While surgery center management teams typically pay careful attention to the financial ins-and-outs of employee benefits, mid- and line-level employees are often too busy to think much about benefits, and may find making important decisions about benefits to be an annual exercise in confusion or even frustration when Open Enrollment season rolls around.

MedHQ’s CEO Tom Jacobs says Human Resources professionals who communicate well with employees — who help them understand the unfamiliar language and concepts of benefits offerings — ease the way through Open Enrollment and help employees make better choices for themselves and their families. Preventing confusion helps refocus employees on the positives of the benefits they’re offered through their employer.

“There are a number of communications tactics that help prepare employees for Open Enrollment season,” Jacobs says, “from getting an early start, to providing clear summary materials that help employees see the big picture before they start making choices. I’m a big proponent of one-to-one interviews during open enrollment as well. If employees can get their specific questions answered, they’ll make better decisions.”

Following are a few additional tips for starting the conversation, explaining key terms, and educating employees to help them make good benefits choices:

  • Frame up key questions: Beyond the standard question-and-answer document specific to your company’s benefits, it is often helpful to prompt employees with questions about their own lives so they consider any health and relationship changes before making their open enrollment selections.
  • Summarize government policy changes impacting choices: with all the information swirling about the Affordable Care Act, many people are confused. Open Enrollment season is a great time to help employees understand how policies affect them.
  • Outline changes to your company’s offerings: are there new benefits being offered, shifts in shared costs, or new options for employee-paid offerings? For example, today’s financial reality for many means opting for a high deductible plan. Clearly delineating what’s different helps employees understand both costs and benefits.

For companies with calendar-year benefit plans, Open Enrollment often takes place over in November. The time is now for HR professionals to get ahead of employee questions with carefully planned communications. For more information on effectively managing Open Enrollment season, contact MedHQ.  

If your company is interested in learning how MedHQ can assist your ASC with HR services, request an evaluation.