The annual open enrollment period for a company’s employee benefits program can certainly be a positive and rewarding experience for an organization and its employees. However, it also has the potential to significantly increase stress levels and the workload for a Human Resources department.
To help your company achieve its goals at Open Enrollment, here are five tips that you may find useful:
- Plan Your Communication Needs Ahead of Time: Create a communication schedule that can guide your efforts throughout the open enrollment process. This may include scheduling when emails will be sent, when webinars and onsite meetings will be held, when posters will be hung, when the intranet/online benefits portal will be updated, and more. This approach may enable your team to create a number of materials ahead of time, and it will also help ensure that employees have a variety of ways to learn about their benefit plan options.
- Identify Key Talking Points and a Theme Regarding Your Benefits Program: To prevent confusion among employees, it’s important that all applicable stakeholders (including senior management and managers from other departments) understand the key points and overall theme regarding your benefits program before open enrollment starts. This may include carrier and rate changes (including the reasons why), new benefits, deadlines, and more. Also, by selecting a theme — and by encouraging other departments to help support it — you’ll be able to help create a new level of excitement around the benefits program while also reinforcing the company’s culture and values.
- Review the Impact of the ACA: While much of the recent discussion around the Affordable Care Act has dealt with employer reporting requirements (Form 1094-C and Form 1095-C), employers must also ensure that they are meeting other requirements from the “Pay or Play” rules. This may include using methods for determining whether an employee has sufficient hours of service to be considered full-time (and thus eligible for health benefits), as well as reviewing the eligibility requirements for particular benefits.
- Ensure That You Are Meeting Notice Requirements: Thanks to online and mobile technology, employee benefits communication certainly has the ability to be dynamic and exciting. However, there are other activities employers must do that may not create a buzz, but may still help employees to understand their options. This means that employers ensure that all required notices are distributed, including Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) documents, Summary Plan Descriptions (SPD), a HIPAA Notice, and more.
- Be Prepared to Track Employee Questions and Feedback: Throughout the Open Enrollment process, take the time to maintain records of employee questions, comments and concerns, preferred communication methods, trends in employees’ selections, and more. While you may be able to act on some of this information in real-time, this level of detail will help you better serve employees in the years to come.
Of course, these are just a few of the areas that may play a critical role in the success of your company’s next Open Enrollment period. To learn how CBG Benefits can help your organization achieve its goals, please give us a call at 781-759-1222 or send an email to info@CBGBenefits.com.