How Employers Can Take Advantage of Open Enrollment Season

During this time of the year, the media creates a constant buzz around health care reform and the threat of rising health care premiums. This seasonal attention, gives employers the opportunity to take advantage of open enrollment season to educate their employees on health care to assure they are enrolled in the right plan.

Below are a few tips on how to educate and promote your health care plans to your
workforce this enrollment season.

Address Insurance Benefit & Premium Changes

Do not try to sugar coat cost sharing. Although employes may not like hearing that they are going to have to pay more for insurance, tell them the exact amount costs are going up and explain why. This builds a trusting relationship and employees will appreciate the honesty.

Add Voluntary Benefits

If your list of employer-paid benefits is decreasing, try and compensate by adding voluntary benefits. This can include everything from pet insurance to gym memberships. Although employees will still have to pay the premium, the company can often negotiate lower group fees.

Vary Communication Techniques

Use multiple mediums to communicate employee benefits, plan details and deadline reminders. Communication efforts should include staff meetings, take-home packets and emails. Companies should also get creative - using social media, YouTube videos, chat rooms and discussion boards to share the information allows employees to interact over various platforms. Some of the most important information to effectively communicate is change - change to their existing plans, change to the current health care law, change of deadlines, etc.

Streamline Your Benefit Enrollment Process

Enrollment should always be an easy process. Many times this means providing convenient online enrollment by having an available computer in the lobby or break room as a reminder to employees they can enroll right there.

Educate Your Employees

Educating your employees will also help limit passive enrollment. According to Highroads consulting firm, 71% of organizations automatically renew last year’s plans, except flexible spending accounts, for employees who don’t take any action during open enrollment.  This leads to employees with coverage that does not meet their needs because they are uninformed. Many employees also end up paying higher costs than necessary for their plans.

Communicate Early & Often

The easiest way to keep all of your employees informed is to start early and to update often. If you allow for a long lead time, you stay organized and will be prepared upon open enrollment season.

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HR Systems Manager Jo Siegienski, Quadion LLC

Solid Software / Great Vendor