Why You Should Reposition Open Enrollment as an Annual Financial Check-Up

Originally published 7/20/21, Updated on 4/26/24.

“Repositioning” has helped companies large and small step into a new era, driving consumers to think about their product or brand in a new way. But it’s not just for larger corporations, your HR team can do the same when it comes to open enrollment. 

As healthcare costs rise with no end in sight, it’s no longer enough to think of open enrollment as the one time a year when employees can choose their benefits. Instead, it’s an integral season that can help your team members plan for their futures, save money, and build wealth.

That’s why we’re challenging you to reframe open enrollment as an annual financial check-up!  

Here are three messages you can use to provide financial guidance and help your employees see open enrollment as their annual financial check-up:

1. Open enrollment is when employees can decide how they’ll spend (and save) their money pre-paycheck.

Your employees probably don’t think twice about checking the batteries in their smoke detectors or scheduling their yearly physicals with their primary care physician. But what is it about the term “annual financial check-up” that makes folks run for the hills?

For one, benefits and finances are stressful and confusing. For one, benefits and finances are stressful and confusing. About half of U.S. adults say it’s difficult to afford healthcare costs. And experts are predicting record increases in healthcare and prescription drug costs. So it all feels a bit daunting.

And, rather than dig into the complicated weeds, employees just keep enrolling in the same health plan over and over again because it’s easier. (91%, to be exact, stick with the same health plan each year). 

Depressing stats, we know! But you can turn it around!

Use this time to remind your people, that if a health plan isn’t working for them, they can switch. If they’re confused about benefits—now’s the time to learn more. If they want to figure out how to save money on healthcare, you can help! 

Open enrollment is the perfect opportunity for employees to save themselves (and your company) money by making smarter benefits decisions.

How can you get this message across?

  • Focus on communicating the pre-paycheck benefits of a 401(k) or HSA. Both of these accounts help employees save money, plus invest so it’s worth more later.
  • Use a benefits engagement software to send out targeted communications with financial guidance. (Hint hint: ALEX can help here). 

We put together some sample 401(k) communication templates for you to use.

2. Open enrollment is when employees can make sure next year’s benefits fit their new needs.

A lot can change in a year. Maybe an employee is planning to have a baby. Perhaps they know they have surgery coming up. Retirement could be looming. They need to enroll in Medicare. Whatever their change in circumstance is, their current medical plan might not be the best financial option for next year.

Ideally, your employees have access to a benefits engagement tool to help walk them through the costs and benefits of each of their options, based on anticipated care and needs. But at the very least, thoughtful messaging can remind them to consider how their big life changes might affect their benefits, and offer financial guidance on options to consider.

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