Open enrollment. These two words can strike fear into the person charged with managing it from beginning to end. But guess what? It doesn’t have to be scary! With the right preparation and communication plan, you can be off and running. Here’s how…
1. Create a Timeline
Creating a manageable, realistic timeline for your open enrollment (and sticking to it) is one of the best things you can do to ensure the process runs smoothly for everyone involved. Timelines will vary depending on the size of the organization. However, before the open enrollment deadline, a good rule of thumb is as follows:
• 60-90 days before – Review your existing plans, decide if you want to keep your plans/providers
• 45-60 days before – Formally select your new plans/providers, renew accordingly
• 30-45 days before – Employee open enrollment period (should last 1-2 weeks)
• 30 days before – Employee open enrollment should be complete; this remaining 30 days will allow for carrier acceptance and processing
As with most things, the more you communicate, the smoother things will run. Before you begin the employee open enrollment period, be sure to send out an initial email communication (or whatever works best for your organization) to employees letting them know open enrollment is around the corner. Outline what they can expect, highlight any significant plan changes, and designate a contact person. Be sure to check in periodically with employees, be available for questions, and provide timely assistance.
3. Choose a Partner
Many HR software providers today are specializing in benefits administration. Zenefits, Just Works, and Gusto are some of the newest providers on the market catering to small and medium sized businesses. Partnering with providers such as these can alleviate the administrative burden. Plus, it’s great to have a benefits expert at your fingertips!
It is easy to find yourself tangled up in the details of open enrollment. With a little preparation and communication, you will find the process smooth – and maybe even a little fun.
Need assistance with open enrollment? Email us or give us a call at 703-587-5615. We assist our clients every day with navigating open enrollment, deciphering benefit details, and ensuring a seamless employee experience. We can do the same for you.