Open enrollment will be here soon; now is the time to prepare. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employers with 50 or more full-time employees must hold an open enrollment period. However, different conditions and requirements depend on the size of the business; all still need to be in compliance.
For C-level executives, it’s an opportunity to reassess and delve more into benefit packages, healthcare plans, and the needs of employees. Preparing early will ensure a smooth transition and give employees ample time to make the right decisions. During this time, employers need to communicate effectively with all employees. Here are some ways C-level executives can enhance the open enrollment process.
Important Terms to Know
Some language used when discussing health insurance options isn’t in the simplest terms. Thankfully, Healthcare.gov has a glossary defining standard terms.
A small business has less than 50 full-time employees. The IRS has different reporting and tax requirements for small and large businesses. A large business is considered to have 50 more full-time employees.
A full-time employee is any employee who works an average of at least 30 hours per week for more than 120 days in a year.
Communication is Key
A successful open enrollment is wholly dependent on effective communication. Executives are at the top of the communication tower, and those delivering the messages to employees must understand the information thoroughly. An open line of communication is best. Employees have a right to be able to express their concerns to their employers.
One communication strategy can be holding in-person or virtual meetings. At the end of each session, there should be an allotted time for questions or comments. Communication efforts need to include all remote, hybrid, and in-office employees, and every employee should have the same access to all information.
Some ways to deliver information and communication tools to consider:
- Emails and newsletters
- Short informational videos
- Dedicated website
- Employee surveys
- Google Drive
- Formal and informal blogs
- Company forum
- Microsoft Teams
Different forms of communication are effective as people retain information differently. However, too many apps and tools can be confusing and overwhelming. Designating one or two resources that contain all the vital information (like a website or Basecamp) and one or two communication tools (like emails or Zoom) will be efficient.
Top Strategies to Conducting Open Enrollment
There are several ways to conduct the open enrollment season. It might not be one-size-fits-all, and it can be trial and error to find what works for the entire staff. Exploring different options and keeping track of what is working and what isn’t can help improve open enrollment in the future. Here are a few approaches to consider:
- Ask for input. Discussing strategies among other CEOs and executives can help spark new ideas and learn from each other. Especially with companies of the same size and industry, consulting about different plans can help cut costs and maximize benefits.
- Offer education. Understanding the details of insurance plans is challenging, especially for younger employees. Therefore, educating employees is essential. There can be a series of informational meetings explaining the various aspects of the plans. These meetings should be conducted throughout the year so employees can understand all the benefits offered.
- Get feedback. It’s imperative to gather feedback from employees administering the information as well as those receiving it. This is integral to understanding what is successful and what isn’t. Conducting a company-wide survey could suffice.
- Be clear and concise. Distributing a plethora of information at one time is overwhelming. Using clear and concise language can eliminate any unnecessary memos, meetings, or emails, and it will save time and minimize confusion. This strategy also applies to informing employees on meeting deadlines.
- Collaborate on plans. While open enrollment does focus on health care insurance, it can also be a time to review all health and wellness benefits. Collaborating on different benefits, such as mental health, education, and retirement plans, can help stay within the bottom line. Offering benefits that employees aren’t using can cost the company money in the long run.
- Review dependents. Deliberating on the coverage for dependents is an important condition during open enrollment. If dependents are covered, it might be necessary to conduct a dependent verification review to ensure ineligible dependents (like ex-spouses) aren’t on the plan.
- Work with a broker. Having a broker by your side can guarantee no missed deadlines and help implement benefits. Brokers can be strategic advisors and guide you through open enrollment and year-round, with their access to in-depth information.
The size of the business will affect which strategy is best. It can be easier to facilitate these plans with smaller businesses, and larger ones might need to carry out various methods. Business size also affects tax credits and insurance requirements.
Potential Benefits Package Options
When reviewing health care plans, it’s time to revisit the company’s benefits package. Offering a comprehensive benefits package is imperative for high employee retention and attracting top-performing employees. Here are the top requested and reviewed aspects of benefit packages:
- Mental and behavioral health services – Most health insurance plans don’t cover mental health services, so supplementing those plans with additional programs will highly benefit employee performance.
- Retirement plans – Some people want to start saving for retirement as soon as they enter the workforce. It can be challenging and often inconvenient to find a good retirement plan, and offering a retirement plan for employees eliminates that stress.
- PTO – It’s become more common to have a higher number of paid vacation or mental health days, and it’s a main component when people seek employment. Some employers offer unlimited PTO, which has helped prevent employee burnout and increase performance.
- Flexible hours – Several industries and businesses are steering away from the traditional 9-5 and opting for flexible hours. This is highly beneficial for employees with children or multiple jobs. Along with flexible hours, many businesses are giving employees the option to work in-office, hybrid, or remote.
These are just a few options to take into consideration. C-level executives are in the position to assemble a comprehensive package for their fellow employees. Asking employees for their input will create a positive work environment for everyone.
Open Enrollment with Alltrust
This time of year can be stressful for everyone. A lot rests on the shoulders of C-level executives, which can be distressing. Working with an Alltrust Insurance professional can make this process a bit less trying. Our experts can help every step of the way, even after open enrollment ends. We understand the importance of effective communication and methods to implement plans. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through this open enrollment season.