Top 10 Tips for Open Enrollment That Can Make a Big Difference
Open Enrollment is a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be.
By armoring yourself with open enrollment tips and tools you can tackle your upcoming benefits enrollment like a champion.
1. Plan Ahead of Time
- When it comes to Open Enrollment it is best to start planning early. By creating a renewal timeline halfway through your benefits year, you are able to appropriately plan for the upcoming year while also keeping your team on track. Planning ahead of time also allows your team the opportunity to set deadlines that meet your open enrollment needs. Utilizing a project management tool like Trello can help your team during open enrollment by setting deadline reminders, assigning team members tasks, and giving an easily accessible interface for your team to plan. Going forward, you will get a better sense of your organizations planning needs and you may even be able to shorten your open enrollments process in the future.
2. Share a FAQ Document
- By including a document of Frequently Asked Questions, you can easily address some of your Team’s most asked questions while mitigating the number of questions you get asked during OE and simplifying the education process. To begin, create a running list of FAQ questions that arise during your planning time. By the end of your planning period, you will have a list that you can share with employees. Looking toward the future, you can keep this list and build on it with each Open Enrollment Season you encounter.
3. Host Office Hours
Hosting office hours is an easy, low-pressure way for employees to ask questions, seek advice, and work through issues they don’t feel comfortable addressing in an open forum environment. Use a free tool like Calendly that allows employees to see your schedule and select a time that works best for them.
4. Technology is Your Greatest Asset
Open enrollment is a complex process filled with paperwork. With each employee comes a benefit election for every category of their healthcare options. This equates to pages of paperwork for each employee and hundreds to thousands of papers for you to keep track of. Simplify your life and the lives of your employees by switching to an electronic selection process. Try using a free online fillable form platform for your employees like Jotform to collect employee’s selections. Jotform is encrypted so you don’t have to worry about a security risk. Using an online fillable form will allow you to easily organize your files as well and will have you on the path to success this open enrollment season.
5. Better Yet, Invest in a Benefit Administration System
A Benefit Administration System can automate the open enrollment process. The Difference Card now offers a Difference Benefit Admin System. Our Difference Benefit Admin System is a comprehensive suite of products including a new online enrollment services platform, HR Portal, COBRA Administration, and our interactive benefit decision tool: DANNY!
Included in the system, a benefit decision guide, DANNY, walks employees through their benefits options and finds the best option for their needs. Learn more about how the Difference Benefit Admin system can streamline your open enrollment process and why you should consider integrating it into your open enrollment strategy.
6. Offer Virtual Online Open Enrollment Meetings
You should consider going virtual. Virtual Open Enrollment Meetings allow everyone to attend- including spouses and partners. Everyone will be able to hear the information presented and they can be closed caption which is more inclusive for those with disabilities. At the conclusion of the meeting, make sure employees have an accessible web link they can review where all benefit information is stored.
The Difference Card uses OneMob to create “Open Enrollment Microsites” for each client that stores the recording, along with slides, handouts, forms and other information that is easily accessible for each employee and their spouse or dependents.
7. Be Sure to Highlight Major Benefits Changes
When it comes to informing your employees of their benefits it’s important to remember not to overload them with information. Your employees can only absorb so much information and overloading them can have adverse effects.
Instead, try to highlight the additions and changes from the previous year. Employees will absorb the most at the beginning of your presentation so be sure to include these changes at the beginning. Any benefits that aren’t changing from the previous year you should highlighted but only briefly talk about it. Instead, create a document that reiterates the major benefit changes you went over in your presentation and what isn’t changing. This will ensure you have covered your bases and will set your workforce up for success.
8. Create Quickly Digestible Open Enrollment Communications
Create bite-sized, image-based blasts of information that can be easily emailed or posted in company communication channels like Slack or Teams. You can utilize free tools like Canva to create professional images that briefly highlight your open enrollment process. Keep it concise and easily scannable.
9. Protect Yourself as a Benefit Administrator
Don’t neglect your plan documents. Be sure to send the Benefit Summaries and Summary Plan Documents. Fines for missing a plan document requirement can be $100 a day per participant. If you need help producing a plan document, most administrators like The Difference Card will help clients prepare plan documents for free. Benefit administrators are typically happy to help employers that are not a client.
10. Design a multi-year benefit strategy that can last
Employers can create rich benefit health plan designs that reduce employee out-of-pocket costs while saving money on health insurance. Through adoption of The Difference Card solution, and a strategic review of the benefits, employers can reduce premiums and improve benefits for employees. The Difference Card can even guarantee those savings with The Difference Guarantee Solution