Affordable Care Act

Helping Employees Make Benefit Choices Under the Affordable Care Act

boy at dentist

Many businesses are classified as “employers of choice” because they take good care of their customers and employees. They researched health care plans and provided choices that fit employees’ needs. In that scenario, employees needed only to review plan summaries and check boxes on their insurance enrollment forms.

Now, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is placing decisions regarding health care choices directly in employees’ hands. Under this model, “employers of choice” will be those that help employees find the insurance coverage they need. In addition, they should provide information about health care changes and plans, and remind employees regularly to take advantage of their benefits.

Maintain Oral and Vision Health
Sometimes employees want to defer purchasing dental and vision coverage in order to save money on monthly premium expenses, but in reality they may risk developing serious health problems and could incur significant bills for medical services.

Surveys show that people with dental and vision insurance tend to use their benefits, including scheduling regular checkups and addressing health concerns before it’s too late. Bottom line, employers should help employees understand the value of dental and vision coverage and the wisdom of paying a small monthly fee for insurance that protects their health and that of their insured family members.

Address Employee Concerns
Employers may have varying benefit options or required offers based on their size. But all employers need to develop communication strategies to assist employees in understanding benefit decisions. Review the following concerns that may be on employees’ minds:

Single: Younger employees in good health may not see a need for medical insurance or dental and vision coverage. Instead they want to delay these purchases until they are older, when they’ve had a chance to work, pay off any college debts and start putting money away.

Conversely, older single individuals readily recognize the value of dental and vision coverage. But they are extremely concerned about costs and wonder how they can stretch their limited finances to cover the ACA insurance requirements and the higher premiums they’ve heard discussed by the media.

Married: This group is concerned about how to balance housing costs, car and student loans, and other expenses. If both spouses work, they need to decide whether to purchase insurance coverage as an individual through their employers, private exchanges or public marketplaces, or whether one will purchase family coverage, if available at work. Depending on their ages and health status, some may be willing to forgo dental and vision coverage until finances are stable.

Single parents with children: Many may have concerns similar to single individuals, but with the added responsibility of meeting ACA obligations for their children. They may not understand pediatric Essential Health Benefits, including age requirements and covered services and prices, but recognize the potential impact on their monthly budget. Single parents may feel they can afford only the required medical, dental and vision coverage for their children, and delay investing in these plans for themselves. Instead they will handle any serious health problems through urgent or emergency care providers.

Married with children: Insurance costs weigh heavy on the minds of married individuals with children. Juggling daily family expenses is challenging, not to mention providing for their kids’ health care needs. Just like single parents with children, married parents may not understand pediatric EHBs and how ACA insurance requirements will impact their budgets. Parents may consider providing medical, dental and vision coverage for their children, but not purchase similar plans for themselves.

To learn more about dental and vision coverage under the ACA, visit our Affordable Care Act section, or read these other ameritasinsight blogs:

Do You Know the Myths and Facts of the Affordable Care Act?

Dental and Vision Benefits Within the Affordable Care Act

Choosing Insurance Plans Within the Affordable Care Act