It's mid-September, which means that most magical of times is here yet again. No, we aren't talking about back-to-school, but rather, open enrollment for your employees' health insurance plans. Any HR veteran knows that open enrollment can be a stressful, busy period rife with paperwork, employee questions and administrative hoop-jumping.
But while it's a busy and stressful time of the year to be sure, open enrollment can, with proper knowledge and direction and expert HR services, be a significant opportunity for your company as well, especially as legislation and regulations surrounding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continue to adjust employer responsibilities. Here are a few ways you can reframe your open enrollment to be a positive rather than a negative.
Know what's changing
Not only is open enrollment stressful for managers and HR professionals, but it can be scary for employees as well, who may be worried about if or how their insurance will be changing. While it isn't expected that you be up to date with every subtle nuanced change that is hitting your company's health care plans every year, familiarizing yourself with some of the basic large-scale changes can equip you with the information you need to help assuage your employees' fears and answer some of their more immediate questions.
Expand your communication offerings
If there's one thing that's changed as much as health care legislation in the past several years, it's the number of ways we have to communicate. You're likely no stranger to the emergence of online forums and even social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as they take an increasingly prominent role in people's communications on a daily basis. Why then wouldn't you want to tailor your health care management options to these platforms that you know your employees are already using and are familiar and comfortable with? The Society for Human Resource Management noted some companies that have begun presenting information along a variety of channels, including webinars, in-person information sessions and even physical media branded with QR codes.
Consider going digital
More than just convenience and immediate communication, digital information-sharing platforms can also save you money in more simple ways, like reducing the amount of paper and ink you use to print off physical copies of your company's benefits overview. There are a variety of after-market apps that exist strictly for this purpose.
However, if you're having trouble wading through the vast sea of health care apps, PEO companies may be the prescription you need. These HR professionals can offer expert HR services, including helping you tailor and revamp your benefits experience, without you having to pay the costs associated with supporting an in-house HR department.