Implementing a proper communication strategy can help make annual open enrollment better than it has been in the past. But to do this we’ll need to employ some fresh thinking and creativity. Here are three things you can do to improve your open enrollment process.
1. Communicate with your employees in the mode they’re most likely to respond to.
The best message in the world won’t carry any weight if your employees aren’t reading it. The ways we communicate with one another has rapidly increased over the past few years, thus making communication more complex than ever. This complexity makes it more important than ever to have a multi-layered strategy to communicate annual enrollment info.
Employees may want to receive this information in many different ways such as their computer at home, phone, company portal, or even standard mail. It is vitally important that we provides for reaching our employees in all these different mediums.
But as silly as it would be to only rely on one method for all employees, it would be equally as wasteful to rely on all methods for each employee. All of your employees differ in age, gender, education, and lifestyle. The key is being able to reach each of these employees by their preferred method of contact. A recent survey has shown that 95% of employees aren’t even consulted about their communication preferences. You’d do well to be in the other 5%. Start by simply asking your employees their communication preferences and your open enrollment is guaranteed to be more effective this time around.
2. Use analytical tools to show which plan offers the best value specifically for them.
Every employee looks at the plan selection process differently. When you stop and consider copays, deductibles, past usage, and future usage, there’s no clear cut way to choose a plan design–it’s unique to the individual. But just because the process is different for each employee, does not mean it needs to be a complicated one.
Amazing analytical tools exist now that process last year’s claims for each individual employee and recalculates them to the new plan design. This shows the employee their bottom line dollar amount of predicted out-of-pocket savings for choose one plan over another. Pretty cool right? In our experience most employees switch to the right size plan when they have this information available to them.
Another big issue during open enrollment is finding a physician that works for the employee and is also covered under the given network. Physician finder technologies exist today that provide employees a custom list of in-network choices near their home or workplace, and might even include helpful map snapshots.
If you don’t already offer these tools to your employees, it may be time to start considering it. Using them can add great value to your employees during the open enrollment process this year.
3. Apply predictive analytics to help employees stay engaged with their benefits throughout the year.
Your employees aren’t the only ones that should be thinking about benefits and the coming year. This is also a great time of year for employers to look ahead and set expectations for communicating with employees once they’ve made their selections. If you want your employees to get excited about the value of their health plan, demonstrate to them how their benefits help keep them healthy in the coming year.
Fortune 500 companies are now using the power of predictive analytics to optimize employee engagement and satisfaction with health benefit programs. This program replaces the old generic form of benefits of communication with hyper-personalized messages throughout the year, custom tailored to the health, financial, and lifestyle needs of each individual.
These messages have proven to encourage employees to take empowered action doing things such as preventive screenings or choosing a narrower network to save costs. Such encouragement reduces wasteful healthcare spending and leads to greater employee satisfaction.