Four Tips for a Successful Virtual Open Enrollment

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Summary: For open enrollment season this year, many organizations will be hosting virtual enrollment sessions instead of in-person events. Learn four useful strategies for successful online open enrollment.

Four Tips for a Successful Virtual Open Enrollment

The 2021 open enrollment season is right around the corner. Due to COVID-19, many companies will be using a virtual open enrollment platform rather than hosting in-person events. For some organizations, online open enrollment is old hat. For others, it means uncharted territory.

If virtual open enrollment is new to your business, do not fear. This is an opportunity to reintroduce your company’s benefit packages during an unprecedented time.

Here are four tips to make virtual health insurance enrollment a success:

  1. Create easy-to-read email blasts

Without in-person meetings or reminders, email is critical to communicating deadlines and information.

Most employees say their inbox is already overflowing. Keep emails clear and to-the-point, focusing on relevant and digestible bits of content. A campaign with three to four concise emails is more effective than one long, text-heavy communication.

Including visual elements or graphics breaks up copy and engages employees. Highlight or bold important phrases and always include contact information for questions.

  1. Offer a digital benefits guide

An annual benefits guide is likely something you have created in the past, but maybe in printed form only. This year, you could create a digital version to send to employees as a PDF (or another online format).

You will want to include what has changed since last year, offer helpful tips, and remind employees where to enroll.

Along with benefits, provide contact information for the insurance company or your broker. Both can help answer specific questions your employees may have about their plan options.

  1. Host a webinar or video conference

Hosting a webinar or all-staff video conference is a great way to give an overview of open enrollment options.

Be sure to leave time at the end of your webinar for Q&A. Try to make the playback available for employees afterward. This helps those who cannot attend the live session and any who want to review it again later.

  1. Provide support and one-stop resources

Be ready to support your team through the pros and cons of this change. They will not have access to live vendors, booths, or paper handouts. But a virtual event could be much more convenient – especially for workers who are busy, sick, or absent during a one-time event.

Working at home also does not mean you cannot invite employees to swing by your virtual desk. Try to set aside a few hours each week to be available for questions. Be ready to address common concerns – for instance, the difference between an HMO and PPO plan.

Another tip is to create a central location for employees to access resources. Think of it as a one-stop shop for enrollment tools:

  • Your digital benefits guide,
  • Webinar/video conference link,
  • FAQ document(s),
  • and other relevant info.

While you prepare to bat yet another curve ball from 2020, remember – you are not in it alone. Many companies will make the leap to online open enrollment this year. And with a bit of preparation and strategy, virtual OE can be just as effective as an in-person event.

COVID-19 Resources: Managing Your Business During a Crisis