Industry Trends: Open Enrollment – Early Planning is Key

Industry Trends: Open Enrollment – Early Planning is Key

Every year, one seemingly simple phrase seems to strike fear into the hearts of both employers and employees alike – Open Enrollment. In fact, a recent Aflac Open Enrollment Survey (2014) cited that 90 percent of the 2,100 employees surveyed choose the same benefits year after year to avoid the benefits related headache. It is hard to blame them, as choosing between insurance plan options can be a confusing and stressful experience.

According to the same Aflac study on employee benefits, 80 percent of employees say their benefits package impacts their on-the-job engagement, and nearly 60 percent say they will accept a job with slightly lower compensation, but better benefits. Yet, only 46 percent of employees spend 30 minutes or less evaluating and choosing a health insurance plan for the year. Given that many people spend approximately 15 minutes a day choosing their outfit, it’s obvious that there is a clear disconnect between the importance people place on work benefits and their engagement with those benefits.

An efficient and effective Open Enrollment is a detailed process and one that needs a clear and direct plan. With that being said, below are five key points for a successful Open Enrollment:

  1. Plan Ahead – Start early and review what has worked in the past and what support materials are
    necessary. Generally speaking, starting 12-16 weeks out on a marketing plan and identifying
    materials and updates can take a lot of the ‘last minute stress’ that comes with a rushed
  2. Set Goals and Measure Success – What needs to be improved from the previous year? Less
    calls to the HR team and hotline? Higher job satisfaction and loyalty?
  3. Create Communication Plan – Who is your population and how do you best reach them?
    Posters, emails, text service, social media, etc.?
  4. Educate Employees – Today, people expect to get and decipher information when it is convenient
    to them. New methods of providing info (as per above methods) allows employees to get
    information on their terms, by their methods (phone, computer, tablet, etc.)
  5. Keep Education going throughout the year – HSA, FSA, HRAs and how insurance works in
    general has a long learning curve that may need to extend past open enrollment. Don’t stop
    communicating just because the open enrollment deadline has passed. Provide opportunities for
    ongoing learning sessions throughout the year.

Open Enrollment can be a daunting task, but if methodically planned out (with the guidance of you dedicated Kistler Tiffany Benefits’ Employee Benefits Consultant), can help support your employees’ financial and physical well-being. Your employees will become more engaged, knowledgeable, and better prepared to make educated decisions when it is time to enroll for the year ahead.