Helping Clients Navigate Open Enrollment

Helping Clients Navigate Open Enrollment

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, it completely changed the game of health insurance. Open enrollment season became more complex than ever before. The ACA, along with other more recent health care reform has created more and more uncertainty around every open enrollment season—will the law change again? 


This question creates complex challenges for brokers every year. And what’s more, according to the ADP Midsized Business Owners Study, only 25% of surveyed employers felt “completely confident that their organizations understand all of the new ACA regulations.” But you can help educate your clients by preparing yourself and guiding them through open enrollment with thorough checklists and communication. Here are some tips for effectively helping clients navigate open enrollment:


Plan Ahead

Stay on top of policy and regulation changes, even if they are far off in the future. It’s never too early to start discussing them with clients and preparing for what they might mean for benefits selection in the future.


Share newsletters, articles, and other educational resources from industry groups to motivate clients to stay educated throughout the year. You can also help your clients assess their accounting and documentation way ahead of time as well, rather than waiting until the last minute and possibly encountering issues.


Make Education a Priority

Brokers know how important client education is, but with a rapidly changing legislative landscape, it’s equally important to keep yourself educated as well. With your already overwhelming workload, continuing education may require extra work during non-business hours.


Recommend Help—When Needed

It’s crucial to know which areas you may not be able to help clients. Coordinate with your clients’ CPAs and other industry professionals to solve any problems you may not have the proper knowledge to tackle alone. Be aware of what is not within your purview and don’t hesitate to recommend other professional help when necessary.


Create a Checklist

Ensure your clients are compliant by making a thorough checklist of requirements and deadlines, and checking things off as you go. Remember to document all imperative details (like the number of employees) and use your list throughout the year to keep track of compliance requirements. Then, after open enrollment closes, you can revisit your checklist and alter it to be even more effective for the following year.


If a client refuses to follow your professional advice, ensure they sign a release stating that you properly advised them of what they needed to do to be compliant and that they chose to go in a different direction.


Use a Single Connected Database

With all of the complex requirements surrounding healthcare, employers have to provide data related to human resources, payroll, health care benefits, and leave of absence. In past years, brokers had to be knowledgeable about various different systems that their clients were using to collect and store employee census data.


Now, in order to avoid duplicate information and human error, brokers should work with trusted partners to find a single integrated platform to streamline processes.


Using all the resources you have at your disposal to streamline processes, ensuring your clients are thoroughly educated, and preparing yourself and your clients for any possible policy or regulation changes will all help you and your clients navigate open enrollment season seamlessly. No matter what changes are in store for next open enrollment season, these tips will help you prepare and stay on track throughout the year.


For more information on how to provide the best possible service to your clients during open enrollment and beyond, visit our brokers’ page.