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September 8, 2019

3 Tips to Streamline Your Open Enrollment Process

HR teams and benefits administrators are increasingly being spread thin when it comes to open enrollment, while still needing to manage their demanding daily workloads.

Planning now will help ensure your open enrollment runs smoothly and efficiently. Here are three strategies to consider:

1. Check Your Employee Tools

As technology becomes more dominant in both the workplace and at home, employers should use current online and mobile enrollment tools to the extent feasible. Decision-support tools (included in most enrollment systems) that help individuals and families identify the best benefits for them can be extremely valuable. Additionally, employees can get many answers from these tools rather than reaching out to HR, thus decreasing the burden on the HR team. Also consider making online cost resources and estimators available to employees. These tools provide an easy way for them to calculate what their health care spend will be, depending on the plan selected, and give them time to plan for those expenses.

Determine in what areas you need improvement to streamline your enrollment process in our 2019 Open Enrollment Success Guide.

2. Pair High-Tech with High-Touch

In today’s digital world, paper enrollments are nearly extinct. Consider the electronic options available internally or through your broker/consultant. Using the right automated enrollment tools can reduce manual errors, streamline communication and drive better plan participation. HR management systems can decrease time spent on routine HR tasks, such as correcting manual errors and monitoring data. Technology tools can also track the number of employees enrolling in particular benefits, enabling HR to monitor the status and success of offerings in real time. However, be cautious of letting technology completely take over. Best practices suggest that pairing high-quality technology with human interaction, such as small group meetings, individual sessions and call centers, results in an efficient enrollment process that also builds employee appreciation and trust.

Are you properly administering all of the health plan notices required under the DOL, ACA, ERISA, COBRA and HIPAA? Click here for a list of notices to provide during open enrollment.

3. Leverage Data

HR managers can use data analytics to help employees make smarter benefits decisions. Ensure that you have year-over-year data on what benefits are being used (and not used) and how employees make decisions when selecting benefits. This information often reveals what training or educational materials might help employees better understand and, therefore, take greater advantage of underused or undervalued offerings. It will also help you set actionable open enrollment goals, determine the focus(es) of your open enrollment communications and ease the administrative burden of synchronizing data and powerful reporting.

Open enrollment is often considered the most taxing time of year for HR teams . . . It doesn’t have to be. With the proper planning and tools, you will be set up for a stress-free, successful process that contributes to overall benefit plan success.

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