Open Enrollment Benefits Management

Open enrollment is a period of time each year when companies and their HR professionals, along with their employee benefits broker, evaluate and change the benefits that are offered to employees of the organization.

The benefits offered by companies to employees are coordinated by an employee benefits broker who works with the carriers to provide the benefits. The insurance carriers determine the rates for the benefits, which are subject to change each year. Our Flex HR experts work to streamline the open enrollment process by managing all the communication between the parties to ensure that the proper deductions are taken from each paycheck for the employees once open enrollment has finished.

Open Enrollment Process

Flex HR supports companies throughout the year on their open enrollments. Open enrollment best practices are important to follow to navigate the multiple parties involved in an open enrollment process. The multiple parties in an open enrollment include the following:

  • The company’s leaders who decide on benefits.
  • The company’s employees who receive the benefits.
  • The HR professionals who work as the communication “glue” with the benefits broker, the insurance carriers, the company’s leaders, the company employees, and necessary technology platforms.
  • The benefits broker, who will take their commission from the premiums that are paid to the insurance carriers.
  • The insurance carrier, which collects the premiums and will process any claims that are filed by employees.
Open Enrollment Benefits Management
Open Enrollment Employee Benefits
Open Enrollment Tips

Open Enrollment Steps

1. Flex HR reaches out to the company’s employee benefits broker at least 90 days before the effective date, which is when all the decisions and new rates come to fruition and go into effect.

We then collect a current employee census to work with the benefits broker on the rates for the upcoming year. The effective date can oftentimes be January 1st, but we also see common open enrollment effective dates of April 1st, June 1st, and September 1st. Flex HR ensures that the employee benefits broker is “shopping” the optimum rates to make the best decisions possible for the benefits in the following year.


2. Flex HR unveils its open enrollment communication strategy to the company. When there are so many points of contact conversing during an open enrollment process, it is necessary to have strong communication.

An open enrollment process is similar to a pilot during a flight, speaking about upcoming turbulence and what will be happening, the turbulence when it happens, and the turbulence after it happens to discuss how it was handled and that everyone is all set from here forward. We have developed many best practices for open enrollments after leading numerous efforts at different types of companies.


3. Our Flex HR experts are always available to answer questions freely about open enrollment from company leaders, employee benefits brokers, and employees.

Throughout this process we pass along any important information including the open enrollment document, form, or sample. Our Flex HR professionals are adept at coordinating the various technology platforms, such as Employee Navigator and Ease along with the proprietary benefits platforms within the company’s payroll platform.


4. Flex HR will schedule the meetings necessary to ensure communication among company teams that are in person or working remotely.

Along with the benefits broker we will present the benefits plan information and document that give an overview of the premiums. Flex HR safegaurds that any changes are recorded correctly in the benefits technology software and that it syncs with the payroll technology platform so that in the year’s upcoming paychecks, the correct deductions are taken.


5. Finally, Flex HR will celebrate with the company – its leaders and employees – when another successful open enrollment has passed.

Due to the complexity of choosing a benefits provider, we assign a true benefits specialist to handle all HR benefits solutions and benefits management consulting. Furthermore, the specialist trains employees on how to maintain their choices. We offer structured benefit solutions and help systematize your company’s benefits to increase efficiency of keeping all records and reconciliations up-to-date, and protecting critical employee files.

Open Enrollment Tips

We have composed our best practices suggestions and tips after leading so many open enrollments at various types of companies. Here are some of our tips:

  • After an initial review of health insurance rates in the upcoming year, there might be shifts in the employee census. Keep tabs on any changes in the census and potentially resubmit to see if the rates can be better for the company.
  • Flex HR advises employees to try to avoid doctor’s appointments and surgeries for the days following the effective date after an open enrollment period. There can sometimes be a delay from the insurance carriers in getting new insurance cards in the hands of employees and if possible, it’s better to delay for at least one week after the effective date.
  • We like to perform an audit of the payroll four weeks after the effective date has passed to ensure that all deductions are correct.

Please check out Flex HR’s open enrollment FAQs to get answers to all of your questions about company benefits and the open enrollment period.