Did You Maximize Open Enrollment?
Take a victory lap! You’ve made it through another benefits open enrollment season. This time of year can be incredibly stressful and endlessly busy, so you’ve earned the right to take a breath and relax.
Now that open enrollment is over and life is getting back to normal, it’s a good time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Looking back, do you feel like it went well? Did you meet your goals? What strategies did you use to engage with employees and encourage adoption of your different plan offerings?
The assorted health plan offerings—and accompanying health spending accounts—can be complicated and difficult to explain. Let’s take a look at some open enrollment best practices:
Introduce your accounts early: It’s important to keep your employees informed before open enrollment begins, especially if you are offering multiple types of plans, new plans, or making changes to current plans. This can be as simple as sending a letter or email to employees outlining changes and what will be available.
Help employees run the numbers: Comparative charts and infographics featuring different scenarios can help employees evaluate their options. Even better – calculators and worksheets that let them enter their own data.
Offer in-person conversations: Some employees learn best by engaging in discussions. They may be more comfortable asking questions face-to-face or listening to questions from others. You can hold town halls or host a webinar so employees have multiple opportunities to have their questions answered. Consider setting up a Q&A booth in a common meeting area such as a break room or cafeteria. Use the meetings as opportunities to hand out fact sheets or worksheets.
Support employees throughout open enrollment: We all know some people will wait until the open enrollment deadline draws near before making their elections. It can be helpful to send reminder notices throughout the period that include information like where they can find enrollment information online and phone numbers for assistance.
Were you able to use these strategies? If you weren’t able to do some of these things, and you believe your adoption rate could improve, now’s the time to consider new strategies for next year.
Make it easier for employees to look up answers to their questions themselves
If you found yourself stretched too thin, some spending account administrators have ready-made open enrollment materials available for you to distribute to employees. Ask your account representative if resources are available for you or if they can be created.
Ensure that you have adequate support for the work to be done
It may also be worth considering adding staff or other resources. According to the Human Resource Executive “What Keeps HR Up at Night 2018” report, 45.2% of HR survey respondents don’t feel their HR department is currently staffed appropriately to handle its workload.
If that’s not feasible, consider tapping an advisor partner. A benefits advisor can help you find the best mix of benefits to offer to your employees, balancing your budget and retention needs. They offer support through open enrollment, helping you effectively explain the options to your employees, and may even help with benefits setup.
Did you track how much time you spent on benefits communication, support, and administration this open enrollment season? It’s a good thing to monitor, as this will let you know when your company has grown to the point of requiring additional benefits support.
Collect notes now, while open enrollment is still fresh in your mind
Finally, gather the top questions you were asked this year (before they become too buried in your inbox). You can use them to help formulate a plan for next year. Some organizations will distribute an employee survey after open enrollment to get a sense of how employees felt about the process and provide feedback on how to improve it. This could help you keep engaging with your employees throughout the year so that when open enrollment begins next year, everyone is ready.
Stay tuned for more open enrollment tips and tricks throughout the year!