A recent CNBC article noted that less than 10 percent of employees update their benefits during annual enrollment. (cnbc.com/2017/10/19/90-percent-of-workers-could-botch-their-benefits-picks.html) This is disappointing considering the amount of time and money that employers spend to provide valuable employee benefit options for their team. Whether you have five or 500 employees, let’s look at some potential ways to improve the communication and enrollment process for a successful enrollment season.
I have been in the employee benefit business for 25 years and unfortunately the process has not changed much for some. Either you arrive to find a stack of insurance booklets and enrollment forms or you are handed the same at an enrollment meeting. It is very common to have at least two medical plan options, dental, vision and potentially other plans. Let’s face it, insurance is not the most popular discussion, even if donuts are provided! Sorting through the plans can be confusing. Below are some best practices and ideas for you to consider this year.
Hold Annual Open Enrollment Meetings
First, nearly all businesses use an insurance broker to assist them with the process of evaluating benefit plans prior to renewal. The services of your insurance broker should not stop after this is done! Insurance brokers can facilitate annual enrollment meetings to review plans and answer questions from your team. Often, the insurance company representatives will come as well if they are invited. This is a great opportunity for them to briefly discuss anything new or extra free programs available to your team. So, tap the expertise you have already hired or find a qualified broker to do this for you.
Whether it’s from your health insurance carrier or your insurance broker, you probably have access to an online enrollment system and may not even know about it. Ask! This is a great way communicate employee benefits. These systems walk your employees through all of the available plans, ensures that all of the necessary employee information is captured accurately and allows your team to review their benefits at home with their spouses. This sure beats stacks of documents and multiple enrollment forms.
We all know that time is money and spending 30 minutes to an hour reviewing insurance is not high on many people’s list. While the use of enrollment systems can greatly expedite and simplify the process, they shouldn’t completely replace face to face meetings. Consider holding meetings at times convenient for your team and keep them concise and efficient.
Find Out What Interests Employees
Do you (or your HR team) really know what your employees want in terms of benefits? A survey is a great way to see how effective your current plan is and what options might be of most interest to them. This should not necessarily mean more cost to the employer, either. There are many great voluntary benefits that can be offered to meet these needs. FBN
By Ed Gussio
For more information, please give the team at Crest Insurance/Benefit Logic a call at 928-526-5691!