A Checklist for Navigating Open Enrollment

Before Open Enrollment

– Reflect on the previous open enrollment period. Note the successes and failures and formulate a strategy for avoiding prior blunders.

– Survey your employees to get a sense of what they want and don’t want in their benefits packages. They may want more personalized options, more communication or a more streamlined elections process.

– Consult with your benefits broker to review the effectiveness of your current insurance plans. Your broker can help you evaluate your insurance costs and identify which valuable benefits are being underutilized and which options can increase plan participation and reduce your overall costs.

– Decide which insurance plans you will offer. For example, do you offer medical, dental, vision and life insurance? What about a wellness program, disability insurance or health savings accounts? If so, will the premiums stay the same?

– Consider legislative requirements impacting your benefits packages. The ACA has some requirements, such as its affordability percentage or how far in advance Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) must notify participants of plan changes, that change regularly and should be checked.

– Make a list of new enhancements to your benefits offerings, and plan to communicate these exciting additions to participants. For example, if there will be cost-saving opportunities, plan to highlight them.

– Gather all the information your employees will need for open enrollment, including open enrollment schedule, plan changes and rates, open enrollment forms, plan summaries, and resources such as answers to frequently asked questions.

– Announce open enrollment ahead of time. For example, notify employees of the upcoming year’s open enrollment dates one month in advance by sending emails and posting notices in conspicuous areas of the worksite.

– Leverage technology, such as an online benefits platform, that makes it easy for employees to access — and make changes to — their benefits. Also, consider utilizing social media and texting to transmit reminders and helpful information to employees.

– Send a reminder to employees the day before open enrollment. 

During Open Enrollment

– Deliver benefits materials to employees. Be sure to give employees enough time to review the information. Provide clear instructions and let employees know that you welcome their questions, no matter how simple or complex.

– Remind employees of the open enrollment deadline as it approaches to help ensure timely submissions.

After Open Enrollment

– Check to see whether enrollment forms are properly completed.

– Verify that you’re in compliance with the respective benefits laws.

– Submit enrollment data to insurance carriers.

– Make sure your HR and payroll systems reflect the necessary benefits changes.

– Let employees know whom to contact should they have further questions or concerns.

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