3 women talking at conference table (photo by Photo by Yan Krukov)
Planning for Your 2023 Annual Open Enrollment: 4 Strategies to Consider for Greater Success
Sep 26, 2022

Photo by Yan Krukov

Since the pandemic, most employers have seen significant shifts in how to manage open enrollment periods. From big fairs onsite to virtual meetings, and emails sent with pdfs, intranet links, or pre-recorded presentations, there are many variations. This year, more organizations, including educational institutions, are turning to a hybrid model to meet the needs of as many employees as possible.

Whether in person, virtual, or hybrid, edHEALTH’s Vice President Nancy McConaghy shares four simple tips that can help organizations host a more effective annual open enrollment period—for Human Resources staff and employees alike.

1. Communicate
“It is ok to overcommunicate when it comes to health-related benefits,” notes Nancy. It is important that staff understand how benefits may change in the coming year. “With everyone working so hard, it’s easy for employees to miss an email or intranet post. Sharing in different ways helps ensure your employees will read important messages.” notes seven channels for effectively communicating with employees: in person, email, documents, instant messaging, videoconferencing, phone, and social media.

For schools and other campus-based work environments, posting flyers about upcoming fairs or open enrollment in common areas remain an effective way to reinforce emails sent. In fact, the best locations to post are often where the fairs will be held, like a popular conference room or cafeteria, and in other high-traffic areas for employees onsite.

2. Highlight Benefit Changes
It’s no secret that medical costs remain on the rise. The reasons are many, including many people who deferred care during the pandemic have returned to their providers (and, in some cases, with more costly care now). By highlighting changes, e.g. premium or cost-sharing and why, employees will recognize that employers are doing what they can to ensure quality and comprehensive coverage.

It’s also helpful to keep messages short and simple. Including a short preface about why the changes when you first share new benefits information can go a long way.

3. Invite vendors to participate during open enrollment
“There’s nothing better than having your vendors onsite to speak directly with employees,” states Nancy. “Human Resources staff do a phenomenal job with presentations and documents to inform employees about their health benefits. That said, having vendors (like your health plan partners, pharmacy vendors, EAP representatives, or dental carriers) bring added value.” The third party is also valuable in case employees are not comfortable speaking with coworkers directly. 

Since the pandemic, vendors have also found effective ways to attend virtually. Whether in person or via video, your vendor representatives can be extremely helpful in answering employee questions during health fairs or meeting presentations. Employees getting answers right away is a win-win for all involved.

4. One size does not fit all 
Since the pandemic, it’s even more helpful to remember that what works best for one employee doesn’t work for all. When planning for open enrollment, consider the following:

  • People learn in different ways. Recognizing that some employees learn best through conversation, like talking with someone at a health fair, others absorb information when sent in advance so they can review the information on their own time.
  • Employee schedules vary. Depending on your industry, for example in higher education, healthcare, or manufacturing, you may have staff who work late afternoons or evenings. If you are hosting a health fair or presentation, finding a time slot that overlaps with different shifts helps for both attendance and employee appreciation.
  • Different comfort levels since the pandemic. There are many reasons for people feeling differently about group settings these days, be it a chronic condition or immunocompromised family member, a combination of tactics during an annual open enrollment period is valuable. Nancy notes, “In a way, the hybrid model is practical for today’s workplace environment, and a great solution to meet more employees’ preferences.”

While these tips may seem simple or obvious, considering them can really make a positive difference during your upcoming open enrollment period. 

Have questions about any of these suggestions? Please reach out to edHEALTH Vice President Nancy McConaghy.

Additional resource when considering communications
This recent Mercer paper about benefits enrollment highlights some simple but effective ways for Reframing the Employee Experience. It’s a quick read that we recommend.

Read our October Update with Guest Post about the Cost of Musculoskeletal Conditions, Shareable Content for Employees, and More

Oct 31, 2022
Read our October Update with Guest Post about the Cost of Musculoskeletal Conditions, Shareable Content for Employees, and More

Inside our October 2022 newsletter, you'll read about:Our November 2 virtual and free Thought Leadership Series with Human Resources leader Megan NailThe Cos...

Continue Reading

Want to learn what's new at edHEALTH? Read our February update.

Feb 28, 2023
2 female professionals, one looking to advise another

Check out edHEALTH's February 2023 newsletter, featuring: Answers to what Benefit Advisors askInsights from our Captive ManagerMember-owner calendar corner S...

