Plan ahead with Mercer's open enrollment checklist
Employees clearly appreciate their employer-sponsored benefits. According to the 2011 Mercer Workplace Survey, 79% say their benefits are one of the primary reasons they work where they do, and 91% say that getting health benefits through work is just as important as getting a salary. Open enrollment is also a great opportunity to promote the tools and educational materials that help employees make better enrollment decisions. [Image: Shutterstock]
Even before the recent Supreme Court ruling on the federal health care reform law, more than one-third (36%) of employees expected employers to change health plan benefits due to health care reform, more than double the level reported one year earlier. Employers should work with consultants, administrators and other stakeholders now in order to finalize all the requirements to be in compliance and allow enough time to implement and communicate plan changes. [Image: Shutterstock]
90% of employees of Mercers health and benefits administration clients enrolled online during the 2012 open enrollment period. Given that employees are receptive to receiving information online, consider also the cost savings of electronic delivery of open enrollment materials. Other electronic communications like personalized emails, micro-sites and text messages have proven both popular and effective at driving informed employee enrollment behaviors. [Image: Shutterstock]
Employees are increasingly appreciative of and engaged with wellness programs. Of the 61% who report that their company offers such benefits, 30% say they take advantage of these benefits "a great deal" up significantly from 23% in 2010. These programs provide effective forums to drive employee appreciation of and adoption of healthy behaviors, improving both employee engagement and the bottom line. [Image: Thinkstock]
The vast majority of Mercer Outsourcings health and benefits administration clients have their open enrollment windows start and/or end between the last week of October and the first two weeks of November. Consider when you offer your window to allow ample time for critical post-enrollment deliverables such as ID cards and targeted communication and education, particularly as related to health care reform. [Image: Shutterstock]
Against the backdrop of health care reform, planning and prioritizing health benefit programs for 2013 is an immediate need for plan sponsors. Employers may find strategies and tactics for rolling out plans to be more complex. Based on key survey findings, Mercer has developed a short checklist to help ensure an efficient and effective open enrollment season.