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Benefits

Brokers: Let’s Talk Open Enrollment 2023

by Caroline Boyland March 3, 2022

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Yep. We just said 2023.

As you know, it’s never too early to prepare for open enrollment. Taking some time to prepare throughout the year will enable you to provide quality service when your clients need it most.

We took a look at this article from BenefitsPro published in October 2021 about prepping for 2022 open enrollment, and used it to create a reference guide to reflect, plan, and prepare for 2023.

So, how can you start strategizing now for next year’s big push? Read on!

Review and assess 2022 open enrollment

We know it’s been a full year since you prepped for 2022 open enrollment, so let’s run through some reminders of where to begin. You can start by reviewing last year’s performance and the solutions you provided to clients. As a broker, reflecting on each year can provide valuable insight into your strengths and weaknesses. You can start by asking yourself some questions around 2022’s open enrollment, like these:

  • Did HR teams express frustration about parts of the process, or certain policies?
  • Did certain policies perform better than others?
  • Did certain clients experience a more stressful enrollment than others? What was done differently?
  • Did clients lean on you as a thought leader, and did you feel like you were seen as influential?
  • Lastly, did you feel 2022’s open enrollment was a success? Why or why not?

We don’t need to tell you that diving into open enrollment prep can feel overwhelming, so starting these conversations with yourself can enable you to get a better understanding of what you need to focus on for next year. Do you need to focus your marketing efforts on a specific client? Do you need to bring in tech to establish yourself as a trailblazer? Getting to the bottom of what worked and what didn’t work last year will make it a lot easier to prepare for the next.

Never fear, tech’s here!

As the BenefitsPro article points out, people are so, so familiar with technology. In today’s modern world, people are ordering just about everything online—from groceries, to dog food, to even cars.

It can sometimes feel nerve-wracking to introduce new tech—no one wants to scare off HR teams or employees that traditionally experience open enrollment education via pamphlets and lunch-and-learns—but one thing to remember is that people are hard-wired to technology (no pun intended).

Offering virtual decision support throughout open enrollment taps into that mindset. Just like ordering anything else online, consumers can essentially learn about and make all of their purchasing decisions without having to leave their computer. You’re the open enrollment expert, and HR teams will be looking to you for cutting-edge, next-level ideas that will ease their open enrollment pains. In today’s digital world, bringing in technology that leverages AI and machine learning to simplify the open enrollment decision making process can be game changing.

The benefit of thinking about open enrollment for 2023 now means that you have time. Create this infrastructure and bring in technology now, this way you’ll have the time needed to communicate with existing clients and ensure smooth tech onboarding.

You're the expert

HR teams notoriously have a ton on their plates— and to top it off, the pandemic has forced HR to navigate remote work, the great resignation, and a rapidly changing workplace atmosphere.

For your clients, you’re the expert, so remember that in addition to selling benefits, you can provide education. Many HR teams may not know the options they have available when it comes to non traditional benefits. There are so many different types of benefits today outside traditional options like medical, dental, and life—solutions like worksite benefits, mental health, maternity and fertility, and student loan assistance, are just a few that teams may want to implement.

When it comes to planning for open enrollment for 2023, it’s early enough that you have the time to start researching new trends and expectations. You can review changes in benefits packages and anticipate adjustments. HR teams may want new benefits that cater to mainstream employee pain points. You can be the guide, advocate, and human knowledgebase that they need.

If you have clients that struggled preparing for 2022 or have expressed desire to implement different programs post-pandemic, you can take the time now to review a client’s existing benefits and offer suggestions where you see fit. Although it may not be realistic to take a hyper-personalized approach to each client from a time-perspective, reflecting on which of your clients struggled during open enrollment last year can guide you in where to place your focus.

Remember HR's goals

When starting early prep, it’s helpful to remember that every HR team approaches open enrollment with three main objectives.

  1. Finding more hours in the day— an impossible task. HR needs information as soon as possible, and the benefit of prepping for open enrollment this early, means you can get them the information they need before they even need it.
  2. Providing better benefits— better benefits means attracting and retaining employees. Think about how you, as a broker, can make sure that you’re helping them find the best benefits for their employees to empower them to combat The Great Resignation.
  3. Controlling costs— the age old struggle. Understanding that HR is looking to offer benefits in the most cost-effective way is critical. This could look like bringing in tech that ensures more employees are enrolling in voluntary options (so that employers aren’t paying for benefits their employees don’t use), or tech that helps employees find in-network care, so employers don’t get hit with medical bills that the provider won’t pay. All this to say, if you start reflecting on your 2022 strategies now, you’ll be able to have conversations with clients around pain-points early, and you’ll have time to bring in tech sooner than later to ensure smooth onboarding.

There’s no relationship stronger than an employer and their broker. Offer your clients an innovative benefits experience that aligns with their desired outcomes. Learn more about how you can provide the benefits experience your clients deserve, at Nayya.com.

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