Continue Reading

Resources for Protecting against the Flu Season, Answers to Commonly Asked edHEALTH Finance Questions and More in our November Newsletter

Dec 2, 2022
Resources for Protecting against the Flu Season, Answers to Commonly Asked edHEALTH Finance Questions and More in our November Newsletter

Check out edHEALTH's November 2022 newsletter, which features:What you can do to inform and support employees about flu seasonAnswers to commonly asked quest...

Continue Reading

edHEALTH’s Tracy Hassett Named to Top 20 Captive Owner List 2023

Apr 5, 2023
edHEALTH’s Tracy Hassett Named to Top 20 Captive Owner List 2023

Congratulations to our own President and CEO A. Tracy Hassett. She is named one of Captive Review's Top 20 Captive Owners 2023. Tracy received recognition fo...

Continue Reading

Join Us on Thursday, May 11 for our Spring Thought Leadership Series

Apr 19, 2023
Join Us on Thursday, May 11 for our Spring Thought Leadership Series

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In recognition of this important subject matter, please join us for an honest discussion about the state of mental heal...

Continue Reading

edHEALTH Adds Three Board Members: Bentley University, Emerson College, KIPP Massachusetts Charter represented

Dec 12, 2022
3 New edHEALTH Board Members 12-22

(December 12, 2022) - edHEALTH announced today three new members were elected to the Educators Health LLC Board of Managers and the Educators Health Insuranc...

Continue Reading

Guest Spotlight: The Intersection of Employee Wellness & Pharmacy Costs plus Industry Insights and Member-Owner Updates

May 12, 2023
Photo by Bluewater Sweden

Read our April newsletter for valuable insights and edHEALTH member-owner updates:The Intersection of Employee Wellness & Pharmacy Costs (Guest Spotlight...

Continue Reading

Happy New Year Message from edHEALTH's President and CEO Tracy Hassett

Jan 10, 2023
edHEALTH President and CEO Tracy Hassett headshot 2022

Dear Colleagues,"Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success."These words, attributed to Henry Ford, founder of...

Continue Reading

Spring updates that focus on mental health awareness and creating a healthier workplace

Jun 2, 2023
woman stressing on computer

Check out edHEALTH's May 2023 newsletter, featuring:   Understanding growing behavioral health needs &how to support a healthier workplaceedHEALTH featur...

Continue Reading

President and CEO Invited to Share edHEALTH Story and Captive Savings with Risk & Insurance Magazine

May 22, 2023
college campus with green quad in spring

This spring, edHEALTH President and CEO Tracy Hassett had the honor of being interviewed by Risk & Insurance magazine by Emma Brenner. The  May/June 2023...

Continue Reading

Addressing Today's Changing HR Needs: Tips from 2 Higher Education Leaders and More

Jun 30, 2023
Marymichele Delaney from the College of the Holy Cross,Kristen Jadul form Bentley University, Teri Weber from Spring Consulting Group

Check out edHEALTH's June 2023 newsletter, which highlights:   Changing Times in Human Resources: Leaders Share How They’re Building a Strong Recruitment and...

Continue Reading

Sign up for our free Thought Leadership Series on November 2, read tips for a successful open enrollment and more

Oct 17, 2022
Megan Nail - thought leadership webinar on 11/2/22

In our September newsletter, you'll discover:How to sign up for our free virtual Thought Leadership Series on November 2 with industry leader Megan Nail4 str...

Continue Reading

Tracy Hassett, edHEALTH's President and CEO elected as the new Board Chair

Oct 27, 2022
Tracy Hassett edHEALTH President & CEO

Great news for the Vermont Captive Insurance Association (VCIA), as they've selected edHEALTH President & CEO to be their new Board Chair. The VCIA, one ...

Continue Reading

edHEALTH's 2022 annual report is now available to read

Jun 22, 2023
edHEALTH annual report with numbers on chalkboard and writing

In commemoration of edHEALTH's ten-year anniversary, we published our first annual report. In it, we highlight how we have saved member-owner schools more th...

Continue Reading

Rising Costs of Rx: 3 Ways to Maximize Savings Opportunities with Employees plus HR's FAQ about edHEALTH

Jan 30, 2023
pharmacist behind the counter

What you'll read about in edHEALTH's January 2023 newsletter:Rising costs of Rx: 3 ways to maximize savings opportunities with your employeesAnswers to commo...

Continue Reading
Top shadow

Contact Us


Contact edHEALTH today for more information.