Posted By:

Trish Barnes on December 18, 2014

4 Ways to Inform Employees Before Benefits Open Enrollment Kicks-Off

Benefits open enrollment is an event that typically occurs once a year where employees can make changes to their benefits and adjust their coverage. While this is advantageous, it can also lead to a lot of confusion and complications. As a result, it’s important that you take measures to get your employees up to speed and keep them informed before the period kicks-off. Here are four ways to get organized and make open season go as smoothly as possible.


1) Preparing For Benefits Open Enrollment

Ideally, you will start preparing at least a few weeks in advance and perform enough research so that you have a thorough understanding and can transfer that knowledge to your employees. This usually starts with knowing your state’s requirements. For example, certain states require that employers contribute to their employees’ health insurance plans or they will be fined. Some states also mandate that employers purchase disability insurance.

Accordingly, you should take the time to check out the details that are specific to your state. Because regulations are constantly fluctuating, it’s also smart to see if there have been any recent changes concerning benefits.


2) Familiarize Employees With Private Exchanges

Ever since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law in 2010, private healthcare insurance exchanges have become an emerging trend. Now, millions of people get their health coverage from private exchanges. For this reason, it’s important to educate your employees on the basics of this system, how to navigate the online marketplace and how to find a plan that suits their needs. Visiting the Healthcare.gov website and browsing through the “Get Answers” section should go over everything they need to know.


3) Set Up a Meeting

Assembling all of your employees within a few days to a week prior to benefits open enrollment for a meeting can also be a big help. This is the perfect time to break down how the process will unfold and provide employees with any necessary materials. Because communicating benefits via traditional handbooks isn’t as effective as it used to be, you may want to create an online resource section where team members can follow along during the meeting and review later on. This is also a great time for a question and answer session so everyone is on the same page.


4) Create a New Hire Checklist

While individuals who have been employed by your business for several years will probably have a decent understanding of open enrollment, new hires that weren’t around last year may not have a clue what’s going on. All of the information can easily overwhelm them, so you should be especially diligent when educating new hires and provide them with a checklist that covers all relevant benefits in detail. This might include everything from tax credits to worker’s compensation to choosing a health insurance plan.

As long as you plan ahead and get organized, it’s relatively easy to inform your employees of benefits open enrollment. This way you can get through the period with minimal setbacks and chaos. All the while, employees can obtain the optimal coverage for them and their families.