How do you make open enrollment easier for employees? Making the process simpler so employees can find the right plan to help them manage healthcare costs.

COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for the 49 percent of employees who plan on spending more time researching and selecting health insurance plans during open enrollment this year, according to research by Aflac. 

It’s a welcome shift in behavior considering 92 percent of employees choose the same benefits year after year and spend an average of 33 minutes or less on the task. But most employees can no longer ignore the rising costs of healthcare. Over 90 percent of workers said they were surprised by at least one healthcare cost in the last year.

Another survey, by Voya Financial, found that 53 percent of employees plan to make changes to their benefits coverage in the next open enrollment period and 71 percent plan to take their time reviewing voluntary benefit options offered by their employers.

“With COVID-19 part of our daily lives for the foreseeable future, our new survey reveals that many are focused on ways that they can protect the health and wealth of themselves and their families, and they recognize workplace benefits are a way to do just that,” said Rob Grubka, president of Employee Benefits, Voya Financial. 

Preparing for open enrollment in the midst of a global pandemic is no easy task, but if employers can simplify the process and help employees better understand how different plans can help them manage healthcare costs, it’s a worthy pursuit.

How Do You Make Open Enrollment Easier for Employees?

The most impactful way employers can make open enrollment easier for employees is to give them more information about their benefits outside of the open enrollment period. Over 80 percent of Gen Z, 82 percent of Millenials, 77 percent of Gen X and 70 percent of Baby Boomers agree that they want to receive more information about employee benefits when it isn’t time for open enrollment. 

Traditionally, organizations have an annual meeting or send out an email with bulky attachments to communicate important information about employee benefits. That process doesn’t align with the way people absorb information in a digital age. It’s much more advantageous for employers to send out shorter, bite-sized benefits communications over a longer period of time to improve benefits understanding. Breaking down benefits communications and spreading them out throughout the year could boost employees’ confidence about their benefits knowledgeability and significantly reduce the aversion many employees have to open enrollment as a tedious, confusing process.

According to Aflac, 54 percent of employees experience anxiety about health care costs that are not covered by health insurance, 48 percent admitted they couldn’t pay $1,000 for out-of-pocket medical expenses without relying on debt or credit and most upsetting, 46 percent of employees have delayed medical care because of cost concerns. Employees are clearly overwhelmed by healthcare costs and thankfully, they’re ready to pay closer attention during open enrollment. Now it’s time for employers to make the process easier for them.

More on Topics Related to Open Enrollment and Benefits Communications

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