Never Too Soon: Planning & Best Practices for Your Best Open Enrollment Ever

As a benefits administrator, it’s never too soon to start planning for open enrollment! In fact, the sooner, the better. Are you confident you will have your best open enrollment ever? If not, let’s get you there.

Goals and objectives of open enrollment

Before we share some insights into open enrollment, first we should align on goals and objectives. Why do we even conduct open enrollment?

  • Improve fluency – Ensure consumers understand the value of account offerings.
  • Strengthen relationships – Offer engagement that delivers win/win outcomes.
  • Drive penetration – Get more employees to enroll and participate in accounts.
  • Increase contributions – Drive greater stickiness and value with higher employee contributions.
  • Enhance account mix – Increase revenue, driving more accounts per eligible consumer.


Market appetite for open enrollment

On the whole, benefits account programs are still underutilized in the market. According to Kalorama Information, in 2022 U.S. consumers paid $472 billion in out-of-pocketing healthcare spending. These expenditures would include deductibles, pharmacy costs, and other over-the-counter medical spending.

We are seeing growth when it comes to health savings account and other savings account spending at $121 billion; however, that means there is still $351 billion in post-tax spending. This means roughly $105 billion in savings were lost by consumers, and about $27 billion by employers.


Best practices for driving adoption

How can you help drive adoption of CDH accounts during open enrollment? Education, communication and consideration are key. Here are a few best practices to guide your employer clients through the process:

  • Plan option differentiation – If you’re offering a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) in parallel to traditional plans, make sure you’re clearly explaining each option so employees understand the differences and advantages of each.
  • Plan design – Make sure you consider the plan design in totality, with all benefits offerings factored in.
  • Employer seeding – Encourage seeding. We provide some tips regarding how employers can help foster HSA adoption through seeding here.
  • “Default” strategies – When people have been enrolled in the past, how do you present the next year’s plan options to them? According to Alight, employers who set the default for employee contributions as their current contribution see a 13% higher participation rate than those who set the default to zero and require employees to re-enroll each year.
  • Segmented communication strategies – If age and income are the biggest factors that drive a person’s enrollment decision, think about segmenting your communication strategy to fit the person you are talking to.
  • Position account as bundled offering – Every plan typically has a deductible associated with it. Those deductibles are growing, so how can you position the plans as a bundled solution offering versus separate enrollment decisions?
  • Suggest contribution limits – This is a powerful way to help lead employees. We focus a lot on whether a person should or shouldn’t enroll in an account, and many people need more guidance around how much they should put into that account.
  • Salary-banded strategies – Provide contribution suggestions based on income levels.


Take a deeper dive

Tune in as SVP of Marketing Jen Irwin, Account Manager Mike Miller, and Director of Growth Enablement Stefanie Adams share tips for planning and execution, available tools and resources, and communication ideas and recommendations to help increase enrollment and participation. Take this opportunity to put your best foot forward with your clients and their employees! To view the full webinar with more data and insights, access the recording below.

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