Healthcare is a delicate balance for many. A recent report found that almost a third of people who had employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) said they would not be able to pay a $500 unexpected medical bill with 8% saying they could not pay it at all. Half of the workers with ESI said they had postponed getting healthcare, skipped it completely, or did not get their prescription medication because of cost. The incidence of this behavior rose with higher deductibles. Helping people find the right healthcare plans for themselves and their families is important and the primary purpose of open enrollment season.
The following are seven ways that you and your HR team should prepare for open enrollment.
Give Your Team Plenty of Prep Lead Time
Don’t wait until open enrollment is on top of you to assemble your information and get your team ready. A last-minute scramble often results in a haphazard approach with outdated or missing information. In short, you cheat your employees out of their ability to make good decisions regarding their healthcare and you cheat your team out of a productive, successful season.
Ensure Your Team Is Current on All ACA Requirements
The Affordable Care Act is complex and difficult to understand for many. However, there is compliant based information that must be distributed within certain timelines. Make sure that your team understands these requirements and can effectively communicate them so that the average person can understand. It is also a good idea to lead with other benefits information that is not as dense or complicated. Let the ACA information be secondary, not the lead driver of your campaign.
Package the Plans
Packaging the plans will help streamline the process and allow employees to make educated decisions easier without so much information overload. Use employee demographic data to assemble each plan so that it is most beneficial. For instance, the needs of a younger employee who is just entering the workforce are not the same as an employee who is nearing retirement age. Likewise, young single professionals have needs that are different from employees with families.
Organize a Face to Face Between the Team and Experts
No matter how much information you make available to employees, there will still be some who need to have specific things explained to them. They may be looking at moving to a different type of coverage that is new to them or there may be new regulations that they don’t understand. Whatever the case, it is wise to provide your team with some face time with experts so that they can be fully prepared to help employees make the right decisions.
Prepare All of Your Resources
You should have several channels for employees to get the information they need. Websites, tech tools, print, brown bag luncheons, and face to face meetings are all great ways to disseminate information and they give employees an opportunity to choose the method that is best for them. Begin preparations early and get your team on board to plan how each method will be rolled out, managed, and maintained.
Brief Your Team on New and Updated Plan Options
Employee benefits and healthcare are never static. Regulations are always changing, plans and options change, and employee needs change so you and your team need to be current. By keeping your team up to date on plan options you can help employees make the best decisions for themselves and their families. A lot can happen in just a few months and an employee who was single at the last enrollment may now have a family. An employee who has had no issues may now have a serious health condition. Be ready to help them transition to plans that better address their needs.
Train Your Team on All Technology Used
Technology is constantly changing. What worked last season may be obsolete now. This is especially true of device-based technology. With more people utilizing their smartphones and digital devices to access the internet, the use of apps and device friendly programs are becoming more commonplace and more desired by employees. There can be a steep learning curve if you don’t keep your team up to date on the tech tools you use as they evolve. Don’t put them in a situation where they are cramming at the last minute.
Having a successful open enrollment season takes some preparation. You want to provide your employees with the most current, accurate information possible so that they can make informed decisions regarding their healthcare options. This means getting every member of your team on the same page and ensuring that they are fully prepared to help employees select the benefits plans that are right for them.
Open enrollment takes time and preparation. We can help. Call us at 916-248-4777 then visit our site and download our Annual Open Enrollment Checklist.