Open enrollment 2018 changes little with ACA still in place
- Open enrollment 2018 should pass with relatively less compliance headaches, says the Star Tribune, mainly since Republican lawmakers failed to undo much at all of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Employers might be tweaking benefits to make them more attractive to job candidates in a tight labor market, but they're not offering earth-shattering plans.
- Benefits experts told the Star Tribune that employers will likely offer more low- to no-cost benefits, such as flexible work schedules and voluntary benefits, or make minor changes to healthcare plans to hold down cost. As of June 2017, benefits make up 32% of employers' compensation costs, says the Tribune, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Although open enrollment is expected to be uneventful, some popular voluntary benefits have emerged, including student debt repayment plans, stand-up desks, pet insurance and financial incentives for wellness programs.
Open enrollment 2018 might be uneventful, but HR managers can make the process successful. HR survival tips include setting specific goals, such as reducing the number of phone calls to the HR department by 20%, accurately measuring employee demographics and communicating enrollment instructions and other information clearly.
Technology has a place in open enrollment with touch-tools and other web-based applications for accessing benefits information and one-on-one guidance. But employees' needs should be the first consideration. They want direct answers to vital questions about their benefits, and employers should make addressing those concerns the primary focus of any tech solution.
Employees don't always know as much about their benefits as they think they do, but HR can raise workers' benefits IQ by making benefits information available year-round — not just during open enrollment.