Open enrollment is the period in which health insurance coverage opens up for members to sign up, change, or drop health insurance coverage. In general, this enrollment opportunity occurs annually. Enrolling outside of open enrollment through a special enrollment period requires a significant life event like changing jobs, getting married, or having a child.
The open enrollment process can be painful if not managed correctly. We have some helpful tips that can make your internal open enrollment process run smoothly.
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Make Changes to Forms EARLY
It’s essential to make any changes to forms as soon as possible. Form revisions can be a lengthy process often including input and feedback from multiple departments. The moment a new form or form change rolls out, those changes should be communicated to stakeholders, implemented, and tested as quickly as possible. Some changes can require considerable back end updates to support which takes time to get into place.
Alert Those in Charge of the Data Capture Process
Form revisions may add new coverage options, remove options or change the forms entirely. While some of these changes may seem minor on the surface, they may potentially cause complications for your existing data capture processes. Without making any changes, it’s like trying to put a square peg into a round hole—if the data on the new forms do not match the existing data capture software, it won’t work.
A change to a form, especially a standard form, affects numerous people along the chain. New data capture processes must be configured and tested extensively prior to deployment. This allows the data capture processes to make the necessary updates to capture the new information. This testing also allows the opportunity to make sure that your system can receive the data feed containing the new information from your data capture sources as expected.
Update All Tracking Tools Before Form Release
Many healthcare companies are using tracking tools such as barcodes or QR codes to help identify forms and versions. All of the tracking and code readers need to be updated before form release to ensure that the new forms and versions are seen as valid.
These form identifiers are crucial in tracking a form from beginning to end. A specific QR code, for example, would trigger the software to know that form is an intake form or claim and helps to funnel it into the system properly. If updates are not made to these tracking tools before the forms are released, they could be kicked out of the workflows resulting in manual processes that are inefficient and increase the risk of errors.
Make Forms Available for Enrollees as Early as Possible
Allowing enrollees plenty of time to read through the forms and plans means everything can flow freely when the time comes to enroll. The earlier the forms can be made available, the longer time people have to review them and solidify a plan before open enrollment begins. Making these forms available early also allows time for questions to be asked and answered. All of this helps to streamline the rest of the enrollment process.
Update Your Benefits Enrollment Systems
Benefit enrollment systems allow employers or their employees to enroll and manage their benefits within a simple platform. Although these portals can streamline the enrollment process they still need to be updated to ensure compliance with current coverage options. Changes to benefit offerings, premiums, or other plan structures may require updates to your enrollment portal. Like all changes, these should be configured, communicated and tested early.
It is also important for employers to make sure their staff understands how to use the system. New users may require more time to understand the system if they are unfamiliar with the enrollment platform. Make it a priority to have your enrollees set up their accounts early on so they can navigate the system and bring up any questions they may have before open enrollment begins.
Being unprepared is going to be the biggest reason for hold-ups and struggles during the open enrollment period.
Following these tips helps to ensure a seamless open enrollment process. Smart Data Solutions has created Benequick a benefits enrollment system that can help take some of the pain out of the enrollment process. Feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.