Let’s Rock and Enroll
by Telandria Boyd- Johnson
Healthcare Open Enrollment can cause trepidation for both employers and employees alike. What’s the right mix of benefits to offer? How do I minimize cost and still provide value to my employees? Employees wonder what the right choices are for them and their loved ones. Some employees end up regretting their decisions. What’s an employer to do?
There is no need to dread this time of the year. Help your employees (and possibly yourself) learn to love their health care again. Here are five tips for a smooth 2018 open enrollment.
- Review your Options
Start with a review of your current benefits offering and decide if you need to change, add or lose plans, based on your current needs. Examine the data on your plans’ claims and utilization. The ideal time to start this process is in the summer, however; it is not too late to have a good open enrollment period if you begin in the early fall.
2. Choose your Approach to Enrollment
Many employers opt to have a “passive” approach to enrollment, where the employee “roll over” their selections from the prior year. While this approach is easier on employer and employee alike, you miss the opportunity engage your employees and to help them make the best choices.
An “active” enrollment strategy that requires employees to select the health care and other benefits they want is the best way to engage employees. It encourages the employee to reassess whether they are making the best choices for their family. Many times employees are on autopilot when it comes to benefits selections and keep benefits that no longer fit their life circumstances.
Employers who use an active enrollment strategy are better able to educate and drive employees to more cost-effective coverage, such as high-deductible health plans. It can also build employee loyalty when employers highlight the competitiveness of their benefits packages.
3. Educate your Employees
According to the 2017 ALEX Benefits Communication Survey conducted by Harris Poll
- “55% of employees whose companies offer health insurance say they would like help from their employer when choosing a health plan.
- 36% say the open enrollment process at their company is extremely confusing.”
You have an opportunity to educate and assist your employees with a decision some find stressful. Not only does this assistance build trust and loyalty with your employees, but you can also make employees aware of features that can save them and you money, such as telehealth offerings. Also make benefits education a year-round, ongoing process. Employees are inundated with information during open enrollment; highlight plan features throughout the year.
If manpower is an issue, consider contracting with a benefits consultant firm to provide education and answer questions.
4. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
The linchpin to a successful open enrollment is to communicate the process and benefit options to your employees effectively. Use multiple channels – electronic, print and face-to-face – to communicate about the plans. Consider hosting a benefits fair where representatives from the various benefits options are there to share information and answer questions. Including some health screenings, healthy activities and healthy meals demonstrations and giveaways are some ways to attract employees to the event.
5. Start Planning for Next Year
Once you have successfully completed your 2018 Healthcare Open Enrollment, debrief and start planning for next year. Examine the whole process from top to bottom. Consider conducting an employee survey or use focus groups to access the impact of your options.
There you have it five tips to help your open enrollment run smoothly. HR Knowledge Source is happy to help if you need assistance with any or all of these areas. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org