Here are some enrollment season tips for TPAs during the hectic open enrollment season.
It’s open enrollment time. That means third party administrators are making their rounds, visiting their clients and setting up their plans before the start of the 2018 plan year. We’ve put together some enrollment season tips for benefits administrators in order to help them make it through this stressful season.
Enrollment Season Tips for Benefits Administrators
Know Your Audience
Each employer group will be a little different, so tailor your presentation accordingly. After all, a group of machinists or firefighters will have a different outlook than a group of lawyers. Are any of your groups women or minority-owned? Are your groups located in the heart of the city, in the suburbs, or within a small town? Is one group primarily Millennials, Generation X, or Baby Boomers (or a combination)?
All of these factors (and more) should be taken into account to make sure you deliver an effective presentation that helps maximize participation rates.
Engage (and Educate) Your Clients
Speaking of participation rates…one thing that can be difficult for employees is understanding the value and use of the benefits available to them. This is especially true for groups with high deductible health plans and companies who use consumer directed healthcare accounts.
In order to help people better understand their benefits, consider adopting a robust employee engagement program. A top-of-the-line program should have enrollment materials for you to hand out with simple, easy-to-understand information; short educational videos; a website for participants seeking more details; and an active social media presence.
Understand Your System
Whether you use a cloud-based benefits platform or an on-premises system, you should know your software’s strengths and weaknesses. Some important things to consider:
- Does it allow online enrollment?
- Is it easy to set up plans and employer groups?
- Can participants access their account information through a web portal?
These factors can make a world of difference when it comes time for signing up your groups and can help ease the workload during this hectic season. Also, you should create a contingency plan in case things go awry with your software at the wrong time (while frustrating, this can help you keep your sanity).
Forms and Other Important Information
Make sure you have all the information you need to get people signed up. Did your groups’ insurance rates go up? Has the IRS updated contribution limits for HSAs or FSAs, or requirements for certain benefits? Double-check the forms and brochures that you are using to ensure that all the data and information is current.
Healthcare is a sensitive issue and can be very costly for some people. That means that things can get heated at enrollment meetings, especially if people are seeing a dramatic rate increase. Also, some people are looking for answers to tough questions. Do your best to show empathy towards your clients’ concerns, which can help diffuse some of the tension. If you’re facing an especially tough (or personal) inquiry, ask the person to meet with you one-on-one after the meeting is over.
Other enrollment season tips include (from TheBalance.com):
- Make this a team effort: Along with the HR team, look at Open Enrollment (OE) as a full team effort between all members of [the third-party administrator team], the management team, the technology support team, and employee leaders. Do not try to tackle any aspect of OE alone.
- Stick to a daily checklist: As you enter the days before, during, and after open enrollment, be sure to keep a checklist of things to work on and accomplishments made. This reduces stress and avoids any last minute snafus.
- Take care of the team: During open enrollment, it’s important to have a constant check-in as to who is feeling the stress, who needs a break, and who is not feeling up to the tasks. Make sure to emphasize work life balance, and plan some mid-way fun events.
- And more! Read more tips here.