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Resource Center / Health Insurance

Health Insurance Renewals at Justworks: What Customers Can Expect

Our goal is always to create a seamless health insurance renewals process. But this year, we also asked ourselves what could be fundamentally different—and better—about the experience for customers.

David Feinberg
Jun 29, 20219 minutes
What you should ask before picking company healthcare.

Each year, people from our operations, engineering, marketing, and customer success teams spend the better part of 10 months working on delivering health insurance renewals to thousands of small businesses across the country.

Busy people rely on our ability to take a complex suite of changing health plans and provide access to them in a fully integrated, easy-to-use platform. That's why Justworks exists.

Why Your Health Insurance Rates May Increase Every Year

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Under the hood, renewals for the many different types of insurance accessed through our PEO are actually occurring throughout the year. They underpin our customers’ continuous access to high-quality medical, dental, and vision insurance, as well as their workers’ compensation insurance, Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI), and more.

While some of these renewals can take place behind the scenes, others — like those for your company’s health insurance — touch each of your employees and their families. As a result, they necessarily require a more thoughtful, guided, and hands-on process.

Our goal is always to create a seamless health insurance renewals process. But we also ask ourselves what could be fundamentally different — and better — about the experience for customers. We aim to design and deliver a more helpful and human approach year over year, one that goes beyond just providing you with access to great coverage options in Justworks.

We landed on designing and delivering a more helpful and human approach.

With this as our guiding principle, we’ve built more optionality into renewals to account for the potential need for health insurance alternatives, and created programming to empower you as a more confident consumer of health insurance for your business.

Leading up to mid-August, when you’ll first be able to start selecting medical, dental, and vision coverage options for your team, and all the way through the end of employee open enrollment in the beginning of October, we’ll be with you every step of the way. Here’s what to expect.

What to Expect During Renewals

  • Upfront and helpful conversations. When it comes to the typical health insurance experience, your rates can feel like a proverbial “black box” when they arrive. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We believe in helping you to become a more confident consumer. We’ll start the conversation early and help you understand the actions you may be able to take to create the best outcome for your business and your employees.

  • More context on control. We believe in giving you the information you need to make the best decisions for your business. Once you receive your renewal rate, we’ll be available to help you to make changes to the plans you offer and your contributions, so your coverage can better meet the needs of your team and your budget. And we’ll ensure you have the time you need to make these decisions confidently.

  • The option to choose. As companies grow and evolve, so do their needs. We’ll proactively reach out to businesses whose teams might have a potential need for health insurance alternatives, support them in exploring alternative options, and help set them up for long-term success given their individual priorities and constraints. If these alternatives make sense, we’ll help make a transition seamless with all the benefits of our expanded Basic offering.

How Insurance Renewals Work: A Primer

All insurance companies try to estimate the likelihood that a person or group will spend a certain amount on health care each year, based on information such as age, gender, and area of residence, to name a few. As they learn from the claims incurred by a person or group, they annually adjust rates to better reflect their understanding of each group’s situation, based on hundreds of data points. They also consider macro factors that affect the entire health insurance industry like changes in prescription drug costs or government-mandated benefits, such as COVID-19 testing and treatment, as well as meeting their own business’s performance goals.

This simplification, however, fails to take into account the fact that there are people under all of that math — people who may be sick through no fault of their own. Or people who may use their health insurance plan in a way that’s inherently higher cost — like choosing to use brand name drugs when generic alternatives are available. The fact is the way insurance companies perceive a given individual’s situation is more or less agnostic to the human element. They mathematically estimate the likelihood of incurring a certain amount of cost, based on the data they have, and attempt to spread that cost out.

When your company joins Justworks, your employees and their dependents become part of this insurance math and ultimately determine your cost of coverage. But, over time, the human element underneath that math continues to change. Your employees and their dependents age, for example. People may join or leave your company. And others may get sick. This means that the overall population of Justworks’ health plan and how people utilize their healthcare is constantly shifting, as do the healthcare services covered by it.

One well-known example of covered services changing is the ACA’s dependent coverage mandate, which required all new health insurance plans to provide coverage for dependent children until the age of 26. For renewals in 2020, we saw the rollout of mandated changes to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) coverage across large-group health plans underwritten in New York. In other words, health plans themselves are constantly shifting, too. The same goes for the broader health environment we live in, which we’ve seen up close with COVID-19. And all of this is occurring amid a larger trend of rising healthcare costs nationally.

