HR’s 5-Step Pre-Open Enrollment Checklist

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Spring is in the air and summer is right around the corner. While this time of year is enjoyable for most, it doesn’t mean that HR can take a nice, long summer vacation. Open enrollment will be here before we know it, and adequate prep is essential for a successful enrollment.

Start the OE planning party early with this quick checklist to make sure you are on track!

1.) Audit Your HR Technology Stack

HR is constantly changing and evolving, and it’s important to invest in a tech stack that changes and evolves with the industry.

Are you using multiple solutions for different functions? Are your solutions easy to use alone, and do they play nicely with each other? Are you still managing processes manually via paper? These are all questions you should be evaluating on a regular basis.

benefits technology stack

Technology is an investment—for your team, for your company and for your employees. If you think a robust HR tech stack is too expensive, consider the cost of having an antiquated system, or worse, not using technology at all. Manual or outdated processes are cumbersome, time-consuming and put your company at risk for non-compliance through careless errors.

Mitigate these concerns by thoughtfully auditing your current processes and evaluating how it could be better.  

2.) Verify Plan Participants and Dependents

Not only are ineligible dependents an expensive problem to fund, but also a potential compliance risk.

For self-funded medical plans, using employee contributions to fund the claim payment of ineligible dependents is a major ERISA violation. Furthermore, ineligible dependents can put self-funded plans at risk for stop-loss exposure.

For publicly-traded companies, Sarbanes Oxley requires stringent fiduciary oversight of benefits spending.

Identifying and eliminating ineligible dependents from your group health plan will ensure that you are fully compliant with current health care regulations.

And don’t take our word for it—see how Grand Rapids Public Schools save over $800,000 annually through a simple dependent audit!

Tip: Calculate your potential savings with this handy calculator

3.) Consider New Plan and Benefit Options

Are you considering switching carriers or adding new benefit options? If so, now is the time to act. And even if switching things up isn’t on your radar, remaining open to change is essential to staying on top of changes.

benefits plan configuration

It’s no secret that the cost of providing health care has consistently gotten more expensive, and benefits cost control is a top priority for HR teams. A carrier or plan change is one way to continue offering competitive benefits while keeping costs in check. Additionally, your broker might have special relationships with technology vendors or carriers, by which they could negotiate a more competitive deal.

Connect with your broker early in the season to discuss benefit plan options and changes so you will have plenty of time to address any necessary updates.  

4.) Prepare Your OE Comms

You might have the best benefits program and enrollment technology ever, but it won’t matter in the least if you don’t communicate with your employees.

To be effective and to resonate with the various demographics within a diverse workforce, OE communication takes careful planning and consideration. Luckily, there are plenty of free tools available to help you do just that.

For a fun and relatable twist, pick a theme for your OE and tailor your comms accordingly. Check out these free print templates for inspiration!

Email is still one of the most important and effective ways to communicate OE information. Follow email best practices to make your announcements engaging, and don’t rely too heavily on just email to get the job done.

Text message alerts are another great way to get in front of employees and don’t underestimate the power of video for communication and education; an open enrollment video postcard is a quick and effective way to communicate essential OE information while short educational videos can be used in multiple spots throughout the education and enrollment experience.

Download this free Open Enrollment Playbook for a complete guide on how to plan, execute and measure the perfect OE!

5.) Review Plans With Broker/Adviser

Pencil in time with your broker to review last year’s OE stats, discuss any proposed plan or technology changes and come up with a game plan for this year. It will likely take several weeks or even a few months to implement any changes or create the necessary communication materials, so the earlier in the season you connect, the better!

employee benefits meeting

Are you on track for a smooth and successful open enrollment?

For more tips and learning, check out our Open Enrollment Planning Playbook, and subscribe to our newsletter below to get fresh HR insight delivered right to your inbox. 

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