By: Lisa Smith on October 9th, 2017

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4 Tips to Help You Best Prepare for Open Enrollment

Benefits | Best Practices

Fall is here and this is the time of year that some employers dread…Open Enrollment season. It’s never too early to prepare for open enrollment and engage your employees to make health care choices for the following plan year. Being overwhelmed during the process is inevitable, but there are ways to make sure things go smoothly.

Top 4 Open Enrollment Tips

  1. The key is to start the process early. Depending on the size of the company and complexity of the benefits, planning can range from a few weeks to a few months in advance. Key players, including the broker representative, senior human resources, and finance leadership should have a pre-open enrollment meeting, typically during the late summer months.  The meeting should discuss upcoming changes, trends and decide what options are best for the company from an employee satisfaction and financial perspective.
  2. Examine lessons learned from previous open enrollments. What went well? What could be done to remedy past issues? By evaluating past processes, it will better help you prepare for future open enrollments.
  3. Revisit the company’s benefits philosophy. Has the culture changed and want to incorporate wellness or increase participation in a plan option? Or change the cost-sharing methodology? Defining your company’s objectives in the early stages will help improve the process during open enrollment.
  4. Get feedback from employees. For employees to make the best decision on their healthcare, employers must be able to offer appropriate plan options. The best way to truly find out what employees are looking for in an ideal benefits package is to ask them! Some companies conduct a benefits survey or host a town hall prior to open enrollment to gauge employee satisfaction and consider making changes based on the feedback.

Pros and Cons of Active Vs. Passive Open Enrollment Strategies

Based on your benefits decisions and the projected launch of the enrollment, you will need to consider an “active” enrollment, “passive” enrollment or a combination of both. There are pros and cons with either enrollment strategy.

Active Benefits Enrollment

With an active enrollment, each employee is asked to review their benefit plans and make changes as required. During an active enrollment, it will engage employees by having them reassess their benefit options and as a result, may increase satisfaction to the company.  On the other hand, this approach will require more work and communication to ensure everyone has enrolled.

Passive Benefits Enrollment

A passive enrollment allows employees to continue with their current benefit plans for the following plan year. A passive enrollment will save time with maximum ease and efficiency; however, this approach may not be a wise choice if you have an employee population that had life events during the year.

With either approach, you should consult your broker representative and HRIS provider for a solid plan to ensure open enrollment goes smoothly as possible. Here’s to a successful Open Enrollment season!