How Justworks Manages Renewals

Because of our role between you, the insurance companies, and delivering your rate, we try to bring a more human approach to the overall renewal process. This means in addition to providing access to high-quality medical, dental, and vision coverage options year-over-year, we also ask what the best outcome for your business might be. We focus on how we can help you feel confident in your decisions and how we can leverage all the other benefits in Justworks to help keep your team feeling secure and valued for many years to come. By grounding ourselves in our customers’ long-term success, we are able to support individual companies in navigating the tough decisions that sometimes emerge during health insurance renewals in a way that reflects our values.

To this end, we’ll proactively reach out to a small number of customers whose teams have a potential need for health insurance alternatives and individual cost constraints. We’ll begin a conversation with these customers early and support them in exploring alternative coverage options, so that they can be confident that the decisions they eventually make during renewals are setting their business up for long-term success. To back this process up, we have made the necessary investments in providing these companies access to alternatives, as well as in support to make any potential transition as seamless as possible for their team. This includes continuing to provide their people with access to Justworks’ health plan-adjacent benefits like One Medical, Health Advocate, and more.

We are doing this because we believe in adapting to continue to earn the privilege of serving great companies as our customers for even longer. We are committed to them because we believe the value in Justworks for most customers and their people goes far beyond access to our health plan. The other services we provide — payroll, retirement benefits, workers’ compensation insurance, EPLI, SUI, HR, compliance support, and more — are all mission-critical, too. It’s why we’ve made access to all these other benefits more flexible and affordable than ever via our expanded Basic plan, which is a cornerstone of how we will continue to support and serve customers with a need for health insurance alternatives moving forward.

We believe in adapting to continue to earn the privilege of serving great companies as our customers for even longer.

We will always do our best to serve our customers via Justworks’ full suite of services as long as possible, but we will also be open and transparent when we feel that a customer’s health insurance needs (and budget) might be better met by a different solution. If they agree, we’ll be there to support them.

What This Means for Most Customers

Most customers can expect to receive an annual renewal that is in line with what insurance companies propose in small group health insurance.

As such, the added optionality and support for businesses with a potential need for health insurance alternatives is not a feature we need or plan to make widely available.

When you receive your health insurance renewal, we’ll be there. We’ll help you to understand your rate and support you to make changes to your plans and contributions, so that your coverage can best meet the needs of your team and your budget.

Prior to this, we’ll also introduce programming to help you become a more confident consumer of health insurance for your business. Plus, we’ve built more time into the renewals process, so that you can digest the information we’ll be sharing with you and get all your questions answered.

Starting in late August, for example, all customers will be able to:

  • Talk to your team. Get a sense of what your team’s health insurance priorities are and their perception of your current health insurance offering. To make it easy, use our template for How to Evaluate Your Current Health Insurance Offering.

  • Take a look at what other companies are doing. Health insurance is the core of a competitive benefits package. Comparing your current health insurance offering to companies like your own, is an opportunity to identify ways to improve your health insurance offering for the new plan year.

  • Create a plan of action. Use the information you’ve gathered around your team’s needs and what other companies like you are doing to determine this year’s priorities. Use our Guide to Building the Right Health Insurance Offering for Your Team to help you choose which types of plans will fit with your team’s coverage needs and your company’s budget.

  • On August 19, apply your plan of action and select plans. When health insurance renewals begin, take a look at your renewal rate and assess where it falls within your budget. From there, use your plan of action and budget assessment to determine which plans to select to offer for the 2021-2022 health insurance plan year.

While we are always focused on being the best all-in-one solution for small businesses, we see the opportunity in becoming more flexible when it comes to the many different insurances that underpin the health of your business. Over time, more flexibility will also help us to serve more types of small businesses to begin with, which is critical to realizing our vision of making starting, running, and growing a business more accessible for all people.

We believe Justworks is uniquely positioned to play an outsized role in creating stability, continuity, and a positive impact in the physical, mental, and financial health for many companies’ employees and their families through our platform. This gives us a huge opportunity — a responsibility we take seriously — to help smooth out the sometimes rough edges of health insurance renewals and move towards delivering a more human experience for our customers and their people.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.