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7 Tips to Simplify Benefits Open Enrollment

Take the stress out of your annual benefits open enrollment process—from start to finish.

As an employer, the annual benefits open enrollment process can be a challenging time—full of confusing and endless options, loads of employee questions, and of course, looming deadlines. The good news? There are simple steps you can take to ensure the process is more streamlined and stress-free for both you and your employees—helping to drive greater awareness and participation.

Below are seven tips to consider when navigating this critical healthcare signup period:

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1: Plan ahead.

While your benefits open enrollment process may happen just once a year, it’s never too early to start planning for next year’s healthcare signup. The more legwork you do upfront, the easier it is to navigate the unexpected—whether that’s a global pandemic or small tweaks to your previous healthcare and benefits package.

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2: Make resources available online and onsite.

Providing easy-to-understand tools and resources helps lessen employee confusion during the open enrollment process. Keep benefits plan information simple and accessible and consider offering interactive resources like plan comparison tools that explain deductibles and more. The goal is to help employees navigate everything from their unique eligibility requirements to their Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA) COBRA needs—and everything in between.

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3: Announce important dates as soon as possible.

To help avoid one of the biggest roadblocks to open enrollment success—missed deadlines—it’s a good idea to build in a number of reminders regarding important dates. Offering eligible employees a generous amount of consideration time, and sending out frequent reminders will help encourage them to carve out time to review and understand the different plans / plan options and get their enrollment forms in order and submitted before the enrollment deadline.

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4: Make sure benefits communications are effective.

It’s important that your employees are aware of who they can go to for answers to their questions regarding your open enrollments period and benefits offerings—like health coverage. Depending on your company’s HR structure, effective benefits and open enrollment communications may involve one-on-one meetings with each employee prior to or during the enrollment process, hosting office-wide meetings or webinars, or sending company-wide instructional emails.

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5: Don’t forget about special enrollment periods.

For employers, open enrollment isn’t the only time to think about benefits enrollment. Special enrollment periods are also triggered when onboarding a new employee or navigating a current employee’s qualifying life event (getting married, having a baby, etc.) To save time (and your sanity), it’s best to put as much effort into optimizing the processes for special and new hire enrollments as you do for your annual open enrollment.

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6: Take benefits enrollment online.

Using an online benefits enrollment tool allows your employees to electronically input their healthcare options at a time most convenient for them—rather than a time that disrupts their workday. Online enrollment also gives employees ample opportunity to review their benefit choices, check over their elections, and even make revisions, if necessary, which minimizes administrative mistakes.

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7: When in doubt, call on the experts.

Eliminate open enrollment headaches by outsourcing benefits administration to a professional employer organization (PEO). Whether just starting out, or growing your small business, utilizing a PEO can provide expert support from human resources (HR) professionals, as well as the added benefit of having onsite or remote assistance for open enrollment.

How G&A Can Help

We understand that no two open enrollment periods are the same, and that as your business grows and changes, so too will your healthcare needs. To learn more about what G&A Partners can do to help streamline your open enrollment process through the management and administration of employee benefits, schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable business advisors.