CR Fletcher

2010 Greater Syracuse Business of the Year
C.R. Fletcher Associates, Inc.
Certified NYS Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE)

Surviving Open Enrollment by: Marielle Lanoir, PHR

“Its the most wonderful time of the year”…No, not the holiday season…Open Enrollment!

Many organizations are beginning to buckle down and open their enrollment period for their employees.  During open enrollment, employees are able to opt in or out of their employers health plans and make changes to any benefit plans and options that are in already in existence.

Open enrollment can be a stressful time for not only your HR Department, but also may be stressful for your employees, as individuals are often unsure what the best plan choice may be for them.

Here are a few helpful tips to help both your HR/Benefits Department and employees survive this open enrollment season.

Promote Savings: Explain any “extra” benefits-aside from health and dental- to your employees during open enrollment.  Make sure they understand perks like flexible spending accounts, long term care insurance, group term life insurance, disability insurance, dependent care assistance or any other benefits that your organization might offer enrollment in during this time frame. Effectively communicate how premiums are deducted from their paychecks, what might happen if they terminate employment and other questions they may have pertaining to these benefits.

Educate Employees: It is important that your employees know what type of health plans your organization offers so they can make an educated and informed decision as to what works for their situation. Sometimes the plan that worked last year might not be the best plan for them this year.  In the long run, effectively communicating these plans to your employees will not only be beneficial to your staff, but may also prove to be cost saving to your organization.  Consider setting up a display in your break room that shows a breakdown of various offered plans, so your employees can review the information at their convenience.  You may also benefit from sending out e-mail communications to your staff and allowing them to set up a time to meet with your HR and Benefits Department to ask questions about the various health benefit plans.

SHOP: Per the Affordable Care Act, the SHOP Marketplace is available for employers with 50 or fewer full-time (or equivalent) employees to compare and purchase health plans beginning October 1, 2013.  If your organization is interested in reviewing the SHOP Marketplace, you can visit to learn more.

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