Employee reading open enrollment communication

Open enrollment communication gets more challenging every year: plans are more complex and it’s becoming more and more important to educate employees so they become better health care consumers. So how do you cut through the clutter to get employees’ attention and encourage them to take action?

Start with the 7 C’​s. By using these characteristics—cost, candor, context, coverage, comparisons, changes and choices—you can simplify information and create focus. As a result, your communication will give employees a better understanding, higher satisfaction and greater confidence in making the right decisions.

The first question employees have is “How much?” So make sure information about costs is right upfront.

When communicating increases or other negative changes to coverage, don’t attempt to spin, package or sugar-coat the truth—or you run the risk of damaging credibility. Use candor; give employees the straight story.

But feel free to put your company’s cost increase in context, by providing information about how your plan compares those at other organizations or in your region.

Some employees will read all the material you send them; most want the information in an at-a-glance format. Use a simple table or colorful chart to highlight coverage. Provide a bulleted list of options and explain in simple language what the plan includes. Outline deductibles, co-pays, emergency room information and link to details if employees have questions.

Show how this year’s plan stacks up against last year’s by providing a side-by-side comparison. When possible, explain why changes were made. If changes are as a result of employee feedback, make sure to mention it; letting employees know their opinions were heard builds credibility.

What’s new? Call out what’s different about this year’s plan and explain new actions employees need to take to ensure coverage. If you want employees to be proactive about their benefit choices, they need to know what’s new and how it affects them.

Outline new plan options in a way that connects with employees. Individual scenarios are a great way to highlight why a plan may work well for a single mother and not a family of four. Highlight lesser-known benefits like dependent care or domestic partner benefits.





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