Ready to Switch from Group Coverage to ICHRA? Here’s What to Do Next

Ready to Switch from Group Coverage to ICHRA? Here’s What to Do Next

With the compounding implications of the pandemic, businesses are looking for better solutions to offer their employees in terms of health insurance benefits. You have been researching the details surrounding adopting an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), and you believe it may be the best option for your company and staff. So now that you think you’ve made the decision to switch, what should you do next? We’ll highlight the three pillar considerations you should evaluate, and review what steps you can take now to move forward with an ICHRA next year.

Canceling Your Group Plan

Before you jump in with a new plan, you’ll want to create an exit strategy for your current group plan. There are a few suggestions and ideas to consider when canceling your existing group health insurance.

Initiating Your Current Plan’s Exit Procedures
Most group health insurance agreements are based on a unilateral contract. This means you should have the capability to cancel the group plan at any point throughout the year. However, you’ll want to verify if there is a notice requirement or penalties associated with a cancelation. It may be helpful to contact your broker or customer service contacts to review any conditions or necessary steps. Some may insist on paper documentation, electronic opt-out selections, or even old-fashioned fax notices. Not canceling correctly might mean your business is on the hook for the next round of premiums.

Explaining the ICHRA Benefits to Employees
It’s imperative that you get your employees on board with the transition. And at first, they may not understand how the ICHRA works to their advantage. You will want to create and lay out a comprehensive communication strategy that provides team members all the information they need as early in the transition as possible. Help them avoid surprises and understand the changes to their benefits. It can also be helpful to offer an FAQ type explanation as well as designate an internal team member to take the lead on questions, concerns, or comments.

Inform Staff of the Timeline to Transition
As you manage your company timeline to transition, you’ll also want to inform your employees about their timelines. Once your group plan is officially canceled, your teams will have a 60-day window of a Special Enrollment Period to make their health insurance plan selections on the individual market. Waiting beyond the deadline could translate to not being able to choose a plan, thus becoming potentially ineligible for the ICHRA you have in place for them.

Selecting the Right HRA Plan for Your Business

Before you take the leap to transition your company’s health insurance benefits platform to an ICHRA, you’ll want to make sure you have an understanding of all of your HRA options.

The ICHRA Solution
The ICHRA solution might be your best option, with its flexibility of guidelines and overarching availability to all of your company’s employees with health insurance. But you’ll want to weigh the benefits of each type of HRA and make the best decision based on your business and employee preferences. For example, you will need to determine your intended company contributions based on your company budget and within the Marketplace’s measurement of “affordable.”

The QSEHRA Solution
The Qualified Small Employer HRA (QSEHRA) is intended to help smaller companies, with 50 or fewer employees, with an HRA platform. The QSEHRA also has different monetary benchmarks for eligibility, including maximum annual allowances that could be more restrictive than the ICHRA. There are also limits to employment types, which should be a consideration for any small business with part-time, temporary, or seasonal staff to cover. The Minimum Essential Coverage requirements must also be met for these HRAs.

Keeping the Group Plan & HRA Solutions
Before canceling your group plan, you may want to consider a combination platform that offers some of your group plan benefits along with an ICHRA. Employees typically can’t participate in both. But there are some considerations for life insurance and disability benefits, meaning you might be able to structure a benefits offering that incorporates an ICHRA for some and a group plan selection of options for others.

The ICHRA Partners to Help Select, Manage, & Administer the Platform

Once you determine for sure how you want to set up your HRA, it’s time to put a few action steps on your to-do list. This also includes reaching out to partners who can help facilitate your platform and engage your employees.

An Internal Team Member
To help shepherd your employees through the ICHRA platform and understand how to submit expenses for reimbursements, it may help to assign an internal team or contact. Having a dedicated member of your team can ensure employees have a resource for navigating and submitting expenses. Your employees may feel more comfortable asking questions if you have someone internally to contact.

An ICHRA Dashboard & Process Administrator
You can set up your reimbursement procedure however you see fit, including old-fashioned paper submissions. But you may want to consider developing a digital platform for submissions and qualified reimbursements management. Employees have an easier time managing their benefits with a dashboard for tracking and submitting their receipts.

Filling Up the Toolbox
You may have an idea of how you want your ICHRA to work. But you’ll need certain tools to help facilitate your ICHRA to your teams. In addition to having an administrator and dashboard, there are other helpful tools that can be invaluable to your employees. W3ll can help you with analytics, compliance, and enrollment tracking, all of which are essential to managing and predicting company expenses. They’re also essential tools to ensure your employees are getting the most out of their ICHRA benefits.

When you’re ready to transition and take the next step to switch away from your group plan to an ICHRA, contact W3ll. From the initial idea to executing reimbursements, we can arm you with the tools, data, and information to make your ICHRA a success for your company as well as your employees in 2021.

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