As companies embark on the process of preparing their employees’ open enrollment period for 2023, HR professionals need to ensure that they are communicating properly with employees and explaining the value of their benefits offerings.
During open enrollment, employees can choose among benefit options available through their employer, such as health, life and dental insurance, as well as other benefits that may be offered. It is also a time when they can change their benefits if they wish to take a different approach than the previous year.
Some of these benefits may be paid for fully by the employer, while others share the cost or are paid by the employee through salary deferral. The open enrollment period normally lasts a few weeks, so it is important to make sure that communications are clear and accurate so employees can make a thoughtful and informed decision by the deadline.
Here is a checklist to help companies prepare for open enrollment.
Before open enrollment begins:
- Reflect on last year’s open enrollment period and consider its successes and failures in order to devise a strategy to avoid repeating any previous mistakes.
- Survey your employees to find out which types of benefits they would like to see offered and which ones do not interest them.
- Talk to your benefits broker about the effectiveness of the insurance plans your business is currently using and find ways to reduce costs and increase participation.
- Decide on the benefits you will offer. In addition to standard offerings such as medical, life, vision and dental insurance, many modern companies are offering wellness programs, health savings accounts and flexible working hours as employee perks.
- Find out about any legislative changes that will impact your benefits packages and make the necessary adjustments.
- Create a dedicated list of any new enhancements to your offerings so that they can be communicated to participants. Be sure to include new perks as well as any cost saving opportunities.
- Collect the information that your employees will need for the open enrollment, including schedules, rates, forms, plan summaries and informational resources such as FAQs.
- Notify employees one month in advance of your open enrollment dates so they can begin to prepare.
- Set up technological tools, such as online benefits platforms, that will make it easier for employees to access their benefits, make changes and learn more about them. You may also want to set up social media or texting programs to keep employees apprised of important deadlines and send periodic reminders.
During open enrollment:
- Provide employees with benefits materials as early in the period as possible so they have sufficient time to review the information.
- Communicate to employees how they can get any questions addressed about the plans they have. Consider offering one-on-one appointments during which they can get answers to specific questions they may have and how the benefits relate to their unique circumstances.
- Provide employees with very clear instructions about how to enroll in the programs of their choice.
- Send additional reminders as the open enrollment deadline approaches to ensure everyone sends their forms in on time.
After open enrollment:
- Review employees’ enrollment forms to verify they have been completed thoroughly and accurately.
- Confirm that you are in compliance with any relevant benefits laws.
- Update your payroll and human resources systems to reflect any benefits changes.
- Provide insurance carriers with your employees’ enrollment data.
- Provide your employees with information about who they should contact if they have additional questions after enrolling.
Here are links to some resources that can be valuable to your business and employees during the open enrollment period.
For employees without a background in HR, many of the terms that are used to discuss benefits are difficult to understand. SHRM created this useful glossary that explains many of the benefit terms encountered during open enrollment, such as “formulary” and “health reimbursement arrangements”, in a way that is easy for employees to understand. At the end of the list, there is a link to download a PDF of the glossary as well.
Determining the right amount of life insurance to obtain can be challenging, and open enrollment periods are full of many other decisions that also must be made, leaving little time for a deeper dive. This resource from SHRM helps employees narrow it down by posing some important questions about their families and financial situations. It provides a rundown of average funeral costs and other financial considerations that can arise when someone passes away.
This useful chart lists all of the plan limits and thresholds applicable in 2023 for 401(k) plans, health and dependent care flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and transit benefits, among others.
This list of 10 questions guides employees toward important considerations when choosing their coverage options for the coming year. Employers should ensure that the information they provide their employees about open enrollment addresses these concerns. Alternatively, they can share the list with employees to help them make sure they are weighing useful factors in making their decisions, such as any changes in prescription drug coverage and the status of health coverage for working spouses or children.
Employers who are making high-deductible plans an option for their employees this year will find tips in this guide for explaining how this approach works to their employees. It is particularly useful for those that will be making HDHPs the sole choice as it can help a company explain to employees how it may save them money.
Schedule an Appointment with the Premier Business Benefits Consultants at Business Benefits Group (BBG)
Are you ready to make 2023 open enrollment successful? The consultants at Business Benefits Group (BBG) can help employers create tailored open enrollment communications and guides to ensure their employees are fully informed about the benefits being offered and understand their value.
The right approach can raise participation and employee satisfaction. We’ll research your employee demographics to find the best ways to target them and communicate the value of your offering. Contact us to set up an appointment today.