Sms Texting Can Make Open Enrollment In 2023 A Smoother Process
How SMS Texting Can Make Open Enrollment In 2023 a Smoother Process
Health insurance is integral to workforce efficiency, as it ensures your employees are protected should unexpected injuries and illnesses strike. Oftentimes, the issue doesn’t lie with making health insurance available. Rather, many employees struggle to understand their various options and the benefits offered. The open enrollment season compounds this problem by providing only a small window in which to sign up for health insurance or change plans. And missing out could mean no healthcare coverage for a whole year! When open enrollment season nears, it’s crucial for your HR department to reach out to employees and keep them informed. Here, business texting can give you a huge advantage.
Setting up business texting is relatively simple, though businesses hoping to maximize the benefits should utilize certain best practices. This includes starting your texting campaign well before the open enrollment season begins. Further, keep the messages running throughout the season, with reminders of deadlines and links to useful information. Before implementing your text messaging program, you’ll need a good contact list scrubber—like Landline Remover—to ensure that not one cent of your texting budget is wasted.
What Is Open Enrollment Season?
Perhaps the most important time of the year for all things health insurance related is open enrollment. This is when new customers have the chance to sign up for health insurance, and existing customers can change their current health insurance plan.
Most health insurance types subscribe to the open enrollment season system, including Medicare and individual market health insurance. Job-based health insurance also uses the open-enrollment season. In addition, employees are free to unenroll from an employee-provided plan during this time if they no longer want coverage.
Health insurance sales marketing is extra busy during open enrollment season, as clients who miss this opportunity will probably have to wait until the next open enrollment period, unless they experience a qualifying event. For these reasons it’s vitally important to establish reliable communication channels—such as business texting—to help your employees make the most of open enrollment season.
When Is Open Enrollment Season For 2023?
Open enrollment takes place in the fall before the year insurance takes effect. This year’s open enrollment season began on November 1, and will run until December 15. Meanwhile, Medicare open enrollment runs a slightly different time frame—from October 15 to December 7.
In certain situations, employees can sign up outside of the open enrollment season if they’ve experienced a qualifying event. Examples include marriage, having a baby, changing jobs moving to a new state, change of citizenship status, or losing health insurance.
Why Is There an Open Enrollment Season?
But why do we need the stress of an open enrollment season at all? Wouldn’t it be easier for people to sign up whenever they wanted? In theory, yes. However, the reality of health insurance is somewhat different.
People seldom think about health insurance when they’re fit and healthy. It’s often an incident such as an unexpected illness or injury that forces them to take it seriously. Unfortunately, this means that it’s typically people with pre-existing health issues who seek out health insurance first—a phenomenon that greatly skews risk against health insurance providers.
If only sick people enroll in health insurance plans, then insurers will never recoup enough from premiums to pay for healthcare! The open enrollment season prevents this. Everyone—sick or not—is encouraged to take up health insurance during this period. Additionally, it stops people from only signing up during their hour of need.
The open enrollment season benefits health insurance providers because they’re not obliged to take on excessive risk. The system also benefits their clients, who have the opportunity to sign up while they’re still healthy. As a result, they avoid incurring the steep premiums associated with an emergency sign-up.
Common Challenges During Open Enrollment Season
When expertly executed, open enrollment leaves all your employees covered with the best health insurance plan for their unique needs. Conversely, if bungled, it results in confusion and frustration. Moreover, the company could incur additional costs as a result of incorrect payroll deductions.
The HR department usually takes the brunt of it—including having to manage all the queries and applications from employees. And in a worst-case scenario, employees might miss the open enrollment season altogether.
That said, with the necessary skills and knowledge, these hurdles are not insurmountable. Fortunately, there are also several tools at your disposal, including business texting, which can improve communication channels between employers and employees.
Planning is Crucial
Open enrollment comes at an already incredibly busy time—the end of the year, which is also a time when HR is usually wrapping up several other projects. Further, the HR department can wind up feeling overworked and undervalued if they don’t have the right tools to adequately deal with what’s asked of them. As the famous quote goes, “the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” Likewise, the time to prepare for open enrollment is long before it comes around.
How should HR departments deal with this challenge? Planning well in advance is essential. Preferably, work 90 days ahead of the open enrollment period. By doing this, you stop any single department from being flooded. It also provides enough time for each team member to work toward putting their best foot forward.
