Suzanne Lucas

4 Ways to Keep Employees Engaged During Open Enrollment

You’ve emailed your employees 37 times and put a sign up in the break room, but they still seem to miss open enrollment deadlines. It could be that they don’t understand why it’s so important. The result is that employees can end up with a plan that isn’t the best for them and their families. In fact, many people do, according to The New York Times. How can you get your employees engaged in the process of choosing their health care benefits for the next year, and do so on time? Here are four ideas.

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1. Listen to Employees During the Whole Year

If you include employees in the whole benefits decision process, they can see that you’re doing the best you can to provide them with quality benefits. Ask employees what is important to them and invite a few to be on the committee that evaluates plans for the coming year. Then, ask them to explain the process to their coworkers. When people understand what goes into the decision-making process, they are more likely to feel positive about the open enrollment process.

2. Have a Lunch-and-Learn With a Health Care Benefits Broker

Your health care broker can help explain not only open enrollment dates but why it’s important to meet them, what happens if you don’t and the differences between available plans. Some employees are more likely to listen to an outside expert than someone within the company.

3. Point Out What Health Care Benefits Might Have Changed

As life changes, health care needs change. Unfortunately, some people don’t realize this until they are hit with a health crisis. So, point out that people who have experienced recent changes (or expect life to change next year), should think long and hard about what health care benefits they want. You’re able to adjust your benefits after you have a baby, get married or divorced, or adopt a child, but other circumstances won’t allow you to. For instance, if a child leaves for college or someone is diagnosed with a serious illness, you won’t be able to change insurance plans even though those circumstances change your health insurance needs. Childbirth itself is also something to consider as you don’t get to change plans until after the baby is born.

4. Invite Spouses

Normally, employees handle the aspects of their jobs while spouses do their best to weigh in. But, health insurance affects the entire family. In a case where the employee has a stay-at-home spouse, it’s often the spouse that makes most of the medical decisions for the children. Even in a case where an employee and the spouse both have jobs with health insurance, picking who covers the children (or if they both should, with primary and secondary insurance) can be complicated.

Invite people to bring in their spouses (or domestic partners, if your insurance policy covers these relationships) so that everyone can ask questions and figure out which policies are best for their families.

Getting open enrollment right not only helps your employees have a productive and healthy year, it reduces your workload. Make the effort to get everyone on schedule with the proper employer health plan before time runs out.

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