Employer Essentials for Open Enrollment

Here are some tips that may help your open enrollment go smoothly.

Be Concise

Employees can be overwhelmed with information overload about options. Provide a summary in easy-to-understand language about the different types of benefits you offer. Keep it simple by answering common questions like how much it will cost per paycheck and the key features.

Engage Employees

Develop a communication strategy that will reach all of your staff. This could include presentations or an FAQ page on your company’s website that addresses common questions to keep your team in the loop.

Provide Assistance

Designate a contact person or team in your human resources department trained to answer questions and assist employees with enrollment. Keeping the process centralized reduces the chance of incorrect information circulating among your workforce.

Open Enrollment Tips For Employees

Open enrollment is on the horizon, which means workers will soon navigate their benefit options for the next year. Both new and seasoned employees need to carefully review benefit offerings to ensure they take full advantage of their choices.


A lot can change in a year, and coverage that worked last year may not be a good fit anymore. Understand the differences between PPO, HMO, and high-deductible plans. It may be worthwhile to compare each option, factoring in premiums, deductibles, copays, out-of-pocket maximums and possible tax savings.


Employee benefits often include free or low-cost life insurance policies. Review your needs and how you’ll want to protect your loved ones. Usually, these employer-sponsored policies are group plans, and they won’t require underwriting or medical evaluations, which can be invaluable to anyone with preexisting conditions.


Even younger workers can become ill or injured, which is why short-term disability insurance can be a cost-effective way to protect their ability to earn an income. And since some employers may subsidize the cost for disability coverage, be sure you take advantage and secure coverage that fits your needs.


Don’t overlook other perks your employer may offer. For example, HSAs and FSAs can help you save money for health care costs, and dental and vision insurance can cover expenses not included in medical insurance.

Most of the benefits are taken out of your paycheck, pre-tax, lowering your taxable income. Enroll only for benefits you need. And remember, when you leave the job, benefits end, which is why you may need to carry a personal life or disability insurance policy. Be sure to discuss your options with your tax and financial professionals.

Open Enrollment Planning

Open enrollment is an important process that usually takes place November 1 through December 15. But for employers, planning starts much earlier. Planning ahead can result in savings, a smooth enrollment process and ensure you are offering benefits that help recruit and retain the best talent. Here are some tips for success:


Look at the menu of benefits you currently offer. Research has shown that after health insurance, many employees value low-cost options such as flex time, more paid vacation days and work-from-home options.


Assume most employees know little about health insurance and retirement plans. Educate them on the basics.


Consider your employees’ age, education levels, English language skills and tech savvy. Then employ a combination of methods to get the word out. Don’t rely on technology alone. Supplement it with employee meetings, email, envelope stuffers, and direct mail.


Get your plans, benefits and options out to employees a month before open enrollment. This gives your workers time to discuss their benefits with their families.


Tax changes can throw withholding out of whack, so remind your staff to check how much is being withheld from their checks.


Communicate the value of your employee benefits and wellness packages all year round. This will help employees to appreciate that this is part of their compensation.