Open enrollment is a period of time each year when your current employees can make changes to their existing medical coverage. During open enrollment, employees may decide to change plans, add or drop a dependent or add an optional benefit, such as a dental plan or voluntary life insurance. You can assist employees during open enrollment by distributing materials that explain new health options and changes to existing benefits.
Your company and your employees are likely investing most of your benefit dollars into healthcare, so effective communication is important for everyone to get the most from this high-value benefit. There are many strategies to consider specifically regarding healthcare education at open enrollment.
Open Enrollment Education Strategies
General Summary of Benefits by Plan
Your health care plans will come with the federally mandated Summary of Benefits & Coverage (SBC) and the carrier specific plan documentation, but these can be overwhelming to employees, especially when you offer multiple plans. Help employees navigate the major benefits of each plan by providing an easy-to-read general summary. Austin clients can receive both a Highlight Sheet and Benefit Guide, completely customized based on plan offerings that helps break down plan differences in simple language and visual examples.
Limits on Coverage, especially for specific conditions
While ACA-compliant plans have no maximum limit on coverage, there may be specific limits for certain services. For example, for chiropractic office visits, members may be limited to 30 covered visits in one plan year. Large groups can review their available claims experience data to identify areas that will be of greatest importance for communication to their employees.
Preventive Care Review
The importance of communicating preventive care cannot be stressed enough, year-round, and at Open Enrollment. Make sure your employees receive information on all no-cost preventive services, medications, etc. available for offered plans. Areas of focus can include annual physicals, mental health screening, well-women visits, flu vaccination and more.
Does your company offer a premium contribution? Use this to illustrate the value of your benefit package (especially for health care) which can have a large impact on retention. If you offer contributions to an HRA, HSA, or FSA make sure to create communications that discuss how employees can best utilize these funds with your offered plans.
Had to make cuts this year? Make sure your employees are aware of these changes in advance and showcase other money-saving opportunities within your benefits package. Need help with communicating cuts and other benefits changes? Partner with Austin Benefits Group for custom, strategic messaging.
New Plan Types, HDHP, and HSA Information
With change comes confusion, so make it as easy as possible on your employees (and your HR team) by making sure you’re talking about changes in advance and educating employees on how new plan types work. You can check out our All About HSAs presentation and other material on the Benefit Resource Center for ideas!
Offer a review for your team on common benefit terms that are relevant to your plan offerings. A quick glossary can be especially helpful to employees who have not reviewed any benefit information since their last enrollment. A good place to store your glossary year-round is on your company intranet or online benefits or HR system. You could also include a few helpful glossary terms in the bottom of your open enrollment announcement emails. Use the terms below to get started!
Open Enrollment Glossary of Terms – Health Insurance