Open enrollment is anything but business as usual this year. If you are like most organizations, your workforce is primarily remote now, budgets are being squeezed, and employees are emotionally drained. The typical approaches to open enrollment may not fly in this new normal.
As you plan your 2021 benefits enrollment, consider these eight tips for ensuring a contactless, yet engaging, enrollment experience:
As a result of COVID-19, many employers are having to make some significant changes to benefits for 2021. If you’re one of them, it’s important to start by being upfront and explain to employees how COVID-19 is affecting your business and, in turn, impacting employee benefit changes. Acknowledge any steps the company is taking to help offset necessary cost increases, but acknowledging the current situation requires employees to help as well.
It’s more important than ever to help employees understand the coverage they get under their medical plan options. Otherwise, employees fearing a second wave of COVID-19 may choose your most expensive plan—assuming that it will offer the most and the best coverage. Help employees weigh their options so they don’t end up over insured and financially tapped.
While selecting the right benefits program is important, using benefits wisely and cost-effectively throughout the year is equally as important. Highlight simple ways employees can save money and stretch their health care benefits—such as using generic prescriptions, trying mail-order for maintenance drugs, using telehealth or urgent care instead of the emergency room, etc.
Traditionally, we recommend focusing your Open Enrollment material exclusively on the benefits employees need to choose, rather than the benefits they use year-round. However, this year consider adding a companion piece to your Open Enrollment guide showcasing resources that support physical, emotional and financial wellness. This could include promoting telehealth benefits, behavioral health benefits, your employee assistance program and various wellness program resources.
Given ongoing concerns about COVID-19, employees are looking for added protection, such as critical illness, hospital indemnity and long-term care coverage. In addition, be sure to communicate to employees about how these various coverages can work together to provide financial peace of mind.
This year, the typical open enrollment employee meetings and benefit fairs likely won’t happen, but you still need to make sure that employees are informed about benefit changes and can ask questions. Conduct virtual lunch-and-learns via Zoom that include representatives from your insurers, links to useful information, and Q&A sessions. Consider adopting text messaging services and centering communications around digital campaigns.
If your budget is tighter than in years past, bypass the costs of sending bulky open enrollment packets and instead send a simple oversized postcard to employees’ homes letting them know where they can find this year’s open enrollment information. Include a scannable QR code in the postcard that allows employees to access benefits information directly through their smartphone.
A great plug-and-play virtual solution, a digital video postcard combines engaging video with quick links to key benefit information. Housed as a mini-microsite, it offers a one-stop-shop for everything related to open enrollment. Best of all, the postcard offers HR professionals the opportunity to gauge employee engagement through an analytics dashboard.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to host a contactless enrollment experience, retool your open enrollment, or boost engagement levels, contact us today.
This information was developed as a general guide to educate plan sponsors and is not intended as authoritative guidance or tax/legal advice. Each plan has unique requirements, and you should consult your attorney or tax advisor for guidance on your specific situation.
Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a registered Broker/Dealer and Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. LoVasco Consulting Group is independently owned and operated.
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