Open Enrollment is always a hectic time for HR teams, and may be even more so with a displaced workforce this year. In an earlier post, we shared how to make it easier for employees to choose benefits using AI-powered benefits technology and hosted a webinar on overcoming open enrollment challenges during COVID-19. In this piece we are focusing on what not to forget this year to ensure a smooth open enrollment for all.
Don't forget to update your benefits + survey your team
As open enrollment approaches, benefits must align with the current climate. Employees will be looking for carriers with benefits plans that address the many areas of their lives impacted by COVID. This coming year, there may be a heightened need for telemedicine and mental health services, and fewer in-person benefits such as gym memberships. Be sure to review all of your benefits carefully and survey your employees to get their input on any changes.
Don't forget to review benefits utilization + concerns from prior year
Is there a benefit that had a low adoption rate? Or a benefit that employees had a particularly hard time with? This is a time to address these concerns with your team and benefits provider and consider making a switch if issues can't be worked out.
Don't forget to offer a variety of enrollment information sessions
Your team may not be able to huddle in the conference room for a Open Enrollment session this year, so plan to offer a variety of information sessions - one-on-one virtual office hours, group sessions, and recorded sessions that employees can listen to at their leisure.
Don't forget to keep things simple
If employees don’t understand their benefits, chances are, they won't use them. Survey your employees to understand which benefits, if any, cause confusion, and offer them easy to understand videos, infographics, and other supporting documents. These materials coupled with virtual support will give employees an easier way to digest the information to make the best choices for the upcoming year.
Don't forget to check timelines
Last years' guest post from Alice Hinton does an awesome job covering Open Enrollment timelines. As far as the EverythingBenefits timeline, please submit Open Enrollment dates to us at least 30 days ahead of your Open Enrollment start dates. Even if the plans and carriers remain the same, there's work to be done to ensure files are sent to carriers correctly, plan rate changes are made, enrollment changes are monitored appropriately, and minor details like plan year are updated properly. Also important not to lose sight of any active COBRA members you may have - they will have to go through Open Enrollment as well. Open Enrollment information should be sent to EverythingBenefits for all appropriate services as soon as you have the information.
Don't forget to make open enrollment easy for employees
Paper forms will be particularly challenging this year with a displaced workforce. Consider upgrading your systems to digital enrollment to make it easier for employees to enroll from anywhere. This will also help eliminate document loss and any errors, while making your life much easier!
Don't forget to make your job easier too!
Are there any processes that take up a lot of time or cause you grief, for instance ACA reporting or benefits reconciliation? While you're taking care of your teams' needs, don't forget to take care of your needs as well. Automated technologies can help you in all areas of benefits management - from enrollment to carrier communications - as well as reduce your organizations' compliance risks and help you focus on what really matters.
There's still time to prep for a smoother open enrollment season. Reach out to our team to schedule a demo of our solutions!