Open Enrollment for HR
Open Enrollment can be a stressful time of year, but being prepared can help eliminate stress. To have a successful open enrollment period for your employees, make sure appropriate preparations are handled prior to the start of meetings, that you are ready during the actual meetings and the open enrollment period, then have a plan for a seamless post enrollment period. Planning ahead will allow you to have all information needed to give to employees along with anticipating questions and preparing communications to answer those questions. Working with your broker will help this process.
The Pre-Enrollment Period
During the renewal process, your broker is working with carriers on plan designs, offerings, and rates. This is the time to have in-depth discussions with your broker regarding your current benefits and any you may want to eliminate or add. Once your benefit offerings are determined, make sure you understand any new healthcare reform legislation and how your selected benefits may be affected. Whether your open enrollment is completed via paperwork or online, ensuring to have all communications accessible to all employees will be a key proponent. The next step will be setting up meetings for your employees with various days and times (depending on the number of employees you have).
The Open Enrollment Period
It is important that the employees are made aware of the open enrollment deadline during the meetings and also to stress that this is the only time benefit elections can be changed, added or dropped unless if there is a qualifying life event. Employees should take this opportunity to go over their personal information and make any updates, if necessary, along with reviewing their beneficiaries. Make sure someone is available to employees throughout the open enrollment period to answer any questions, address any concerns and explain further any of the benefit offerings. Sending reminders to employees will give better enrollment numbers and also let them know what will happen if they do not participate in an active enrollment. Will they be automatically enrolled into the same benefits as the prior year? Will they be dropped from all benefits? Will they be placed into certain plans? Employees should reminded of the procedure so there are no surprises at the close of open enrollment. Having an online system for benefit enrollment can help eliminate some of the issues such as an employee forgetting when enrollment ends or which plans are being offered and they can make elections from home with their spouse. They will also have access to plan and company documents available to view any time.
The Post Enrollment Period
Once open enrollment is complete, now the task of reviewing everyone's elections is necessary in order to send to the carriers and enroll employees into their selected plans. When using an online system, you can easily pull reports for enrollments and send the information to the carriers. If using a new carrier or adding a new benefit, and it will require ID cards in which you want to be proactive and make sure employees receive those cards. Also, get feedback from employees regarding the benefits and the communications. Did the employees seem happy with what benefits were offered and understand the communications that went along with each one? This information will give you a great head start for next year's enrollment period.
Tips From Our Brokers
Open enrollment can be a learning curve, but TJS is here to assist as much as possible. Using an online benefits system will not only make the process easier for your employees, but it will save you time before, during and after the enrollment period. If you are having employees complete paper enrollments, handing out pricing at the end of the open enrollment meeting is recommended, especially if you are offering new benefits. This will allow the employees to focus on the new benefits and understand those without having the pricing in the front of their mind. Also, we highly encourage our clients to have a "negative enrollment" system in place. This means that if an employee does not actively complete paperwork or enroll online, and fail to make any action, they will be enrolled in specific plans predetermined by you and the broker.
Do you have any questions or input? Please comment below or email us here. Please feel free to also reach out to us to learn more about our online benefits system.
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