Pay particular attention to crafting your enrollment plan. Start by assessing your strategies from previous years. Highlight what worked and make sure to replicate these features in your next plan. However, don’t only pay attention to the good things. Also scrutinize the areas that were less successful, and make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Determining contribution strategies is another important planning requirement. This entails apportioning costs between the company and its employees. This includes preparing enrollment packages as well as forms, plan summaries, and benefit certificates. Furthermore, update HR software now to incorporate significant data such as plan documents (including new plans) and rates. As time is often an issue, check there’s enough leeway to test and finalize benefit schedules and enrollment guidelines.
Communication is Key
There’s no use providing health insurance with plenty of attractive benefits if employees aren’t aware when enrollment season is or what they should do about it. Moreover, it’s important for them to know what health insurance benefits are offered along with the advantages of each plan. These issues underline just how critical clear communication can be. Ideally, you should inform employees of all their options, provided you don’t flood them with too much information.
Terminology may be an obstacle to effective communication around health insurance. For example, in everyday conversation, it’s unlikely you’ll use terms like deductibles, premiums, and co-insurance. Furthermore, employees may not be sure which plan is most suitable for their needs. There are so many options available and it can be overwhelming at times. When you don’t properly communicate what sets each plan apart, employees may find it difficult to determine which plan is the best fit for them.
Choosing the Best Communication Channel
There are several communication channels for getting your message across and streamlining the enrollment process. They all have benefits as well as disadvantages.
Email is commonly used for marketing and sharing information. While it gets the job done, email often ends up in the spam folder—or it’s just ignored. Face-to-face meetings can be incredibly impactful. Furthermore, they make people feel valued. That said, they tend to be overly time-intensive and may be hard to schedule during a busy period.
The Power of Business Texting
Business texting is one of the most efficient ways of maintaining a connection with your employees. According to statistics, adults check their phones 352 times daily. Unlike emails, people seldom ignore texts. Furthermore, texting feels far more informal and personal than an email. Messaging can also improve employee-employer relationships.
Use business texting in various contexts throughout the open enrollment season. For example:
- Send bulk texts to alert employees when open enrollment season is about to begin or when there are major policy changes
- Set up auto-reply texts to help employees find answers to frequently asked questions
- If an SMS isn’t enough to help an employee understand a specific term or what the benefits of a certain plan are, an MMS might be more effective. However, be aware that you could run into issues if your recipient isn’t using a compatible device.
Texting is also extremely useful when you need the recipient to take some action. This is thanks to an SMS’s 98% open-rate in comparison to an email’s 20% open-rate. Your important reminders won’t be ignored, leading to fewer missed deadlines. Furthermore, once an employee has signed up for a health insurance plan, you can send a text confirming that they are officially covered.
All these examples are opportunities to ensure that there’s always clear and open communication. Employees appreciate being in the loop, and the improved communication will do wonders for employee satisfaction levels.
How Insurance Salespeople Play a Role In Open Enrollment
When open enrollment season hits, employees can choose whether to stick with their current plan or switch to a new one—sometimes with an entirely new provider. There are many factors to account for when deciding whether a plan is worth it. Things to consider include the deductibles, which is how much money has to be paid out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in. And don’t forget about disability insurance. After all, wouldn’t you want to make sure you’d be taken care of if you were temporarily, or even permanently, unable to work?
Wellness resources are another aspect of healthcare plans that’s becoming increasingly important. Employees and health insurers understand just how critical physical and mental health can be to one’s overall well-being. Examples of wellness resources include stress-management classes and financial coaching, as well as fitness incentives in the form of gym discounts.
As much as HR strives to educate and advise employees on their different health insurance options, there’s likely too much for them to contend with on their own. Consequently, HR is beginning to reach out to insurance agents for assistance. For instance, a benefits broker has specialized knowledge that helps them put together customized packages for company employees. As a result, employees get the best possible deals while the HR department enjoys a reduced workload.
Leveraging Multichannel Communication Channels
A multichannel approach is fundamental to finding the right communication method that resonates with each individual. For example, older employees may prefer more traditional communication techniques, such as printouts and in-person meetings. Conversely, younger members of staff could opt for virtual open enrollment where everything is done online.
Although some people will respond positively to email, business texting has a proven track record of appealing to a wide and diverse spectrum of individuals. Further, unlike most HR teams, insurance brokers have the time and resources to assist and advise businesses regarding the preferred communication methods. Together, this makes open enrollment a simpler and smoother process.
How Can Business Texting Help During Open Enrollment Season?
Being able to send and receive information with ease is a prerequisite for successful communication during the open enrollment period. This holds true whether you need to relay details about a new health plan or simply remind employees about upcoming enrollment deadlines.
