Ways to Improve Open Enrollment

By hrlineup | 20.02.2020

During open enrollment, Employees take up health insurance and are free to make changes they may deem necessary, including canceling their coverage. This is the only period that the employers are free to do so. Benefit programs are often complex, which means that employers and employees have many questions during open enrollment. This enrollment may not be effective unless a few steps are taken to improve it. Here are a few tips you can consider:

  1. Early and Frequent Communication
    To improve, open enrollment meetings, Inform the employees about the event early enough. Provide them with a summary of the available benefits and any changes made in the previous year to enable them to prepare well. You may communicate these a few weeks before the enrollment. Use various communication mediums like memos, emails, webinars and benefits guides. This will ensure that the message reaches as many people as possible.
  2. Active Selections Should be Encouraged
    Let the employees know that if they are not actively involved in benefits selection, they will lose out the following year. Encourage the employees to compare the previous usage with their current needs so that they can make informed decisions. If they make wrong choices, they have to bear with that until the next open enrollment period. Remind the employees to update their beneficiaries’ names and contact details as well.
  3. Provision of Benefits Guide
    The open enrollment session is not complete without a guide. Employees may encounter difficulties while choosing benefits. A benefits broker, if any, should be encouraged to prepare a benefits guide for employees. This may address the frequently asked questions which if addressed may simplify the benefits selection process. Have structured information to ensure that employees can choose what is relevant to them.
  4. Focus on the Value
    Employees are often concerned about the real value of whatever they choose. Inform them of how the benefits contribute to their total compensation. Also, let them know how they can cut their benefit costs. For instance, if they chose to participate in a wellness program, you can suggest ways of reducing premiums.
  5. Additional Resource Consideration
    The provision of multiple resources is key to improve open enrollment meetings. This will enable the employees to select the benefits easily. If the company does not have an officer to attend to employees’ questions, engage a broker to do so. Encourage the employees to review the insurer’s website for further information.
  6. Refer to the Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)
    SBC is a glossary provided during the open enrollment, explaining the common health insurance terms. This should be provided at the beginning of open enrollment. The employer should provide SBC for self-insured employees. For full-insurance, the employer should consult the insurance company for SBC provision. Encourage employees to review the SBC for clarifications about deductibles and costs associated with various medical events.


If you want to attract and retain employees, focus on the benefits. The open enrollment process for employee benefits should be very informative because changes cannot be made until the next enrollment sessions. Ensure adequate preparation for open enrollment session to guide the employees well. They will be motivated if they are encouraged to participate and given the relevant guidelines.