Top Three Open Enrollment Strategies for Benefit Admins

It is critical for employers to provide support and education to help employees understand their benefit account options during open enrollment. Brokers and employers look to their benefits administrators to pave the way for strong enrollments by providing educational and decision-support resources. With an estimated 74% of employers offering a flexible work schedule, companies need to deliver innovative solutions for virtual education and enrollment to meet the needs of today’s employees and keep them engaged.

Today’s labor market has brought fierce competition among companies to attract and retain top talent. Employees have more leverage to seek jobs with their desired combination of flexibility, pay and benefits. Their needs have shifted, too, with increased emphasis on overall wellbeing, including physical, financial and mental health. Simply put, employees are paying more attention to what their employers have to offer, including benefit accounts that help them save money and prepare for the future.

We put together three top open enrollment strategies you can implement to increase employee fluency and engagement with your organization’s health benefit accounts.

Strategy One: Make education simple

Whether you provide educational account and decision-support materials directly to employers or give them to your broker network to disseminate, your clients will thank you if they can quickly and easily find what they need. Be sure to deliver resources to your clients in a simple and accessible format.

  • Build a digital resource landing page that houses your educational account materials in one place
  • Put your most impactful and well-received open enrollment materials front and center
  • Adopt the “less is more” mantra

Human resource professionals play a vital role during open enrollment. For those wearing multiple hats, executing on a smooth open enrollment period can often be a stressful and challenging time considering their many responsibilities:

  • Ensure employees are aware of their options and motivate them to act
  • Educate about health, dental and life insurance, along with a myriad of ancillary benefits
  • Coordinate with brokers and vendors
  • Develop and organize processes
  • Combine, track and transfer enrollment data

Strategy Two: Guide your clients to position health benefit accounts alongside health plan details

Typically, a company’s health insurance offering is the primary focus of its benefit guides (the giant packets detailing benefit offerings that employees receive during open enrollment). While most health plan details may include a blurb about which type of health benefit account is available for each plan, they often neglect to showcase the full value of these accounts. Without a baseline understanding of how the different accounts work and how much the employer contributes, employees may struggle to make sense of and compare their options when making plan enrollment decisions.

Rather than burying the health benefit account information deeper into the guide, help your clients understand the importance of placing this valuable information alongside the health plan details.

Aside from making enrollment decisions, employees must also decide how much money to contribute to their account(s). Although everyone’s situation is different, sharing some basic contribution strategies based on high, medium or low healthcare consumption can help remove the mystery and fear of the unknown. Recommend that employers provide additional support tools designed to help employees make smart contribution decisions.

Strategy Three: Be prepared to engage in a digital world

The global COVID-19 pandemic fundamentally changed how and where people work. When the workforce shifted to a remote environment in 2020, employers had to change how they conducted open enrollment. Many pivoted their engagement strategies to virtual benefit fairs, chat rooms, Zoom calls and webinars.

With the rise of remote work and an increased focus on mental health and wellbeing, employees are reevaluating what they need to maintain a work/life balance. In fact, nearly two-thirds of employees would choose a permanent work-from-home situation over a $30,000 raise. As such, engaging with a remote, or hybrid, workforce during open enrollment could remain the norm for the foreseeable future.

Personally engaging with employees through new channels to help them understand their options, provide education and answer questions during open enrollment can go a long way toward easing the burden for employers. Benefit administrators can attend virtual benefit fairs, conduct webinars or even offer remote office hours, not only in support of employers, but also to increase fluency among the eligible population and boost enrollment. Creating a human connection can make a real difference.