The Bottoms Group stands ready to lead you and your employees through a successful open enrollment, creating an experience designed to meet, and potentially exceed expectations. In addition to helping you, as the employer effectively communicate available benefits and coverage, TBG strives to ensure a smooth enrollment process during Open Enrollment and beyond by helping you empower your employees with the confidence and knowledge of the enrollment process.
Preparing for Open Enrollment
Once you have chosen a benefit package and set a timeframe for Open Enrollment, early engagement with employees, communicating reasonable deadlines, and setting expectations will be essential to a successful Open Enrollment.
In the past, it was common for employers to provide paper copies of plan summaries and enrollment forms. While TBG is happy to continue providing paper Open Enrollment packets, many of our clients are now having their employees complete Open Enrollment and future enrollment changes via an online enrollment system. Regardless of which enrollment method you choose, early engagement with employees can ensure you start off on the right foot to a successful enrollment process. Our clients utilizing online enrollment systems have access to automatic email reminders to send out to employees, along with confirmation email notices once employees have made changes. Employees also have the capability to view electronic copies of plan summaries and other documentation at any time throughout the year. Being in regular contact with your employees with reminders of deadlines can have a great impact on the success of Open Enrollment.
Empowering employees with knowledge and confidence can be essential to ensuring a smooth Open Enrollment along with future enrollment changes. In addition to contacting employees directly, many of our clients find benefit fairs and in-person or video conference benefit meetings helpful. Regarding benefit fairs in particular, representatives are available to answer insurance carrier specific questions, and provide hands-on enrollment assistance. Similarly, in-person or video conferencing enrollment meetings can have the same effects while being easier for clients to accommodate. Benefit meetings can also give employees the chance to learn about offered benefits and ask questions. As a way to encourage participation, many clients elect to have attendees entered into a giveaway. This not only encourages participation, but can also increase morale among employees.
Completing Open Enrollment and Navigating Challenges
Once Open Enrollment has been completed, continued communication remains an important way to navigate any challenges that may arise. The most common challenge our TBG HelpDesk sees from employees is when changing to a new insurance carrier. Continuing to communicate expectations even after Open Enrollment has concluded can help provide reassurance. Following Open Enrollment, our TBG HelpDesk receives questions most often about ID cards and the transfer of medical deductible accumulations to a new plan.
First, when deciding on an Open Enrollment deadline and communicating it to employees, it is important to stick to the chosen date to avoid delays. When Open Enrollment is completed by a reasonable deadline, insurance carriers are able to provide ID card information to employees before the start of coverage. Even if employees do not have physical ID cards in hand, they are still able to download electronic copies from carrier websites or smart phone apps. Once ID cards become available, employees then need to be sure to provide the updated coverage information to their doctors and other providers to prevent delays in claim processing.
Secondly, employees are understandably concerned about mid-year plan changes and how any accumulated deductibles may be affected. Our TBG HelpDesk understands these concerns and we stand ready to assist with following up on any accumulations being credited to new medical plans, and with any claims affected.
Beyond Open Enrollment
Once Open Enrollment has concluded, it can be helpful to make notes on what went well, and how the process can be improved in the future. Additionally, keeping the above in mind will be advantageous as newly hired employees become eligible for coverage, and when existing employees make changes due to qualifying life events (i.e.: marriage, birth of child, change to other coverage, etc.). In addition to communicating the enrollment process to new employees enrolling for the first time, it is also helpful to continue communicating expectations throughout the year. Some clients elect to send quarterly or semiannual messages to employees to remind them to submit life event changes to coverage timely, and to prompt members to update beneficiaries as needed.
Empowering employees with clear communication and access to information allows them to take full advantage of their coverage and ensures that your employees are able to get maximum worth from the employee benefit package offered. As always, TBG and our HelpDesk are available to help every step of the way; from Open Enrollment to any enrollment changes needed throughout the year, along with your employees’ benefit and claims questions. We are happy to assist.