12 tips for an efficient Open Enrollment

It’s that season. Open Enrollment season. Here are 12 tips to help you get through this year’s process.

1) Hold benefit meetings

A lot of employees don’t fully understand their benefits until it is too late. Take time during the Open Enrollment process for informational meetings and webinars. This can help employees enroll into plans that best fit their lifestyle.

2) Create “office hours”

Designate times employees can go to Human Resources and ask questions. This helps with time-management on the administrator’s side, but also implies there will be questions which will encourage employees to ask.

3) Send emails

Create jargon-free informative emails. Keep them succinct and direct to help avoid ambiguity.

4) “Trickle” information

Too much information can be overwhelming and confusing. Create a strategy that gradually distributes plan information. Whether it’s scheduling out emails for different topics (Monday features medical plans, Tuesday is vision, etc) or scheduling several highlight meetings for the more complex plans.

5) Emphasize benefit changes

If any plans are changing, or you’re adding new services like an FSA, emphasize these changes in meetings and emails.

6) Encourage prior year review

Encourage your employees to review their prior year’s coverage. Did they utilize all the benefits from their prior plan? How often did they go to the doctors? How much did they spend on prescriptions? Did their dependents need more or less coverage?

Going through this practice can help prevent them from overpaying or underpaying on medical premiums.

7) Consider life changes

Tell your employees to consider any upcoming life changes. Is there going to be an addition to the family? Are current dependents going to age-out or find coverage elsewhere?

8) Give an early deadline

Give your employees a deadline much earlier than the carrier deadline. This way you’ll have sufficient time to make corrections or help those who need “last minute” assistance.

9) Utilize online tools

HRIS systems make it easy for employees to enroll themselves – saving administrative time and data entry. Employees enter their portal and can elect plans and coverage levels from one system without an abundance of paper forms and spreadsheets.

These programs also help guide them through the process and can help prevent errors or missed sections.

10) Remember your COBRA participants

They should receive all the same information and plan options as your active employees. If you have a COBRA administrator, be sure they are aware of the new rates and plans prior to your Open Enrollment start date.

11) Create an after- action review

Make note on what worked and what didn’t work once the entire process is over. Request employees fill out anonymous surveys to help improve Open Enrollment for the next year.

12) Take a break

The Open Enrollment process has many components, and it’s easy to get caught up in piles of paperwork. Whether it’s a quick walk, a fancy cup of coffee, or just getting up for a stretch, remember to take some time to recharge.



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