Open Enrollment Checklist
For those on the forefront of the benefits landscape, the first of November marks the beginning of another open enrollment season. As many of you know, this is the time for employees to enroll in the health insurance options provided to them by their employers. Hopefully during this time, several key attributes come together to create a seamless and beneficial enrollment period for all involved. To kick off the beginning of open enrollment, we’ve provided a checklist below that covers a few tips to ease the administrative burden from this process.
Did you know only 18 percent of employers feel their benefits communications are extremely effective? Raise those statistics by keeping a clear line of open communication. In the pre-enrollment meetings, ask questions to access your client’s broader business objectives and strategic goals for 2019. Inquire about what human capital initiatives the company has in place or what ideas they would like to offer to meet their goals. When providing a benefits package, match these goals to the culture of the company. For example, if a company wants to promote mental health among its employees, provide plans that conveniently offer those services.
Understand the employee population.
It’s important to offer and recommend benefits that reflect the company as well as meet the needs of the employee population. If a group’s population is older, consider providing health plans that allow higher utilization and better coverage. In a recent study, 94 percent of near-retirees (employees in the last five years of employment) stated that having adequate health insurance was their top priority, while 92 percent of the entering workforce employees (those in the first five years of their employment) said that making ends meet was their top concern. A strong understanding of an employer’s population allows a company to meet their maximum return on investment.
You are trusted by your clients for your professional expertise and proficiency in the benefits world. Consider showcasing your skills with benchmark data and analytics, or provide exceptional customer service by offering set-up, connection, and optimization support. There’s no universal benefits solution that meets the needs of all employers – individuality is a must. As employees continue to delay retirement further, companies have a variety of generations in their demographics. Keep this in mind as you create a package that is rooted in the employer’s company values. Plan for the long-term with both the employee demographics and business goals in mind.
Technology holds the key to a smooth enrollment process, an empowered HR department and happily informed employees. Use a system that is cohesive and integrated, allowing access to the platform for everyone involved. In a survey, 56 percent of employers said they consult with their broker several times (or more) each year about technology platforms for enrollment, administration, compliance and other tasks. When consulting, make sure to keep the lines of communication open concerning expectations, processes and updates. In 2017, only 52 percent of employees said they understood their health benefits, which was down from the previous year. Leveraging technology can provide an authentic and customizable employee experience, increasing the possibility of understanding and usage.
Come prepared with forms and materials.
This one sounds intuitive, but an unprepared broker equates to a slow processing of employee benefits. Keep your clients smiling by preparing your group set-up documents, employee acknowledgement-of-benefits form and any additional authorization forms before their enrollment day. Proper completion of these forms, including your group census, will provide the smoothest enrollment possible. Don’t forget to bring your educational marketing materials as well. Benefits education is the most important aspect to increase employee engagement. A study from earlier this year concluded that 83 percent of surveyed employees stated health insurance benefits are very or extremely important in deciding whether to stay with an employer or change jobs. By providing an educational enrollment, you not only help your clients increase employee retention but you also increase your value and credibility as well.
Although open enrollment is a busy and chaotic season, it should be an exciting time for you, your clients and their employees. This is the opportunity for you to present the comprehensive benefits package that meets your client’s needs and business objectives to their employees. It’s your opportunity to share your knowledge through consulting services and provide an exceptional service to your clients. With a combination of these features, you’re destined to have a successful and profitable open enrollment – good luck!