How to Prevent Benefits Enrollment Catastrophes

Human Resources (HR) employees have a lot to juggle. With open enrollment being one of their more important and stressful tasks, it is vital that HR understands the common pitfalls for employees trying to sign up for health insurance. Knowing what issues trip up employees can help HR professionals implement solutions and strategies to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Missing Deadlines

Employees miss open enrollment deadlines for a variety of reasons. While HR professionals can’t do much about employees who procrastinate, they can fine-tune their approach to help employees in unusual job situations. For example, truck drivers spend a significant portion of their time on the road. It’s possible for them to be gone from their homes for weeks at a time, leaving little opportunity to address other responsibilities.

Many companies mail home reminders about open enrollment or send out emails. However, for truck drivers, this can be problematic. They can miss mailed information due to being on the road. They can also miss emails since they can’t check their smartphones while driving. By the time they reach their destination, a mountain of other pressing emails could be burying the open enrollment notification. Another problem is confusing websites. Even if the driver does realize the open enrollment deadline is soon, he or she may run out of time from not understanding how to navigate the benefit’s website.

How to Prevent It

Truck drivers are just one example of the people who miss open enrollment due to outside circumstances. Any individual that travels often for work or works unusual hours could wind up in the above scenario. To prevent this from happening HR can put the following practices into place:

  • Don’t add to the email clutter. Sending email reminders may seem like a great communication strategy, but it’s easy for employees to overlook messages mired within dozens of other daily emails. Instead, HR should take a note from marketing strategist and build a communication plan that is compelling and hard to miss. For example, employees receive a lot of junk mail and can overlook an email notification. However, it’s easy to connect with Millennials and Generation Z over apps or social media. Consider sending out notifications via a company app or social platforms to reach them. Baby Boomers and Generation X still prefer face-to-face interactions, but a phone call can suffice as well. Get their attention in person or over the phone to ensure they remain cognizant of open enrollment.
  • Build an app. Employees who are on the go need solutions they can access anywhere—this means a mobile app. The app should include benefits information, simple explanations for various plans, clear notifications about deadlines, and help tools in case they run into trouble.
  • Improve the user experience. Technology baffles some employees. While this isn’t usually the case for younger generations, an outdated or difficult to navigate website can confuse them just as easily as it can Boomers and Gen Xers. To address this, HR needs to make sure their website is intuitive. If employees have to follow several instructions or navigate to multiple different pages, they are likely to put off the task, forget it, or do it wrong.

Employees who miss open enrollment or don’t understand their options can end up uninsured or underinsured. Healthcare is of vital importance to employees across the board, and failing to obtain is erodes their trust in their company as well as their morale. Contact the experts at The Reilly Company to learn more about the importance of employee benefits.