Open enrollment is an important time when your employees can sign up for healthcare coverage and other benefits for the next calendar year. And since open enrollment for 2023 is right around the corner, now is the time to start preparing for it.

As you follow these benefit open enrollment tips, it’s important to keep in mind the larger objectives. For one, you want enough employees to participate in enrollment to make it worth your investment. Also, when younger generations — including millennials — sign up for healthcare, they can help offset the potential risks associated with less healthy participants. And now that millennials are the largest segment of the workforce, it’s particularly important for them to participate. 

At the same time, younger people experience their own health challenges and expectations. A recent report found that a third of millennials have significant health conditions like depression and type 2 diabetes that impacts their quality of life. They also place a high value on health insurance, with a third of millennials saying they’re likely to take a job with slightly lower pay if the employer offers a more robust health benefits package. 

Bottom line: no matter their age, when your employees enroll in a health insurance plan, they get the coverage they need while you get a healthier (and happier) workforce and a return on your investment — a win-win for everyone. With this in mind, here’s how to prepare for open enrollment to ensure it goes smoothly.  

1. Lean on a broker for support

A benefits broker will vet different healthcare plans and advise you on the best options available - making the process much easier for you and your employees. The key is to work with an independent broker who isn’t connected to specific health insurance carriers. That way they can  develop a benefits package from a variety of carriers, ensuring the best fit for your business and employees. 

It’s also important that your broker is up-to-date on the newest healthcare plans. The health insurance landscape evolves just like everything else, and there are plans today that offer smaller employers the same kind of benefits that were previously only available to larger corporations. Having access to innovative plan options, as well as traditional plans, can also help you narrow down to the best one(s).

2. Look for savings

Health insurance can be a hefty expense, especially as health plan costs keep rising, so the goal is to look for ways you can save money as an employer while also lowering the out-of-pocket costs for your employees. Ideally, you’ll find a cost-effective plan that offers a good menu of benefits and affordable co-pays without skimping on the quality of care. 

In addition to breaking down your organization’s costs, your benefits broker can also help your employees understand their costs by doing price comparisons or directing employees to comparisons that have been developed by individual health plans. Having easy access to this information can save them significant time, headaches, and money.

3. Study up on legislative changes

Staying compliant with legislative changes that impact employee benefits, especially health insurance, is critical. And while your benefits broker should be able to help you navigate any applicable changes, it’s still a good idea to maintain your own level of knowledge about it. 

Changes are going into effect in 2023, so before open enrollment starts, make sure you understand what those changes are and ensure that your business can comply. A few good resources to study are the policy changes by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that affect the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as changes to the ACA out-of-pocket maximums and employer mandate penalties. You should also be aware of any changes to state and local regulations where you operate that impact health and other employee benefits. 

4. Communicate with your employees

Open enrollment only works if everyone knows about it and can participate before the deadline. But employees are also busy and may have to deal with a flurry of messages from multiple people every day — which is why it’s important to cut through the noise with clear, frequent communication via relevant methods.

If you haven’t already done so, start communicating on a regular basis to your entire workforce using the channels they use, such as email, text, in-person meetings, printed materials, and others. Outline the dates of your open enrollment window, reiterate deadlines, and provide instructions on how to log in to the enrollment system and the basics of how the process works. Also, make sure they know how to get help with the process if they need it. 

5. Take advantage of technology

Finally, using a payroll and HR technology solution is another way to make your open enrollment period simpler for not only yourself as an employer, but also for your employees. A solution that offers benefits-related self-service tools through an employee portal gives employees quick, easy ways to find information, get answers to their questions, compare plans, watch videos, and access other enrollment resources — all on their own. 

Open Enrollment season is now. Are you ready? 

When your employees have access to a carefully prepared health benefits portfolio, it could make the difference for them between successfully navigating a health challenge and financial catastrophe. It's worth taking the time to prepare for benefits open enrollment so your employees can easily participate in health benefits. And when you give your employees a positive experience, you’ll receive great repercussions as an employer.


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