As the summer comes to an end, the fall leads way to open enrollment season! Although a company’s plan year doesn’t have to align with the calendar year, most often it does. Just as the rush for end of year planning approaches, so does the incredulous tasks of educating, electing and implementing employee benefits.
Preparing your HR team, organization and employees for open enrollment will ensure a successful process. Identifying strategic partners to support your procedures, namely a strong benefits consultant (as well as HRIS, payroll and 401k providers) will make open enrollment as seamless as possible.
Below are 6 Tips for Successful Open Enrollment:
1. Develop yearly strategic plans
Planning is key. Create an annual timeline and checklist for actions to be completed throughout the year. Some items to include on your schedule are employer compliance notices and requirements, claims review, plan selection, open enrollment period, employee elections, carrier submissions. Remember to leave plenty of time to distribute information to your team, for employees to ask questions and make their elections and for the company to submit necessary documents to the carriers.
2. Define goals for open enrollment
When putting your strategy together identify the goal of the year’s open enrollment period. Some ideas include to educate employees, increase enrollment and/or introduce new benefits.
Plan for multiple methods of communication with employees – open enrollment information sessions/webinars, email notices/reminders, collateral employee guides, plan notices, enrollment guidance (paper or tech).
Provide supplemental education leading up to and throughout open enrollment – some content may include employees understanding benefits basics, common terms, coinsurance, deductibles, FSAs/HSAs. This will make the overall process run a lot smoother.
5. Anticipate the needs of your audience
Learn from last year’s open enrollment, what were the most common questions. Engage with employees – does your team respond to email communication or do better with in-person information sessions. It may be a good idea to record information sessions as a resource that can be referenced in the future. Be prepared for confusion, its inevitable.
6. Plan for next year
Benefits planning is a year-round process. Highlight your open enrollment successes and learn from the pitfalls you experience. Continuously improve the process and engage with your employees year-round.
MBL Benefits has developed a cadre of tools to support each client’s needs through the open enrollment process. This includes strategic planning sessions utilizing data, analytics and benchmarking technology to evaluate and select the best benefits, creating custom collateral and providing onsite and remote information and education sessions, on-going support from our team of benefits experts, in addition to others. We’ve created a comprehensive strategy to alleviate the stress that comes along with this chaotic time of year for companies.
Our experienced consultants are available to share how we streamline open enrollment for you and your team.