Our 8 planning tips for a successful open enrollment

It’s easy to make open enrollment a “rinse and repeat” event from year to year. Are you ready to take a fresh look? Here are a few tips:

1. Start early.

Once you’ve finalized your plans and benefits, begin educating employees before your open enrollment begins. Highlight any changes since last year, their share of costs, and what happens if they take no action. Be clear on dates and deadlines.

2. Tailor communication to your workforce demographics.

This is especially important if you have a diverse workforce. Employees’ needs and interests can vary with their life stages.1 A millennial, for example, has a different perspective on health insurance than a baby boomer. What about family members? Spouses are often decision makers. Consider reaching out to them to help boost engagement. Is language translation needed for employees or family members?

3. Communicate in the ways that make sense for your workforce.

Build a strategy around the best ways to reach all members of your workforce. Use the communications that work best for your workforce: meetings, lunch-and-learns, email, intranet articles, lunchroom posters, information mailed to homes. Text messages and social media campaigns could also play a role in your communications plan.

4. Ask for help.

Look to your health insurance carrier for health plan materials and education. Ask what they’ll do to help your employees after open enrollment, too. Your broker may also provide administrative support. And don’t overlook your own employees: peer-to-peer education can be highly effective.

5. Follow regulations.

Make sure you stay in compliance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Affordable Care Act by filing annual information returns with the IRS and providing required notices to your employees. Those include a summary plan description, summary of benefits and coverage and uniform glossary.2

6. Maintain momentum.

Once the new plan year starts, will your employees know how to use their benefits and get questions answered? Keep communicating as you did during open enrollment. This will help your employees get the most value from their benefits.

7. Start planning for next year.

Ask for employee feedback right after open enrollment. And ask your broker for a post-enrollment appointment to get their perspective. Then, consider your organization’s goals and adjust your offerings and employee education accordingly. After all, a successful benefits program benefits you, too, paying dividends in productive, loyal employees.

8. Turn to ConnectiCare.

ConnectiCare can help you plan and carry out a successful open enrollment.  In fact, we provide a level of service that kept 90% of our large group members with us in 2018.3 Learn more about how ConnectiCare meets the unique needs of employers.

 Sources:

1. Kerekes, Laura. “8 Best Practices for Open Enrollment Communications.” SHRM. 29 October 2015
2. Rook, David. “Stay Compliant: Notices to Include in Your Annual Employee Benefits Open Enrollment Materials.” 7 September 2016.
3. ConnectiCare internal analysis of large employer groups (fully insured groups with 100+ lives and ASO groups) that renewed their ConnectiCare health plan Jan – Jul 2018.