Eliminate Your Open Enrollment Stress
It’s time for benefits Open Enrollment. Typically, not the most exciting time of the year for HR. It can be the most frustrating, the most time-consuming, and the most stressful for your employees. Employers must navigate rising health care costs, aggressive high inflation, hybrid work arrangements, and high employee expectations. This year has additional challenges with Humana exiting the employer group medical coverage business; many companies who have had passive enrollments for years are now having to actively find new providers and educate employees on new plans. For employers in our great state of Kentucky, this is especially complicated as Baptist Medical Health Group is no longer accepting some patients though Humana as they have not come to an agreement on a new contract (note: this does not include Baptist Hospitals, which Humana members can still use.)
How do you make it easier? More efficient? A better experience for your employees? Here are our thoughts:
1) Don’t keep doing what you’ve always done.
Open enrollments now need to be flexible and innovative. You have to ensure you are communicating all the options to employees in language they understand, and that they have a way of sharing this information with their families in order to make good decisions. Consider how you meet the needs of both onsite and remote employees and look at app-based health care support that can supplement your plans.
2) Know what your employees want.
Do they want basic coverage, or do they want plans that include wellness incentives? Do they want to be able to self-manage more of their care through online apps that let them reach providers remotely, or will they mainly want access to local in person providers? Consider sending out a survey well in advance of enrollment to get a better idea of what is important to your employees.
3) Put a priority on communication.
These are big decisions for your organization, and big decisions for your employees. It’s critical that communication is clear, thorough, and easy to understand. Embrace technology that’s available to streamline enrollments, but don’t forgo meetings with employees to explain their options and answer questions. Also, since many employees are weighing the option between their plan or their spouse’s, make sure that all the information is accessible in a way that they can share it with their spouse for review.
4) Let your partners do the heavy lifting.
Your brokers, carriers, and vendors should be providing the bulk of the communication and collateral for you to provide to your employees, as well as taking the lead on the open enrollment process to make it less stressful for everyone.
5) Take advantage of the information exchange.
Since you are already collecting data, this is a great time to update any other data you need from employees, as well as provide any additional notices you need to give to them. Use Open Enrollment as a time to provide all required annual health care notices and use it to make sure you have up to date and accurate data on everyone.
Within all of these steps, there are a lot of additional little steps. You must prepare censuses, evaluate metrics, compare budgets, and review new plan options and how they impact the organizational budgets and the employee’s contributions. You have to prepare all the critical communications outlined above, identify the online resources, and plan the meetings. This is why it’s so important to start planning early and develop a benefits strategy. You may also find that you need some additional help during this time. Even with a great broker, the process can be challenging. If you don’t have a great broker, it puts more of the responsibility on you, which is an exceptional challenge.
So , don’t be afraid to ask for help. HR Affiliates has years of experience in benefit administration and navigating open enrollments. We can help ease the burden and make the Open Enrollment process a piece of cake. We work closely with many brokers to ensure your business and employees’ needs are being met.
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