Preparing for virtual open enrollment in 2020. How employers can utilize employee data and streamline communications for successful virtual open enrollment.

Employers are preparing for virtual open enrollment as many employees continue to work remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s more important than ever that employees make informed decisions about their benefits because many organizations have been forced to make significant changes to their benefit plans as they face new economic uncertainty. But that doesn’t mean they will. A survey by MetLife found that employees dread open enrollment almost as much as going to the DMV to renew their driver’s license and 20 percent of them spend only a few minutes reviewing benefits plans before making a selection.

In order to reduce unnecessary costs and ensure that employees enroll in the programs that best suit their needs, employers need to utilize employee data and streamline benefits communications for successful virtual enrollment.

Preparing for Virtual Open Enrollment in 2020

Managing Costs While Meeting Needs

Employers are walking a fine line as they strive to lower program costs while still meeting the needs of their employees. 

Their primary challenges when it comes to healthcare cost-management are the high cost of medical services (67 percent) and specialty drugs (47 percent), according to research by Gallagher. In an effort to reduce unnecessary costs, employers are conducting audits of plan eligibility (18 percent) and claims (15 percent), as well as considering narrow provider networks (14 percent), designated centers of excellence (10 percent) and integrated health and disability management programs (9 percent). 

COVID-19 has also accelerated a trend towards telemedicine as a cost-control tactic. Telemedicine provides employees with socially-distanced care options and is often less costly than standard office visits or trips to emergency rooms and urgent care facilities.

Utilizing Employee Data and Streamlining Communications

Nearly 65 percent of employers use employee-initiated feedback and 45 percent rely on satisfaction and engagement surveys to measure their communication success. Gallagher encourages employers to take a closer look at the data they have at their disposal, like web analytics and portal visits to determine what’s working and what isn’t.

When it comes to communicating for successful virtual open enrollment, employers should focus on sending smaller bite-sized benefits communications that employees can more easily digest, rather than overwhelming all-in-one emails that they’re likely to just skim, if they read them at all. It will also help to clearly identify who employees can reach out to with any questions about programs or offerings.

Open enrollment is just as stressful for employees as it is for employers and moving it fully online inevitably creates some challenges. Sending less bulky communications that break down the process without complicating it will help employees pay closer attention and enroll in the benefits that they can use most.

More on Topics Related to Virtual Open Enrollment and Employee Benefits

HR Trends 2021: Which Benefits Do Employees Value Most?

Top 10 Employee Benefits for 2021

How to Choose Your Benefits Package

Support Workers with Better Employee Benefits

Helping Employees During Coronavirus/COVID-19 Pandemic