The open enrollment period; that time in every small business owner and HR managerâ€™s life when questions and paperwork seem to fly in every direction in an effort to get everything done in the small window given to you by your health insurance carrier. No matter how much you prepare, the flurry of information seems to come at a dizzying pace. What can be done to make the open enrollment process smoother?
Before you send out that email blast to let your employees know open enrollment time is near, first get your affairs in order. Here are some guidelines to follow before you begin the journey through the open enrollment period. Youâ€™ll be glad you did.
Open Enrollment Time Means Time to Re-evaluate
This is the time of year when changes can be made to your health insurance plan. It is also a good time to discern whether or not the current benefits carrier(s) you have are the right ones for your organization. It could be that when your fledgling company was just taking root that you signed up for whatever was available to you at a reasonable cost. Things likely have changed since then. Here are some indications that a re-evaluation is needed:
- Change in company size
- Establishment in other geographies (employees in other areas)
- Additional budget available to invest in employee benefits
- Less budget available for benefits
- Dissatisfaction with current benefits plans available
- Rise in cost of benefits over the last couple of years
These are several, but not all-inclusive reasons to re-evaluate what your current employee benefits program is like and decide if this is the one you want to stay with for the next year. Exploring other options may prove to be the time you need to spend in order to get a better deal or more options for benefits.
Get Your Employees Involved Before Open Enrollment Time
The time to ask your employees about their benefits is not when you change them, it is beforehand. Making your employees part of the decision making process can be one of the most fruitful and time saving things you do when it comes to re-evaluating your benefits and getting a better sense of what your employeesâ€™ needs are in a benefits program.
Chances are, your employees are not looking for anything too crazy or out of reach and youâ€™d be amazed at how little they want and what a great impact it can have on morale without putting a dent in your bottom line. Get some feedback before you make any drastic changes or keep something they donâ€™t like. Remember, they are paying too and will appreciate some input on where their hard earned money is being spent as well.
Cheap Benefits Are Not Inexpensive To Your Employees
The draw for cheap monthly premiums is that the monthly cost is small and most employees and employers get sucked into the low figure coming out of their checks every month. The typical problem that lies within these plans is that their co-pays are steep and their deductibles are nearly unaffordable to the average worker. It doesnâ€™t do much good to pay a low premium for benefits to find out it covers so little when you need it.
Health insurance was designed to save people from suffering insurmountable financial burdens when they got sick. Buying into the cheap plan model is not achieving this objective. There are better options if monthly budgets are tight and deductibles need to be kept to a reasonable figure.
A PEO service can be a small business ownerâ€™s best friend when it comes to benefits programs that are robust and affordable at the same time. Because they buy plans in such massive quantities, they can offer the kinds of premium rates that a large employer could. Employees will find that they can feel good about the plans available to them and even enjoy the benefits that were not available to them with the cheap benefits plans before, such as dental and vision coverage, as well as wellness programs.
Before you sign on the dotted line to renew this year through open enrollment time, compare what you have with a PEO service that is best able to suit your needs as a small business. You will likely be pleasantly surprised with what you find.