Navigating open enrollment: A survival guide for HR teams.

Learn how to conquer the challenges of open enrollment and empower your employees to make smarter healthcare benefits decisions with this step-by-step survival guide.


Preparing for open enrollment is like gearing up for a challenging mountain climb, where careful planning is absolutely essential for achieving success. However, 35% of employees admit that they don't have a general understanding of their healthcare benefits or what plans their company offers. Awareness of the challenges employees face during open enrollment and proactively strategizing how to overcome them is crucial to ensuring a seamless process for HR and their teams.

Just as reaching the top of a mountain offers breathtaking views, navigating open enrollment presents a golden opportunity to positively impact your company's performance and boost employee satisfaction. The fourth quarter is the busiest time for HR teams. But, armed with this step-by-step survival guide, you can ensure your employees can confidently select benefits best suited to their needs, transforming the open enrollment experience.

Step one: Enhance your teams' healthcare literacy.

Healthcare jargon can be incredibly confusing for employees. Imagine a world where you don't have to repeatedly explain the difference between a copay and coinsurance. When your employees understand healthcare terminology, it's like they're hiking on a path with clear trail markers. It can significantly reduce the flood of questions during open enrollment, creating a smoother and less overwhelming experience for everyone involved.

While it may seem straightforward to offer healthcare terminology training before open enrollment, studies show that employees often struggle to retain the information when making decisions both during and after their plan selection. Rather than taking on the responsibility alone, consider partnering with a care navigation solution specializing in customized benefits education and healthcare guidance. Care navigation can serve as an extension of your HR team, helping employees make informed decisions and addressing any questions that arise along the way.

Step two: Meet the needs of all your employees.

41% of employees have expressed that their company could better tailor benefits to address individual needs. The importance of personalizing healthcare benefits is akin to catering to the diverse requirements of a group of hikers navigating a challenging trail. Just as each hiker may have varying skill sets, your employees have unique health-related needs.

While the solutions that employers provide may indeed address the needs of their people, there often needs to be more clarity in understanding how and where to access these benefits. Implementing a care navigation solution can bridge this communication gap. Navigation is a valuable ally that guides employees to solutions such as mental health care and fertility services within their plans. It offers personalized support tailored to each individual, ensuring seamless access to necessary care.

Step three: Boost employee benefit awareness.

Employees don't have a good understanding of what healthcare benefits their employers offer. To make matters even more challenging, health plans can change yearly as new options are added to the mix. Just as selecting a trail that suits your comfort level is essential for a successful hike, so is choosing a health plan that aligns with your needs. When decision time rolls around, nearly half of employees feel compelled to choose the most expensive health insurance option, regardless of their situation, driving up costs for themselves and plan sponsors.

HR teams use various channels to communicate benefit options during open enrollment, but many employees only educate themselves on specific benefits when using them. A single source for benefit information, like navigation, can help employers during open enrollment and beyond. These solutions provide employees with comprehensive insights into available health plans, offer guidance on selecting a plan, and help identify which plan best aligns with their and their families' unique healthcare needs.

Step four: Provide your employees with post-open enrollment support.

You’ve reached the top of the mountain. Now what? Employees don't know where to turn when they have questions after open enrollment. When it comes to actually using the plan they selected, they may have questions like, "How do deductibles work?" and "Is my current doctor still in-network?" The complex healthcare landscape leaves employees feeling stranded, often relying solely on their HR team for assistance.

HR teams are inundated with employee healthcare questions and requests but are constrained by limited resources, staffing, and medical knowledge to provide comprehensive guidance. The solution? An external partner that offers personalized, one-on-one clinical guidance for employees, lightening the load on the HR team. With a clinical navigation solution in place, employees can tackle all their healthcare questions and concerns, including understanding benefits, finding top-tier providers, and resolving billing issues.

Your compass for a successful open enrollment journey.

As your team gears up for open enrollment, remember that with the right strategies, knowledge, and partners, you can conquer the challenges that lie ahead. Care navigation steps in as an expert trail guide for employees during the benefits decision process. It educates employees about the most suitable healthcare benefits during open enrollment and continues to deliver high-touch, personalized support to transform the employee experience and lower healthcare spend.

With this four-step survival guide in your toolkit, you can navigate open enrollment successfully, ensuring a smoother journey for your team and employees.

Ready to conquer the open enrollment summit? Let's talk.

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