The season of open enrollment is almost upon us, and its success depends on combining the right mix of communications. In a way, blending the components of a successful open enrollment is like cooking a tasty meal. Both require carefully following a tested recipe and incorporating ingredients that complement each other. 

3 Ingredients for a Successful Open Enrollment

The season of open enrollment is almost upon us, and its success depends on combining the right mix of communications. In a way, blending the components of a successful open enrollment is like cooking a tasty meal. Both require carefully following a tested recipe and incorporating ingredients that complement each other.

To get the most out of your open enrollment this year, be sure to include these three ingredients in your communications plan.

ChefIngredient #1: Make Communications Easy to Understand

Research from MetLife has found that 37 percent of employees need help understanding how their benefits work. Your 2015 communication plan should aim to make benefits information clear, concise and relevant.

In addition to providing the required summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) in open enrollment materials, your organization should outline how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions impact employees. Is your organization changing its health care rates? Does the coverage meet minimum essential coverage parameters? Will you be sending employees to the exchanges?

As you answer these questions, be sure to avoid small print, health care jargon and complicated descriptions. Instead, make it easy for employees to compare your plans with offerings available through the exchanges, and be sure to highlight the value of your benefits.  

Ingredient #2: Make Information Easy to Access

The ACA mandate requiring all individuals to have health insurance has compelled many employees to reevaluate their health insurance options. Help your employees access the benefit information they need by presenting it in multiple formats and in easy-to-find locations. Increase the accessibility of your benefits information by taking advantage of message formats not traditionally associated with HR, such as text messages, websites, social media platforms and smartphone apps.

Ingredient #3: Make it Easy for Employees to Get Help

The ACA“Play or Pay” provision will become effective in 2015, meaning that employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer those workers health coverage or pay a penalty. This provision may raise some questions among workers. Help eliminate confusion by clearly and proactively explaining how your organization plans to handle the requirement.

Offer a benefits hotline, online chat functionality and one-on-one counseling sessions to help employees quickly and easily get answers to their ACA and health plan questions. According to a Colonial Life survey, 97 percent of employees who participate in benefits consulting say it improves their understanding of benefits. By providing guidance to employees, you can personalize the enrollment process and help employees pick a plan that meets their needs. In addition, be sure to also have your plan information readily available on your company’s benefits website so employees can evaluate plan options.

“Due to the complexities of the Affordable Care Act, workers and their families expect employers to offer assistance and guidance. Organizations have an opportunity – indeed a responsibility – to be leaders during the transition to full implementation of the ACA. Effective, clear and relevant benefits communications are key ingredients to minimizing the stress of open enrollment,” said Ceridian Washington, D.C., consultant Jim O’Connell.

The recipe for open enrollment success is at your fingertips and ready to be used. By carefully combining these ingredient for success with the flavors that make your employees and organization unique, you can have a smooth open enrollment period.

For more information:

  • Watch Ceridian’s ACA and Employers: Putting the Pieces Together Webinar
  • Read Navigating the Affordable Care Act White Paper
  • Visit the Ceridian Compliance Center