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Commercial Insurance

Beyond Open Enrollment: Navigating Employee Benefits in the Long Run

By October 24, 2023December 12th, 2023No Comments

Implementing your organization’s employee benefits program is like leading a marathon team. 

First, you prepare through regular training sessions, aided by internal communications in the weeks and months leading up to Open Enrollment. Next comes the grind of Open Enrollment itself — the equivalent of a marathoner’s high-mileage training runs. And then, the payoff: benefits utilization.

As Open Enrollment rapidly approaches, most of your preparation work should be complete. If all goes as planned, the enrollment period, though challenging, should run fairly smoothly. However, have you considered what comes after Open Enrollment—the ultimate long run, where you put your organization’s benefits program to work? Are you and your team fully prepared for that?

Business leaders, HR professionals, and team members responsible for employee communications can enable their organizations and employees to realize the full value of their benefits programs, making their team’s marathons a success. 

While there won’t be any finishers’ medals, read on to gain a better understanding of how to:

  • Enhance the employee experience by preparing for what comes after Open Enrollment is complete.
  • Utilize proven techniques for keeping employees engaged in their benefits year-round.
  • Provide team members with the resources they need to utilize their benefits whenever the need arises.

Ensuring Access and Understanding

Employees may not remember all the information you provide leading up to and during Open Enrollment, but they should remember where to find it — provided you have the resources in place to serve team members of varying information-gathering preferences. (Regardless of age or occupation, not everyone runs with the same gait or at the same pace.) 

For example, printed material may be preferable for some employees, while those who rely heavily on a mobile device may prefer an app as the primary source of their benefits information. According to a recent Benefits Pro article on the 2022-2023 Aflac WorkForces Report, however, while 82% of employees say it’s very or extremely important to manage their benefits online one-third of employers don’t offer online enrollment or benefits management.

Either way, employees should have at their disposal ready-made packages available for whatever benefit they need, be it mental health counseling, treatment of a critical illness, family leave or distribution of Life Insurance payments. 

Understanding the intricacies of open enrollment and what follows is essential for both employers and employees. By staying informed and making thoughtful decisions, organizations can ensure their benefits program is effectively utilized and valued by their employees.

Engage, Educate, and Empower

The importance of clear, accessible, and easily understandable information for employees cannot be overstated. To facilitate this, HR professionals may need to explain benefit terms and guide employees in choosing their benefits. Also, remember that open enrollment is not a one-size-fits-all process. It’s important to create resources that cater to the various information-gathering preferences of your employees.

Moreover, keeping the team involved in their benefits year-round is crucial. This can be achieved by regularly communicating updates on mandatory health plan notices or changes in contribution limits for 401(k) plans, health FSAs, and Social Security payroll taxes. By doing so, employees can make informed decisions that may affect their take-home pay.

Lastly, it’s essential to prepare for changes that may arise in the future. For instance, the IRS has set a threshold for health plan premium affordability, and HSA contribution limits are increasing for 2023. These changes can impact the value of your benefits program and the satisfaction of your employees.

In the end, the key to successfully navigating employee benefits in the long run is to engage, educate, and empower your employees. By doing this, you can ensure that your organization’s benefits program is not just a sprint during the open enrollment season but a marathon that brings value to your employees all year round.

At Foa & Son, we can help ensure your organization’s employees get the most of the benefits program for which they’ll soon enroll, and provide customized benefits solutions to suit your business’s unique needs.

For more information, reach out to a Foa & Son Trusted Advisor using the link below today.


Employee Benefits

Nicos Mamatos

Foa & Son

Contact Nicos