There are some things in life you can procrastinate on and still enjoy smooth sailing. Open Enrollment planning, unfortunately, is not one of them.
By planning ahead, you’ll have more time to evaluate your current benefits program and explore new options that can better meet the needs of your team. Offering a comprehensive and competitive benefits package can help attract and retain top talent while also promoting employee health and financial wellness. It’s a lot to consider and to plan… even if you get started in advance.
Don’t fear: Montani is ready to assist you in navigating the complex world of employee benefits and creating a package tailored to your company’s needs and budget.
We’re planners – you could say thinking ahead is our thing – so here is a suggested timeline of steps to take from midyear until year’s end (if you operate on the calendar year) to be prepared for Open Enrollment.
Timeline of Open Enrollment (OE) Preparation:
6 Months Pre-OE: Look Back & Think Ahead
Coordinate a call with your insurance broker or partner to go over a full review and benchmarking of the previous calendar year as well as a review of the current year-to-date data. During these conversations, discuss benefit changes and potential new benefit offerings so your benefits partner can begin research. You can pencil in Open Enrollment dates that best fit your team’s schedule. For organizations that operate on the calendar year, we always suggest trying to end OE before Thanksgiving at the latest to ensure all end-of-year administration can be completed in December. Some carriers require OE data to be submitted before Thanksgiving.
Suggested Meeting Attendees: HR Benefits Specialist, relevant HR team members, Insurance Partner team
3-4 Months Pre-OE: Make Desicisons with Leadership
Schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss the logistics and finances of the proposed changes and potential new offerings. This is the meeting we suggest you dive into the nitty-gritty of the financial side of things. This ensures that once final renewal numbers come out (in October for calendar-year companies), everyone is on the same page for the direction of the organization. This is also a great meeting to start the actual OE process planning. We’re talking about communication, employee meetings, and all of the to-do’s that make Open Enrollment a smooth experience for employees.
Meeting Attendees: Leadership / Company Financial Decision Makers, HR Benefits Specialist, relevant HR team members, Insurance Partner team
1 Month Pre-OE: Renewal Rate Conversations
This is the meeting during which all of the financial decisions are made regarding employee and employer contributions, as well as what changes are being finalized. At this point, most planning items can be buttoned up nearly all of the way.
Meeting Attendees: Leadership / Company Financial Decision Makers, HR Benefits Specialist, relevant HR team members, Insurance Broker team
The month of OE: Open Enrollment Begins!
This is where HR gets to shine. Creating a great employee experience around OE can reduce benefit confusion and allow for employees to take ownership of their benefits. We suggest HR team members hold virtual office hours for employees during this time to ensure you are available when employees need assistance.