According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority (88 percent) of full-time civilian employees have access to medical care benefits through their workplace, making the enrollment window a brief but critical time frame for millions of people and their families.
The Aflac Study finds this annual process isn’t easy:
- 72 percent of employees say reading about benefits is long, complicated or stressful.
- 48 percent would rather do something unpleasant, such as talking to their ex or walking across hot coals, instead of completing their annual benefits enrollment.
- 36 percent say the benefits enrollment process makes them feel frustrated, anxious or confused.
Educating your employees on the impact of their benefit decisions without overwhelming them can be challenging. You can put your hard work to even greater effect by taking some time to round up this season of open enrollment and prepare for the next one. Here are a few things you can do to tie up loose ends and make sure the next open enrollment is even better:
Check once, twice and maybe one more time
Double-check the enrollments to ensure the data employees included is accurate and that all required fields have been populated. Ensure that all the required information is collected prior to an employee completing the enrollment process.
No matter how strong your benefits plan is, there will always be a couple of employees who forgot to change something during open enrollment or forgot to turn in a form. You will probably field some questions about what the options are for change.
Though they don’t have a lot of options, changes can be made only in the event of a qualifying event such as change in marital status, number of dependents or employment status. Other events may include significant cost changes, changes in a spouse’s coverage or a move that takes the employee out of the plan service area. You should include a list of qualifying events in the summary plan description you give to employees.
Verify summer new hires enrolled in their new hire effective benefits and the new plan year benefits effective 9/1/2017. Make sure all new hires and August terminations have been processed in our system.
Help Employees Understand Their Benefits
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans reports that only 19 percent of employers feel that their employees have a “high level of understanding” of their benefits. They found that 80 percent of employers report that their employees don’t open or read their benefits information. Various approaches are necessary in order to reach everyone and the focus should be on communicating benefits information in a variety of formats.
Check Pay Stubs
Encourage your employees to check their first pay stub in September to make sure all deductions for benefits are accurate.
Check your IMNS Dashboard in THEbenefitsHUB. You can clear up discrepancies and help us provide an accurate bill. An employee’s address in THEbenefitsHUB is sent to multiple carriers. If an employee has not received benefit information in the mail (ID card, etc.) please have them confirm the address in the HUB.
The Cold Hard Facts.
Start with the simple stuff – who enrolled in what?
Determine participation rates for your various core medical, ancillary and voluntary benefit plans, along with any wellness programs and/or contributory savings opportunities that were available to employees and then compare that data to the goals you set for this year’s open enrollment.
Input from employees
Ask employees to fill out a short survey about how open enrollment went. Doing so can give you a clearer picture about what they understood and their preferences for benefits and communication.
The Aflac Open Enrollment study asked employees to describe an ideal benefits enrollment experience. Half said they’d prefer their benefits enrollment process to be more like Amazon.com, with easy-to-compare options online. There are tried-and-true ways employers can begin to improve their benefits enrollment process. Some employees need more time, while others are interested in consultation from benefits experts.
Choosing workplace benefits is one of the most important annual financial decision an employee needs to make. From the employee perspective, the enrollment process often gets complex and frustrating. Offering employees more time and benefit tools and support will make the process less intimidating. Success of an open enrollment strategy not only affects the overall business strategy of the company, but can also result in more satisfaction for employees with their overall compensation.