Making The Most of Open Enrollment

Your HR department and your employees have been waiting and preparing for open enrollment for a year — and now it’s finally here. This is your organization’s chance to show how much you value your workforce and want to contribute to their overall wellbeing. The better they understand their benefits packages choices, the higher their job satisfaction, and the more they can save on growing healthcare costs. 

While open enrollment is a necessity for your company, it can also be an opportunity to help your employees make a more educated decision that will have an impact on them for the following year. Make the most of this time with these important steps.

Assess the success of last year’s open enrollment

Don’t head into this year’s enrollment process without taking a long, hard look at the numbers from last year. Gather together all of the decision-makers involved with open enrollment and have an honest discussion about what worked and what didn’t. Use this conversation to streamline the most time-consuming parts, gather a list of questions employees asked, and evaluate if your company met the open enrollment goals you set. All of this information will give you a much clearer look at what mistakes you can avoid this year.

Create an open enrollment communication plan

Once you’ve assessed the metrics from last year and solidified your approach, it’s time to create a way to communicate about plan options. Address these points:

  • Corporate goals and metrics of success
  • Any changes to plans, vendors, or the enrollment deadline
  • Which channels (online, print, or in-person) you’ll share information through
  • How you’ll offer employee support throughout and after the enrollment period

It’s also imperative to ensure that everyone clearly understands the deadline and enrollment process, and what will happen if they miss the window to enroll, especially if they’ll end up without coverage. 

Get proactive about open enrollment

Do you have employees who roll over their plan year after year? This doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re thrilled with the offering; it could mean that they’re overwhelmed or uninformed about their options — or they just don’t care. This is an indication that your HR team isn’t providing the best education. Consider offering one-on-one meetings between employees and benefits personnel. They can offer custom insight based on specific questions and provide a chance to let employees know that not every plan is right for everyone. Like with anything else, the cheapest isn’t always the best.

Take another look at summary plan descriptions

Your Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs) are the cornerstone of educational material for both you and your employees as they outline how each plan works. Make sure they’re up-to-date, easy to understand and help quickly answer the most common questions that come up. Take SPDs a step further by incorporating interactive tech with accessible search functions, videos, and mobile device compatibility, and make sure content is available at any time of day or night. Don’t forget to include a data analytics tool on the back end so your HR team can get a quantitative look at how your employees engage with the tools and what they’re looking for.

Think about more than just “age” and “gender”

Workforce demographics are far more diverse than ever before, and your HR department needs to keep this in mind when choosing how to communicate with employees. The data goes beyond just age and gender. Where they are in life, where they work in the organization, where they are in their careers — these are all factors that will determine how your employees prioritize plan choices and how you can reach them to let them know about their options. 

Keep the support open-ended, year-round

Making smart, economical healthcare choices doesn’t end at choosing the right plan during open enrollment. Many providers have resources and tools that can help your employees make smart choices year-round. But they often don’t use them enough (or at all) because they simply don’t know these programs that offer provider cost transparency or patient advocacy exist. Use open enrollment as a time to share these resources and let employees know how better healthcare choices can save everyone money all year long. 

As a business owner, it’s easy to let the day-to-day tasks of running your company (like open enrollment) bog you down and prevent you from performing the tasks that will lead to growth. It’s difficult to consider a personal and business vision when you can’t seem to find a moment outside of processing bills or handling customer service issues. This is where The Alexander Group comes in. Through our business coaching services and advisory board, you can get the support and ideas you need and avoid the hassle, stress, and isolation of having to figure it all out on your own — let’s get started.