Open Enrollment Improvements in 4 Steps

Open enrollment can be a confusing time for your employees. The key to a successful open enrollment is communication. From increasing and varying your types of communication to leveraging your team to create discussion, there are ways you can increase employee understanding and participation.

  1. Invest in health care literacy. This includes helping your employees understand key terms, concepts, and processes—especially if there are new coverage options. If employees don’t understand these concepts, they will not be able to make educated decisions about their coverage needs. This should be a year-round effort, not just during open enrollment.
  2. Active enrollment, versus allowing employees to roll over coverage can help them understand the options (especially if there are new plans available). Providing one-on-one support during open enrollment can also help employees better understand their options.
  3. Use a variety of methods to communicate with employees about benefits. This can be via email, print, or in person. People learn differently, and it’s better to have more communication than less.
  4. Discuss options in person. Utilize all your human capital when you are discussing benefits. Brokers, HR staff, etc. can all help explain benefits to your employees and can help boost their confidence in the benefits process.

Employees who understand their benefits will make better decisions about what type of plan and supplemental plans will be the best for them.


300,000+ Healthcare Workers Left the Workforce in 2021

Citing reasons from retirement to burnout and pandemic-related stress, hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses, physician assistants, etc. left the workforce last year.

Doctors and nurse practitioners who worked in family, internal, and emergency medicine left medicine at higher rates. Clinical psychologists, physical therapists, and licensed, clinical social workers also left their fields at high rates. According to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), 45% of doctors are older than age 55 and more than 40% of active physicians will be 65 or older in the next 10 years. The average age of nurses is 57. Many of those are choosing retirement and leaving the field, leaving large gaps in staffing.

Source: Fierce Healthcare

Workers’ Wages Increased as Premiums Cost Less

Worker wages rising faster than the cost of job-based health insurance premiums. Bucking historic trends, workers’ wages are rising faster than the cost of their health insurance. The average pay rose 6.7% while health premium increases were just up 1%. However, experts say this is going to be a short-lived phenomenon.

The Kaiser Family Foundation did a study and found that two factors contributed to the slowdown in the cost of premiums. During the pandemic, there was a temporary decline in health services, and second, insurance rates were set in the summer and fall of 2021 before inflation was foreseeable. Experts say this could be the calm before the storm, as inflation will certainly affect the rates for next year.


Job Insecurity Gives Workers Pause in Benefit Choices

Workers are rethinking how they use health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts due to insecurity about their jobs. Workers are planning to contribute less to these plans than in the past.

Consumers spent $491 billion on out-of-pocket medical expenses in 2021. Of that, only $95 billion used pre-tax accounts, which means consumers and employers are missing out on billions in tax savings. Survey findings show that consumers are more focused on reducing short-term expenses than long-term investments.


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