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3 Open Enrollment Mistakes To Avoid


Worried about open enrollment? Avoid these three mistakes:

1. Not Learning From the Past
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results," which has often been ascribed to Albert Einstein, extends even to open enrollment.
Your open enrollment experience will not improve if you keep making the same mistakes. Sure, highs and lows are expected no matter the season. However, the goal is to learn from previous failures so that the experience can be improved going forward. 

You may find it easy to spot certain mistakes. For example, your use of outdated technology last enrollment season resulted in a tedious, slow-moving process. Obviously, you need a more efficient platform — one that will transform the next open enrollment experience.  

Other mistakes may require you to don your detective hat in order to uncover them. For example, you've noticed a spike in employee turnover, which could be related to your benefits offerings. To get to the bottom of this, you'll need to take a microscopic look at the benefits being offered and conduct surveys to gauge employees' needs and satisfaction levels. Then you'll need to modify your benefits packages accordingly — in time for the upcoming open enrollment. 

2. Overestimating Employees' Benefits Knowledge
Even if you hardly ever get any inquiries from employees about how their benefits packages work, you shouldn't assume that they have all the information they need. Despite their silence, it's possible that they don't fully understand their benefits.

In fact, according to AFLAC's 2018 Workforces Report, only 39% of surveyed employees say they "have a full understanding of their health insurance policy." 

It's important that employees understand their deductibles, copays, in-network providers, out of pocket expenses, qualifying life events, etc. Open enrollment is the perfect time to explain them. Also, make sure you present the information in a way that they can easily grasp, such as by using simple, jargon-free language. 

3. Failing To Use a Broker, Consultant or Third-Party Administrator 
The demands of open enrollment are manifold — and your in-house HR team might not be up for the challenge. 

Bringing in a benefits broker, benefits consultant or TPA can help minimize a lot of the stress that comes with open enrollment. 

The third party can recommend some plan and process improvement strategies based on data that is specific to your population. He or she can also provide answers to hot-button questions and help employees make better choices during open enrollment. 

For example, your benefits broker can help employees understand how their plan usage impacts their finances. Further, he or she can provide data that helps employees choose between their employer's plan or that of their spouse's employer. 

The challenges of open enrollment are formidable. But by learning from the past, educating your employees and leveraging expert assistance, you can have a positive experience.

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Our firm provides the information in this e-newsletter for general guidance only, and does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation.The information is provided "as is," with no assurance or guarantee of completeness, accuracy, or timeliness of the information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability, and fitness for a particular purpose.
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