Top 10 Annual Enrollment Pitfalls

Written by benefitexpress | July 20, 2015

Common Annual Enrollment Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

This list describes 10 common annual enrollment mistakes you'll want to avoid:

1. Getting Buried in Paperwork

Are you still doing paper enrollments? Paper enrollments are tedious and easy to get lost or damaged. Don't even get me started on all the effort it takes to update the carriers with those new elections! Even worse, hardcopy versions contain valuable information that can easily fall into the wrong hands and unintentionally violate HIPAA regulations. By providing your employees with an online enrollment, your employees' information can be securely stored in one convenient location. Also think about all the trees you'll save!

2. Short Memory

People are forgetful; even I forget what I had for breakfast by the time lunch rolls around. That being the case, it's nice for employees to have a summary of their enrollment selections. "But our employees get confirmations mailed to them." That would be a great solution if the post office has never lost a single piece of mail. And even if your employee did receive the confirmation in the mail, has it been unheard of that paper gets tossed or misplaced? Online Enrollment can provide employees with their confirmation statements in their online portal where employees can view it 24/7 and have the ability to print or email it. In addition, HR administrators can easily access it too when needed.

3. Mismanaging COBRA

Termed employees are usually treated like break ups. Contact is awkward and usually avoided when possible. Even though your attention strays to your active population, you can't forget about COBRA requirements. You only have 60 days to notify all participants about any premium changes so it's important to stay on top of dates so as not to incur any penalties.

4. Data Discrepancies

All of your employees have submitted their elections for the year. Time to celebrate? Not yet. Although the elections are completed, payroll deductions have to be correct at the beginning of the year. Last thing you want is an angry mob at your door.

5. Hello? Is Anyone There?

Employees end up having a lot of questions during annual enrollment, ranging from how to log in to which medical plan best fits their needs. Unfortunately, many vendors operate between 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday, which means your employees need to take time from their workday to get their answers. Additional call center support would solve your employee woes.

6. Evidence of Insurability Waiting Game

The Evidence of Insurability process can become quite tiresome. Not only do your employees need to remember to submit the application, you then need to play the waiting game to find out if it's approved. Wouldn't it be easier if employees could directly input the information and instantly receive approval or denial status? It is! Enrolling online can simplify the EOI process and will work with your 3rd party vendors to provide a real time submission experience.

7. Covering Non-Eligible Dependents

End of the year means budget reports! Are you sure you're not going over because of non-eligible dependents? Many organizations cover non-eligible dependents, such as ex-spouses and adult children, and in doing so, have incurred much higher costs. But have no fear! By implementing a Dependent Verification Audit, companies can easily uncover any ineligible members. This process can save you a lot of money and make room in your budget.

8. Wasting HR Time on Communication

Sometimes it can get frustrating to get everyone to enroll in their benefits. Instead of hunting them down and tackling them in a hallway, it's a better idea to set up an e-communications tool so you can easily engage your employee population. Online benefits administration can offer the ability for HR administrators to email or text blast their employees. They can even send each employee their confirmation statement in case they are electing a passive enrollment.

9. Missing Out on FSA

Many employees don't understand how a Flexible Spending Account will benefit them and even if they did, they don't understand how to get the bang for their buck. You can use FSA cost calculators to help employees determine their FSA needs and make the best decision for their situation. It literally tells your employees the exact dollar amount they will save based on their contribution.

10. Underestimating Education

Everyone hates making tough decisions. It's even harder when these decisions affect your loved ones for an ENTIRE year. If your employees aren't benefit experts, annual enrollment can be quite difficult. Let's be honest, most of your employees probably don't know the difference between an HMO and a PPO. So how do you make sure that employees make the right choices without having to swarm your office? Provide them easy to use educational materials. Promote all learning styles by providing employees with libraries, interactive tools, and benefit videos/animations. These helpful tools can be integrated with the enrollment process so employees can easily access the information when they aren't sure about their choice.

Topics: COBRA, Health & Wellness, For Employers