Preparing Employees for Open Enrollment 2020: Open Enrollment Education Strategies

It’s that time of year! Open enrollment is that period of time where employers allow employees to enroll in a health plan or make changes to their existing medical coverage, including changing between plans, adding or dropping a dependent or adding an optional benefit, such as a dental plan. It is the employer’s role to assist employees during open enrollment by distributing materials that explain new health options and changes to existing benefits.

As employers, you want to make sure your employees become good healthcare consumers. Health literacy is very important; the better employees understand basic health information and services, the better they are at making informed healthcare decisions. With this in mind, (and with some help from our friends at Zywave, Inc.), we’ve put together some open enrollment education strategies to help employees select the plan option that best meets their needs.

Open Enrollment Education Strategies

Employers should provide the following information…

  • A general summary of what benefits are covered by the plan
  • Limits on coverage, along with limits on coverage for certain conditions
  • Coverage for preventive services, procedures and medications
  • Details on prescription drug coverage
  • Cost-sharing (For example: copayment or coinsurance requirements, deductible, premium contribution)
  • Consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), high deductible health plans or other non-traditional plan types

Employers can improve their open enrollment communication strategies by doing the following…

  • Communicate frequently with employees regarding their health coverage options, but avoid overwhelming employees with too much information.
  • Be honest and direct when discussing health benefits, especially if employees are facing cost increases for their coverage.
  • Discuss the “Five Cs” of enrollment with employees: Cost, coverage information, changes to plans, comparisons to last year’s plans and current options.
  • Provide information to employees about the healthcare providers or networks that will be available to them in new or revised plan options.
  • Use a variety of communication methods, such as the Internet, printed materials and face-to-face discussions.
  • Some groups of employees may need additional assistance, particularly those with mental or physical disabilities, low or fixed incomes, parents of children with special needs and non-English speakers. Without special assistance, these groups may miss open enrollment periods or have large gaps in their coverage.

This article was adapted with permission from the National Business Group on Health article “Primary Care and the Medical Home: Promoting Health, Preventing Disease, and Reducing Cost.” Information presented is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.

Check back with us soon as we post on more topics related to 2020 Open Enrollment. If you are interested in learning more about employee benefits, please contact our Employee Benefits Management Group (EBMG) here or by calling (800) 242-4433.

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