It’s Time for Open Enrollment: Is Your Business Prepared?

The summer months are coming to an end, which means it is time for cooler weather, fall leaves and one of the most important times for employers: re-enrolling employees in benefits.

Employee benefits continue to play a strong role in helping employers recruit and maintain quality talent, and are an important priority for employers preparing for the coming year. Many benefit plans are effective January 1, with open enrollment periods lasting between two to four weeks in the preceding fourth quarter. We at Creative Benefit Solutions realize this process can be difficult for many employers and are here to help.

When planning for open enrollment, consider these tips to stay on top of your game:

  1. Plan ahead so that you do not miss anything. Finalize optimal benefit plan design and carrier selections before scheduling open enrollment dates. Determine the preferred enrollment method to best communicate plan changes to employees and minimize administrative burdens to those responsible for disseminating information. Inform and consistently remind your employees of the impending enrollment period as early as possible – consider including reminders on your company’s intranet or internal newsletter.
  1. Reevaluate existing benefit plans to make sure that they are the best fit for your employees’ current needs. Benefits are always in flux, and strong plans should match your company’s benefits objective and be tailored to the demographics of your workforce. Make sure you have a strong outside consulting agency working as your benefits partner to help you determine the benefit packages that best support both your employees and your budget.
  1. Set clear deadlines that your employees can easily understand and follow. The open enrollment period does not last very long; therefore, it is crucial that employees understand the expected deadlines for paperwork and form submission. Make sure your deadlines do not conflict with ongoing business operations or holidays, and give plenty of notice to employees about when certain steps in the enrollment process must be completed.
  1. Communicate with employees as clearly as possible, ensuring they fully understand the benefits being offered and the steps that must be taken for enrollment. 55 percent of employees with jobs that provide health insurance say they would like help from human resources and operations personnel in determining their health plan, yet 20 percent do not keep up with meetings and materials related to explaining benefits. Taking the extra steps needed to ensure that your employees understand the enrollment process will help prevent miscommunication.
  1. Provide incentives to prevent missed deadlines. Hosting an internal competition that awards members who complete paperwork by a certain date is a fun, engaging way in which you can make the enrollment process less stressful for everyone. This process can be as simple as giving gift cards to those that participate, or awarding a half-day off from work for the first three people to complete and turn in their forms.
  1. Stay organized so nothing falls through the cracks. The enrollment process requires a lot of email correspondence, internal meetings, form submission and paperwork documentation. Creating a specific category within your work calendar can help you stay on top of things from a human resources/operations standpoint. If you are organized, the chances are your employees will be too.

Open enrollment is a busy time for employers, but it does not have to be an overwhelming endeavor. Our team at Creative Benefit Solutions will work with your business to develop the best approach to pre-enrollment, helping you create the optimal benefits model for your employees and developing educational communication pieces to explain the process. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help get you and your employees through open enrollment to ensure smooth sailing into the new year.