The number one issue for many of our clients is related to the timing of the annual open enrollment. A poorly planned open enrollment can cause many problems. For example, if there are increased employee contributions required or if the plan changes are significant, last minute communication stating, “Here is your plan, employees. These are your new contributions,” is not going to go over well. It reflects poorly on HR. Another negative effect of an inadequately planned open enrollment is the lack of time employees have to coordinate with their spouse’s plans. Selecting benefits is a big decision for them; you are doing them a disservice if they can’t make the proper decisions because they haven’t been given enough time. Thirdly, a poorly timed open enrollment process doesn’t give HR time to show the management team you are on top of managing the plans properly.
For a number of reasons, technology is very important for human resources in the management of employee benefit plans. The employee is just one constituent to your plan. Employers can do a great job communicating to employees, but they also have spouses and children who interact with the plan. A good technology solution allows those constituents – the spouse and the kids – to actually have access to the information about their plans and about how to use their plans. They are not getting a one-fourth or one-fifth solution. They are getting a full solution for all the members and participants in the plan.
The final cause is mismatched expectations between the employee and the employer. If the employer doesn’t do a good job managing the time or communicating the message, the employees wonder why their deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses are going up, and why their drug plan is changing. Without investing the time to properly conceive a communication plan, employees will not understand why these things are happening. Johnson & Dugan will make sure this doesn’t happen.