Strategies to Make Your Open Enrollment for Employee Benefits During COVID-19 Safe and Successful 

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Open Enrollment Messaging

COVID-19 is disturbing public and private employer and employee operations across the board and the country. The extraordinary challenges and questions posed by COVID-19 has created a storm of emotion around health coverage. 

If your open enrollment for benefits is right around the corner, it couldn’t come at a better time as health coverage is at the forefront of most people’s minds. Having the right coverage in place moving forward is important now, more than ever. 

Given the current remote work environment you and your employees are likely navigating, it’s important to make the right adjustments to your open enrollment strategy to ensure it’s safe, successful, and effective for both you and your employees.

As a leader in benefits consulting, education, marketing and education services for schools and public sector groups, we thought it would be helpful to share some communications strategies to optimize annual open enrollment, and to help keep your teams and employees safe and “covered” during this difficult time.

Keep the Messaging Simple – Yet Comprehensive

When conveying information about benefits and open enrollment in any work environment, especially remote, it’s important to keep the messaging and communication simple – yet comprehensive. To ensure employees understand what benefits are offered, use laymen terms, infographics, provide examples of coverage scenarios, checklists and other tools that will make it easy to see (and understand). 

Take a Multi-Channel Communication Approach

Shatter the one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to communicating to your remote employees. Create a mix of communication channels, such as email, web-meetings, and digital flyers, to reach the same employee in varied ways. 

Host Group Webinar Meetings 

Utilize group webinar meetings to educate employees on their benefits options and any changes in benefits plans. Items such as increased health plan premiums, plan changes, new offerings and additional resources are important to communicate in the beginning of your meetings. Webinars are also a great opportunity for employees to ask questions and get answers. If possible, record the benefits webinar presentation to make it available via a video link for employees to revisit, or for those who missed the meeting to view online.

Offer 1-1 Telephonic Benefit Counseling Support

During any open enrollment environment, it is important to be empathetic towards employee’s unique situations and coverage needs. Offering 1-1 telephonic benefit counseling support gives employees an additional opportunity to ask confidential questions to a trained benefit counselor and to enroll in the right benefit plans for themselves and their family – the first time. 

Enhance Benefits Education with Videos

Crack the multi-generational code by implementing videos with a presentation, such as a Brainshark, into your annual benefits open enrollment process. Everyone learns differently. By utilizing video with presentation, you’re catering to your entire employee base.

Text Message and Calendar Reminders

Text messaging is a great way to communicate to many employees – on a device that is always within arm’s reach. Notifying employees of when the open enrollment starts, resources about their benefits, such a Webinar or Brainshark, where they go to enroll online, where they can go for help. 

Eblasts and Emails

Round out your open enrollment communication strategy with eblasts and emails. Emails are an excellent way to communicate important information to employees and to gather information on what employees are opening, reading and forwarding.

Intranet and Open Enrollment Portal

Last, but definitely not least, ensure all relevant and important information related to Open Enrollment is posted to your Intranet and Enrollment Portal including start and end dates, benefit guides, plan summaries, videos, and HR and carrier contacts for questions and support with their enrollment.

By employing a mixture of the above strategies to your annual Open Enrollment, you can be assured that your employees safely receive the information needed to make informed benefits decisions. 

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Valley Schools, your premier benefits consultants for school districts and government agencies, explores and shares what’s trending in health benefits administration, wellness and coverage options. Contact us today to learn more about how we can support your health and voluntary benefits offerings!

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