Business Texting Improves the Open Enrollment Experience
Many companies use business texting in their telemarking campaigns—with great success. Text messaging is also the perfect communication channel for a problem-free open enrollment season.
In addition to alerting employees to the upcoming enrollment season, business texts can include links that provide more information about the process. Chances are you’ll also need to send plenty of other reminders during this critical period. Once again, business texting can give you the upper hand. Send tests whenever there’s new information or events to be shared, or to remind employees about final cut-off dates for enrollment.
Texts tend to be quite a concise and direct form of communication, comprising no more than a few sentences. On their own, they can only deliver essential information. However, despite these limitations, texts also have the capacity to steer employees toward other resources. For example, a text might include a link to a webpage or educational video explaining the different facets of health insurance and the plans on offer.
The more informed employees are, the fewer mistakes they’ll make during the enrollment process. But don’t leave it to the last minute. With missed deadlines and misplaced or incorrectly filled forms, errors are liable to creep. The more you’re able to reduce the error rate, the more smoothly the entire process is likely to proceed. Moreover, nobody will be left without coverage.
Business texting doesn’t have to be limited to the enrollment season. Use it throughout the year to keep your employees informed. Often, workers don’t take advantage of the benefits they’re eligible for because they’re unaware these benefits even exist. Text reminders could include topics such as seasonal flu shots, COVID-19 vaccinations, and more. Not only do these messages help employees see the benefits of health insurance, they also help to keep the workforce healthy.
Best Practices in Improving Open Enrollment Season Through Business Texting
By now, the benefits of business texting should be clear. However, before diving in headfirst, there are some best practices you should take note of. For starters, employees may need to sign-up to receive text messages. This hurdle can be off-putting for some, in which case offering incentives might be a useful tactic. Gift cards and discount vouchers are just some of the rewards you can provide. Nobody likes turning down free stuff.
Effective business texting strategies usually require some form of employee segmentation—often according to demographics. For example, mothers might make up one group and the elderly another. This helps HR departments target these groups with relevant material. For instance, when texting mothers, highlight healthcare plans with good maternity benefits.
In addition, employees appreciate confirmation texts once they’ve completed a significant task. They don’t want to be left wondering whether HR has received their forms or whether the change they’ve requested has been acknowledged. A quick confirmation text instills confidence that the company has everything under control.
Optimize Business Texting Campaigns
The open enrollment season is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a time when HR departments can feel stretched to their limits. On the other side of the coin, if you plan accordingly, it can be a time to add value to the lives of your employees. Part of planning should entail figuring out how you’re going to communicate with both old and new employees. In today’s world, you’re spoiled for choice. By all mean embrace new communication channels such as social media, but don’t forget about the value of text messaging.
The power of business texting means that it continues to find applications in a variety of scenarios, even those not directly connected to marketing. Moreover, bulk texting is exceptionally cost-effective. That’s provided you’re not wasting money on a contact list filled with inactive mobile numbers or—worse yet—landline numbers.
Good Business Texting Requires Good Contact List Scrubbing
As your contact list expands, it’s likely to pick up fake numbers, disconnected numbers, and landline numbers. You don’t want to needlessly rack up expenses by texting these dead ends. However, with some companies squandering up to 30% of their business texting budget on landline numbers, the need for a solution is obvious.
As a further consideration, you should factor in entities such as the Do-Not-Call (DNC) Registry, which is managed by the Federal Trade Commission. Since 2003, customers have been able to opt out of receiving telemarketing information by submitting their numbers to the registry. Businesses that contact numbers on the DNC Registry may be liable to very big fines. The onus is on telemarketers to ensure that their contact lists are free of numbers appearing on the registry.
Landline Remover Is the Solution
Landline Remover is the contact list scrubber you need. It’s simple to use, and it saves you big money. All you have to do is upload a CSV file containing your contacts, and in seconds you’ll know which numbers are mobile numbers and which aren’t.
There are other contact list scrubbers on the market, but they don’t have the same levels of accuracy. Landline Remover uses current data obtained from the Federal and State levels that’s no more than 72 hours old. As such, you don’t have to worry about violating the DNC Registry.
Landline Remover can vastly improve your business texting, and you don’t have to go broke to reap the benefits. We avoid complicated subscription tiers and instead only charge you for what you use. At $0.002 per number checked—or $2 for 1,000 numbers—it’s the most cost-effective way to scrub your contact list. Sign up with Landline Remover today and get 1,000 credits free!