Streamlining Your Open Enrollment Process
Open enrollment, also known as benefits enrollment, is a crucial annual event for employees and employers alike. It’s the period during which employees can select, change, or renew their benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks offered by their employers. For insurance companies, facilitating a smooth and efficient benefits enrollment process can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. We spoke with DaySmart Software’s Benefits and Operations HR Manager, Alisha VanTiem, to hear her insight into the open enrollment process and what insurance companies can do to make this time easier for themselves and their clients.
If you’re more of a visual learner, view our infographic instead.
Stay Relevant, Companies Start Shopping Early
We know that open enrollment typically occurs on an annual basis and provides employees with the opportunity to select or modify their coverage options. While most companies have their open enrollment starting in the fourth quarter, they started shopping for benefits many months prior. When asked about her shopping patterns VanTiem stated, “In many ways, companies are shopping for benefits all year round. I’m continuously looking at the market to see what’s new, uncover trends, and explore new products.”
This means benefit companies need to regularly communicate with their audience all year to stay relevant and top of mind. Once HR professionals start shopping around, you want them to think of your business first.
Keep Doing What Companies Love
When working with insurance companies, benefits managers like Alisha look for a slew of traits like:
- Tailored solutions and customized benefit plans to meet specific needs.
- Expert guidance and valuable insights to employers and employees.
- Efficient communication to ensure a seamless process.
- Dedication to their role and providing workers with high-quality care.
A concrete way to effectively communicate and show dedication in your role is to schedule the needed time to go over vital details and answer questions. Integrating your schedule with multiple businesses can be tricky but a business management solution like DaySmart Appointments makes the scheduling and follow-up process simpler.
This can also make your company stand out as a brand that prioritizes providing value as VanTiem told us in this story, “This year a potential carrier made time to talk with me and my team about their business model and what sets them apart. I think it’s telling when an insurance company will make time for that.” She also got to learn about their support team and the resources that they offer employees first-hand, which is a helpful component of these conversations.
Still, the best part about the process comes down to affordable solutions and bountiful options.
And Stop Doing What Companies Find Frustrating
Enhancing the benefits enrollment process is simple; find the areas of improvement and, you guessed it, improve them.
According to Alisha, the number one area of improvement was transparency. “We’re already seeing improvements in this area with increased pricing transparency as well as accessible tools that allow members to look up pricing for common procedures before they schedule appointments.” she said. An example of an accessible tool would be a healthcare cost comparison tool. For example, an employee with a medical condition that causes them to go to the emergency room on a regular basis can use this tool to pick their insurance plan based on the lowest emergency room copay amount.
Communication was a close second area of improvement. Alisha also stated, “Insurance is so complex it can be difficult for employers to strike the right balance of sharing enough information with employees without creating an overwhelming number of options.” Whether companies balance those scales or leave them tilted, employees will always have questions. While they can run to their HR heroes, sometimes employees will need to reach out to their benefits companies for further assistance.
Remember, You Do This for Employees
When discussing benefit packages, keep in mind that the people you do this for are employees, and their feedback on your service matters. If employees ever need to reach out for further assistance, consider the following:
- Clear and Timely Information: Employees appreciate well-structured communication about benefit options, deadlines, and changes.
- Educational Resources: Access to resources like webinars, FAQs, infographics, blogs, and video tutorials can aid employees in making informed decisions.
- Assistance Channels: Offering multiple channels for inquiries, including phone, email, text support, user-friendly online portals, and chat support ensures that employees can easily get the help they need.
You also must stay up to date with what employees are looking for because benefits managers are always shopping in their best interest. VanTiem gave this insight about what employees want to see. “There’s a huge interest in overall health and well-being and employees look to their insurance company and employer for resources that support them. That could be integrated wellness programs, complimentary smartphone apps for activity tracking, or mental health resources like virtual therapy and meditation.”
Additional Tips from Alisha
Alisha VanTiem noted the generation differences within the workforce and the different needs that each generation is seeking beyond the standard healthcare and retirement plan that Baby Boomers tend to look for.
VanTiem explained that Gen Z highly values flexible work schedules, inclusive and diverse environments, and mental health benefits as mentioned before.
“Millennials like me care a lot about financial planning, flexible work, and parental leave. Many millennials continue to repay student loans so assistance with repayment is a valuable perk for this group. Gen X has different wants and needs like retirement planning and caretaker resources. Vacation time is also important to our Gen X employees, maybe more so than other groups.”
The best approach is to provide an assortment of options so employees can customize their benefits plans to fit their needs.
Improving the benefits enrollment process is essential for insurance companies to provide excellent service and meet the expectations of their corporate clients and their employees. By addressing areas for improvement and meeting employee needs, insurance companies can enhance their offerings and foster long-lasting partnerships. DaySmart Appointments allows insurance companies to stay relevant to their audience, organize meetings with HR leadership, and save you time so can focus on negotiating more deals. Book a demo with us to learn how we can make your benefits enrollment process a breeze.