligible for Medicare, your benefits solution should be prepared to meet a wide range of needs.

Instead of a group plan solution, your retirees could benefit from access to individual plans with varying deductibles, out-of-pocket limits, coinsurance, and prescription coverage. Your solution can offer short-term medical, dental, and vision plans. Retirement can bring your employees the opportunity to customize a package of benefits to meet their changing needs.

2. Dedicated Support for Retirees

Whether you have 200 people transitioning to retirement, or 2,000, the issues are the same:

  • Moving to a new health plan can involve substantial paperwork.
  • The retirees’ new deductibles, coinsurance, prescription coverage, and other benefits might vary from their old plans.
  • Provider networks can change.
  • Even once they’re settled into their new plans, retirees’ benefits can change from year-to-year.

The result? Questions, and more questions. This can create a full-time job for your human resources department—requiring time they don’t have.

The bottom line: Your retiree health benefits solution should have the bandwidth to assign each retiree a counselor. That specialist should guide the retiree from his or her point of enrollment through the remainder of their time on the health benefits plan.

This can create a continuity of guidance and an atmosphere of trust...and give your company the space it needs to focus on current employees while still ensuring your retirees are taken care of.

3. A Multimedia Change Management & Communications Strategy

Your solution should go even further than dedicated counselors. It should offer:

  • Easy-to-understand enrollment materials
  • A call center with extended hours
  • A website of its own
  • Letters, flyers, postcards, and other updates in the mail
  • Social media with tips on how to use benefits wisely

No two retirees are alike, so a wide range of channels is critical in keeping them up-to-date on their benefits. Regular outreach and education should be a priority of your benefits provider.

4. Seamless, End-to-End Transitioning For You

Transitioning your retiree health benefits solution should be a seamless process. You need an implementation manager who picks up the ball and runs with it.

That means overseeing enrollment, ensuring your retirees are connected to counselors, making sure claims are being processed smoothly, and being available to answer your questions at any time.

The Mark of a Best-in-Class Solution

If offering retiree health benefits has grown too cumbersome, confusing, or time-consuming for your company, consider reaching out to a different provider for some guidance. It might be the best thing you’ve ever done for your retirees, and for you.

Mercer offers a high-touch experience for retirees transitioning to an individual health care plan with Mercer Marketplace 365 Retiree. Visit our web page for more information.

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