- For Employees
- For Partners
Open enrollment season is right around the corner. And this year, it’s more important than ever to have a solid plan to ensure your open enrollment is a success.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect employers and employees of all sizes and scopes, employers will be facing even more challenges than in “typical” years—on everything from how to conduct open enrollment itself, to how to communicate all the necessary benefits information, changes and updates employees need to know prior to actually enrolling for 2021.
Everything that’s unfolded over the past months has shown the importance of adaptability—both for employers and employees. As an employer, and as your workforce continues to change and adapt, you need to be prepared for every possible scenario—including making timely decisions to add, modify or end benefit programs, since certain benefits valued in the past may no longer be relevant now and into the future, while others are continuing to grow in popularity and employee demand.
One such benefit option in the rapid growth phase is a high-deductible health plan paired with a health savings account. If you’re not offering an HSA-eligible HDHP option, you and your employees are missing out.
The time is now to plan for a successful open enrollment. Here are some tips and insights to get you well on your way.
How employers communicate effectively with their employees is ever-evolving, and sometimes, the effectiveness of the delivery method is relative to the target demographic. That’s why it’s critical you communicate your open enrollment information through multiple channels to meet the needs of all your employees—printed materials, digital resources, emails, social media posts, videos, group meetings, webcasts and more. When it comes to effective communication, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so you need to be sure you cover all the channels that make sense for your employees.
But be aware, this doesn’t mean bombarding your employees with an overwhelming onslaught of information. You need to be sure your open enrollment details and benefits education are provided in a streamlined, easy-to-understand approach. Oftentimes, that means breaking topics up over time and creating separate communications for the most critical topics—for example, the multiple tax advantages of HSAs. And be sure to use graphics, videos and other engaging elements whenever possible—the less words to read, the better.
On top of having a well-rounded, engaging communication plan, this year, you need to be ready to quickly shift to a fully digital communication approach. It’s not ideal, but this might be a reality you’re already facing if your workforce has been transitioned to working remotely. But even if that’s not the case for your business, it’s still vital you’re prepared to go all-in on an all-digital open enrollment communication plan in the event some or all your employees aren’t able to be in person for your open enrollment period. Think ahead to consider how printed materials, in-person events and other activities can be transitioned to the digital space if needed.
And when it comes to when to communicate, this year, it’s all about proactivity and a “sooner the better” approach. Your employees need extra time to digest your open enrollment information and make informed choices—especially if you’re making substantial changes or updates to your offerings.
Luckily, if you partner with a provider like Bend, you can get a jump on your open enrollment communication strategy and leverage our comprehensive suite of ready-to-use employee resources and tools—everything from printable handouts, to engaging emails, videos and more. All digital or not, you’ll be covered.
While the continued COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created its fair share of stressors, it’s always helpful to look at the upsides—like taking this unique opportunity to use this year’s open enrollment to help promote smarter benefits choices to improve financial outcomes for you and your employees.
Key to this concept is offering an HDHP with an HSA as part of your benefits options. The HDHP/HSA combination is proven to help reduce costs for both employers and employees, while also creating happier, more motivated and empowered employees. And for 2021, HSA-eligible HDHP minimum deductibles remain the same as 2020—$1,400 for individuals and $2,800 for families, while the maximum out-of-pocket limits only rise slightly, to $7,000 for individuals and $14,000 for families.
Whether you need help setting up your first employer-sponsored HSA program, or you just need a fresh perspective on how to make the most of your existing HSA plan, get in touch to request a demo and learn how Bend can help.
Regardless of who you partner with for your benefits and which benefits you actually offer, be sure to focus on the value of your benefits offerings. Don’t get bogged down with too many of the technical details that can be confusing to most employees. Instead, directly highlight the value your offerings provide to your employees—something easily done when you offer an HSA/HDHP combination that benefits everyone.
With the continued rapid rise of HDHPs and HSAs, more and more employers are providing an HDHP/HSA option—sometimes now as the only option—for their employer-sponsored health coverage. It’s crucial that you can effectively help your employees understand how HDHPs and HSAs work together, as well as the many ways they benefit from having them.
HDHPs and HSAs aren’t scary, but they are to many employees, especially those from older demographics who’ve been embedded in the concept of traditional health insurance coverage for their entire working life. On top of that, many employees simply don’t know what HSAs and HDHPs are, and don’t want to take the time and effort to learn, so they automatically bypass the option during open enrollment. And then there are those who actually enroll in an HSA-eligible option, but still don’t understand HSAs and either don’t fully take advantage of their HSA—or worse yet—don’t open an account at all.
As an employer, you definitely have hurdles to clear when it comes to helping your employees understand the benefits of HDHPs and HSAs. Luckily, those hurdles are well defined and able to be cleared with the right approach—one that hinges on you becoming an HSA expert and showing your employees exactly how and why the HDHP/HSA option is the right choice for them.
More often than not, you simply need to combat the top common HSA misconceptions. Check out our blog for our “Dispelling the HSA Myth” series that covers many of the common HSA misconceptions.
Along with debunking HSA myths and misconceptions, your easiest path to getting employee HSA buy-in is by promoting these three simple HSA facts:
Remember, HSAs are nothing to be scared of, for employers or employees. But if you don’t feel comfortable being an HSA expert just yet—don’t fear. Bend is here and ready to help make sure you and your employees get all the information you and they need this open enrollment to make the best, most informed decisions.
We’ve already touched on the importance of providing your employees the critical open enrollment information they need without overwhelming them. But oftentimes, that’s easier said than done. If you’re facing challenges with how and what to provide your employees, take a step back and focus on the facts. And when in doubt, keep it simple.
Basic side-by-side comparisons make it easy for employees to evaluate one option against the next—like an HDHP/HSA option against a traditional health insurance plan. Just by comparing the premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, you provide an extremely useful tool in getting employees to visually see and understand the financial advantages of an HDHP with an HSA.
Real-world examples, like cost-of-care comparisons, can also quickly and easily help employees see how they come out ahead with an HDHP/HSA combination.
And leveraging user personas can help employees easily identify where they fall when it comes to benefits usage while providing them quick insights into how they could make more savvy decisions. Check out Bend’s breakdown of the four main HSA user types and what each means. Whether your employees are HSA non-funders, HSA spenders, HSA savers or HSA investors, we have the tools to help them make the most of their HSAs.
With a proactive and properly timed approach to your open enrollment for 2021, you’ll be able to help your employees avoid the annoyance and dread that typically comes with open enrollment season, while also providing them better options to help make their money work smarter for them. And by providing them with a Bend HSA, you’ll ensure they’re able to take a more active role in their own healthcare while making the most of their health savings account.
We’re here to help you every step of the way, open enrollment and beyond. Get in touch today to learn more.