If there is one thing that you can be sure of, it’s that benefits seasons will continue to roll around — and continue to cause challenges for HR departments everywhere. There are a range of decisions that need to be made each year, and one of the most important is determining how you can improve the process each year and reduce your overall frustration and pain points. You need to select someone that you can trust to be there when you need them. Plus, they must have the best interests of your organization and your employees in mind at all times. Open and honest conversations between human resources staff and benefits brokers are part of what will make the season flow smoothly. Make sure these 4 questions are answered before you make your final plans for the coming benefits enrollment season.
1. Are You Selecting the Best Option?
With all of the complexities around benefits today, it is challenging for human resources professionals to determine which plan will be the most cost-effective, yet offer the best coverage for your staff members. Benefits brokers are concerned about your best interests, but they may not know everything about your specific business model. While you should always work with individuals and teams that you can trust, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions of your broker to ensure that you have several different options to consider instead of selecting the first offer presented. The makeup of your staff, the sentiment of leadership towards the benefits that you want to offer — all of these points should be considered as you’re selecting which benefits plan is right for your group.
2. Defining Communications Strategies
As an HR professional, you know that nothing is more important to having a successful enrollment than the communication strategy in the months leading up to open enrollment season. Your team is all hands on deck answering questions and ensuring that employees have the information that they need to make an informed decision. Your benefits broker should also be feeling the heat right along with you — and providing you with the necessary backup and a proactive communication strategy that will help keep your project from becoming derailed. Be sure to ask for a detailed communication plan not only for the weeks of open enrollment but for the critical weeks and months leading up to that time.
3. Intuitive Enrollment Process
It’s important to walk through the enrollment process before making a final decision. Many brokers will tell you that their process is easy and intuitive, but you know your staff best. Are there places throughout the online enrollment where people may have questions and get stuck? If so, that’s likely going to mean a call to your office to help answer questions. Unless you have a relatively small office and the staff to walk each individual through personally, having an intuitive online enrollment process is mission critical for your success.
4. Reducing Confusion Through Benefits Brokers
Your benefits broker should be someone who will be able to communicate even the most complex and confusing laws clearly. Healthcare legislation is notoriously convoluted, and if your benefits broker isn’t going to be available to answer staff questions you may find yourself in a sticky situation. Since there are so many legal requirements for maintaining confidentiality with healthcare records, it’s best to have a trained and vetted professional available to answer staff queries. Be wary if your benefits broker doesn’t mention directly that they’ll be available for this type of support. It’s unlikely that you’ll have time to get fully up-to-speed on all the changes in healthcare on a yearly basis, making your broker an important part of your backup plan for the questions that are likely to arise.
Download our complimentary checklist, 10 Steps to a Successful Employee Benefits Rollout, to gain insight on the process and pick up a few tips that will help make your next open enrollment flow smoothly.
Proactive benefits brokers will be used to answering tough questions from staff members, and expect to have a communications strategy in place. When you work with the benefits professionals at CoreMark Insurance Services, you can be assured that we are always open and willing to support your needs through each step of the benefits enrollment process.