Open Enrollment

Today, most open enrollment communication efforts use email, webinar or other online tools to market the program and then a website for employees to sign up for their benefits. 

Pre-enrollment campaigns are yearly concept-driven campaigns that start a few months before enrollment and are designed to lead the employees through a smooth and positive enrollment process. This is the time to create the “benefits image” and communicate key goals and objectives through a common theme.  The campaign should pull together all the forms of communication into a concise and clear enrollment message utilizing the internet, newsletters, post cards, movies/videos, enrollment kits, email notifications, banners, posters, table tents, etc. Source: Focus 3 Communications

63% of employers
state employee
top challenge

open enrollment
 View Global Workforce Study

An MBGH 2012 Employer Open Enrollment Benchmarking Survey shared the following insights:
  • 78% of companies manage their own open enrollment function; while 22% utilize an outsourced vendor
  • 80% of respondents utilize an online enrollment system that is accessible from work and from home with a surprising 32% still using paper enrollment forms
  • Employers communicate the open enrollment process to employees in the following ways:
    • 80% send printed materials to the home
    • 73% use email communication
    • 71% offer group meetings
    • 68% utilize their Intranet

Other top challenges cited by employers in rolling out their open enrollment program are 1) Getting employees to enroll by the deadline (57%); Not having enough staff to prepare (42%); and, Not enough budget to do what the employer wants.  A healthy 56% indicate their program is “successful” with almost 40% indicating it is very successful.

Click here to learn what employer’s consider to be best practices in the open enrollment process

A 2012 Aflac Workforces Report indicates that three-quarters of workers who make benefits coverage decisions during open enrollment later regret their decision, while 42% say they have wasted money each year because of mistakes they made with their insurance benefits.  According to Audry Tillman, executive vice president of corporate services at Aflac, “Far too many American workers are making avoidable mistakes in benefits coverage decisions – from not meeting deductible amounts to contributing too little to flexible benefits accounts – and as a result of their lack of understanding or confusion, they often pay a price in multiple ways.”  Study examples include:

  • Not electing available benefit coverage – e.g. vision, dental
  • Choosing the wrong level of coverage and putting too little in the FSA
  • Unexpected out of pocket medical costs resulted in 65% of workers having to make personal and financial sacrifices
True Confessions: What Employees Want You to Know
Source: The ROC Group, Employee Focus Groups      
  • No more, please, I get too much junk mail and too much information from my employer – I usually just toss it.

  • We have something called an HSA, an FSA and an HRA.  I’m afraid to enroll in these because I don’t understand what they are or how to use them.

  •  I have to figure out my plan options and what my husband’s company offers.  Then I have to figure out what we can really afford and what is actually covered.  It’s just too much to ask of one person!

  • One thing I know for sure is every year at the same time I get this huge packet of information that goes into great detail about my benefits.

  • If you’re going to change benefits, give us insight on what the change means.  We can’t change it but at least we understand what we’re getting.

    The ROC Group recommendations for effectively communicating Open Enrollment at your company:

  • Create “just-in-time” pieces (such as decision guides) to simplify the amount of information employees receive during open enrollment -  focusing only on the decisions that need to be made now  OR use "learning maps", a forum for 2-way communication that can help simplify complex information
  • Create your communcations strategy using multiple media (i.e. web site article, posters, digital messages, user guides, text reminders, postcards and whiteboard videos)

  • Create “aha” moments using neuromarketing techniques (e.g. a new field of marketing research that studies consumers' sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli), to help to make your messages memorable

  • Be consistent – Use a central communication channel to make sure your messaging remains consistent and employees know where to go. This will allow for an easy way to streamline updates across all enrollment materials