As open enrollment is fast approaching, leadership teams are finding new ways to streamline their annual benefits enrollment process. With the pandemic still present, employees are more concerned than ever about their health benefits packages. To help your company avoid a stressful enrollment period, here are six tips and a few useful resources.
6 Tips for Open Enrollment
1. Communicate with Your Employees
The enrollment process is a line item on your to-do list; however, for your employee, it’s the difference between having the insurance coverage they need and going without necessary care. Communicate the details of enrollment to your employees early and often to give them enough time to consider their options and discuss their decisions with their families. Be sure that employees know what is covered under their insurance plan and to let them know that a plan that worked for them in the past may not be the best choice under current pandemic conditions.
2. Encourage Questions
Be sure to provide your employees with a designated point-of-contact to ask any questions they may have about their coverage needs. Guiding employees to the correct plan will help them feel supported, and it can also help reduce unwanted medical costs or absences for your company.
Summary and benefits coverage documents (SBC) should make it easy for employees to quickly see what would and would not be covered by their plans. Carefully crafting SBC documents may help answer some of your team’s questions upfront, saving time and confusion.
3. Discuss Making Intentional Choices
Employees often default to last year’s choice when picking a health plan. This year, more than ever, employers need to explain the importance of employees weighing their options. Maybe an employee has a high-deductible plan. While that may have worked in the past, an employee concerned about COVID-19 may want to consider something different for this year. Create an engaging message that encourages employees to thoroughly review their options and make the best choice. Remind them that since last year their lives have changed, and their insurance needs likely have as well.
4. Review Your Plan Document and Enrollment Materials
Before open enrollment begins, familiarize yourself with your plan document and enrollment materials. Check for any information that you may need to update, such as eligibility requirements, benefits, vendors, dates, and contact details. Include relevant information that may be timely, like new laws or COVID-19 information. Verify that you have documented the correct enrollment schedules and deadlines and that you are communicating those dates with your employees, to avoid any potential roadblocks.
5. Review and Update SBC and SPD Materials
You are required by law to provide an accurate summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) and summary plan description (SPD) to employees. It’s important to note that although your SBC document may encompass your SPD information, you must still have separate documents on file. Review and update this documentation to verify their accuracy prior to disseminating to employees.
6. Pay Close Attention to New Laws and Requirements
Carefully review the Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations to ensure that you are maintaining compliance throughout the benefits enrollment process. Depending on your company’s size and your employees’ status, you will have certain coverage requirements that you must meet. During the pandemic, some states also passed new regulations about what insurance plans need to cover. Review your employee data to ensure that you have the most accurate information, especially when it comes to hours worked, past insurance coverage, and the number of full-time employees. Having this accurate information within arm’s reach will allow you to quickly verify that you meet the ACA’s standards.
Resources for More Information and Guidance
- The Affordable Care Act
- FSA, HRA, HSA Benefit Plans Explained
- HSA Accounts: The Cousin to 401(k) Plans
- Benefits: Executing Annual Renewals and Enrollment
Contact us today to learn how LBMC Employment Partners can guide you through the open enrollment process to streamline your process and support your employees.