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How to Avoid Common Open Enrollment Mistakes: A Checklist for HR Reps

Open enrollment is a crucial time for employers and employees. It’s when you can review, change, or enroll in health insurance plans for the next year. But it can also be stressful, confusing, and costly if you don’t plan ahead.

This is especially the case if you’re a small business with limited resources.

To help you avoid some of the most common open enrollment pitfalls and make the best decisions for your small business, we’ve created a list for your consideration. That way you can make the most of your time and potentially save yourself some effort as you navigate open enrollment.

Common Open Enrollment Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Lack of Communication

Communication is key to a successful open enrollment. Start the season by asking your employees about their healthcare needs, preferences, and concerns. Consider asking specific questions about:

  • What benefits they value most
  • What they like and dislike about their current plans
  • Concerns they have about their coverage and the upcoming season

Additionally, be transparent about any changing costs or coverage. If you’re raising premiums or deductibles, explain why and how it will affect your employees.

If you’re offering new or different benefits, highlight them and show how they can help your employees. Use clear and simple language, avoid jargon, and provide examples. ​​These conversations will help you tailor your overall strategy and select the best plan for your small business.

Not Preparing For Mistakes

The pressure of a looming deadline and having limited help and resources can make it all too easy to make mistakes. Thankfully, you can minimize them by preparing in advance.

Review your employee data for accuracy and completeness; ensure you have the correct names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, social security numbers, and dependents information for each employee. If there are any changes to make, update them as soon as possible.

Additionally, have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. For example, if your online enrollment system crashes or your employees encounter technical difficulties, have an alternative way to enroll them. This could be a designated health insurance broker or team to handle any issues that may arise.

If you run into issues as you’re navigating open enrollment, our team can help. We’ll take the time to find the right plan for your team, whatever your needs may be.

Forgetting to Include Spouses in the Conversation

Spouses play a big role in health care decisions, especially if they’re covered by your plan. Don’t assume that your employees will share the information with their spouses or that their spouses will agree with their choices. Instead, encourage your employees to involve them in the open enrollment process.

One way to do this is to offer resources that are designed for spouses. This could be a webinar, newsletter, or FAQ list. Another way is to invite spouses to attend open enrollment meetings or events with your employees. This will allow them the opportunity to learn about plans, ask questions, and voice their opinions.

Waiting Til the Last Minute

Procrastination is a common enemy of open enrollment. If you wait until the last minute to enroll your employees or communicate with them, you risk missing deadlines, making errors, or losing coverage. Not to mention, you’ll create unnecessary stress for yourself and your employees.

To avoid this pitfall, start planning early and set clear deadlines for yourself and your employees. Create a timeline for each step of the open enrollment process, remind your employees of these deadlines regularly, and set a follow-up schedule.

Not Seeking Out Additional Help

Open enrollment can be overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of employees or a complex benefits package. You don’t have to do it alone. Consider seeking out additional help from experts who can guide you through the process to make it easier for you.

Our brokers can answer any questions you have and provide assistance at any stage of the process. They can also help you compare insurance quotes, negotiate rates, and find the best deal for your business and employees.

Plus, now that we’ve partnered with Ease you can manage health benefits for your small business anywhere, anytime. Through their platform, your employees can easily:

  • Compare copays, coverage, SBCs, and actual costs all in one place
  • Take advantage of online enrollment, including digitally signing forms to make the process easier and faster
  • Access important benefit details 24/7 via web, mobile, or iOS and Android mobile apps

How to Ace Open Enrollment Season

Open enrollment is an opportunity to improve employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity by providing them with quality healthcare benefits. By being aware of these common mistakes, you can have a more effective open enrollment season and make it an easier process for your employees.

If you need more information or guidance during open enrollment, Health & Benefits Partners can help. Contact us today to get started.