Since most companies have calendar-year benefits that start January 1st, November and December are the most common months for open enrollment.
No matter when open enrollment activities take place, it’s important for employers to be prepared – otherwise, you can’t provide your employees the best possible coverage options for 2020. With healthcare costs and transparency a top concern among consumers, it’s more important than ever to create an informative, thorough experience for employees. With the help of an expert broker and the right tools, employers can utilize this checklist to make this year’s open enrollment the best one yet.
Refresh on the latest legislation. Health insurance regulations have changed a lot recently, with more changes expected to come through the upcoming year. For example, the Health Savings Account Expansion Act of 2019 proposes increases to the annual contribution limits for HSAs, qualification of over-the-counter medication, and qualification of primary care expenses. Knowing these updates can help you communicate the importance of HSAs and other benefits to your employees.
Schedule meetings with your broker or adviser. If there is anything you have questions about, or just want to make sure you have everything in order, schedule an appointment with your broker ahead of the open enrollment period. They are often likely to know about regulation changes, benefits that are gaining or losing popularity, and other industry updates before you would. They can also help you strategize and build plans that make the most sense for your business.
Determine plans, voluntary benefits, and contribution schedules. Once you’ve gotten a good handle on what is going on in the benefits space, it’s time to apply what you’ve discovered to your employees. Determine which basic plans you are going to provide, which voluntary benefits you are going to offer, and what contribution schedule you are going to work with. This is a great time to survey employees to see what they are looking for in a benefits package and how you can best assist them during enrollment.
Distribute materials. Once plan materials are developed, distribute them to your employees as soon as possible, to give them plenty of time to review and ask questions. In this case, the earlier you can distribute any information, the better. A great tool for communicating open enrollment materials is through an online portal or software platform. You can send push notifications every time a document is added, and all communication can be stored in one easily accessible place.
Streamline enrollment processes. Once everything is prepared and ready to go for open enrollment, take a look at the actual enrollment process to make sure it is as streamlined as possible. If your organization hasn’t already done so, this is a great opportunity to utilize a benefits administration software platform that has decision support tools to guide users through the open enrollment process, helping them select the best plans for them. It also makes resources, support, and helpful documents readily available for users at any time, on their desktop or mobile devices.
Open enrollment can seem like a daunting task for employers and human resource professionals. But with some preparation and the right tools, it can be the most successful time of the year.