In my previous blog, I veered off the typical open enrollment checklist path to discuss some unique things I’ve learned over my 14 years in employee benefits. Here are some additional lessons I’ve learned along the way:

  • Develop and distribute a wallet-sized carrier contact card. There are many times when I’ve said (and been asked by employees), “what's the dental insurance or vision insurance or EAP or FSA Administrator’s phone number?” Providing a wallet-sized card to employees with all of your carrier’s contact information is an easy, low-cost way to provide the information they need at their fingertips, which will also reduce calls and emails to your desk.
  • Provide a pre-open enrollment benefits confirmation statement to each employee. There are a number of opportunities for printing and distributing pre-open enrollment benefits confirmation statements to employees but two that I have found most useful are: 1) Providing an opportunity for employees to recognize and correct any missing or inaccurate data (e.g., home address, dependent social security numbers, etc.) and 2) Highlighting the value of any benefits the employee is not currently enrolled in (e.g., company match if not participating in 401(k), pre-tax flexible spending account benefits)
  • Include any carrier discount opportunities in employee open enrollment packets. Outside of their core product offering, many carriers offer free and/or discounted services to employees that are not commonly advertised. Such offerings often include discounts on fitness, alternative medicine, weight management, LASIK, etc. Check with your carriers to determine if such services are available to your employees (there is a good chance your medical carrier will offer something) and then provide any brochures, etc., in the open enrollment packets.

    Over the past three months, I have had an amazing time writing for Employee Benefit Views. As today is my last official fill-in blog before Kelley returns next week, I want to take the time to reflect on this opportunity and say thank you to everyone associated with it.
    First, thank you Kelley Butler and Andrea Davis for letting me talk about my #2 passion in the world — employee benefits (the first one being my family of course!) I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the confidence and faith you had in me in filling Kelley’s tremendous shoes for the past three months. I hope I made you both proud.

    Second, thank you to all of the Employee Benefit Views’ readers. As the employee benefits industry experiences rapid change, my hope is that I was able to convey my energy and passion in a way that provided some level of value and comic relief to help get you through these crazy days.

    Third, thank you to my family for putting up with me for the past three months. Between being patient with me during my stressful periods of writer’s block to my moments of insane euphoria when I finally figured out what to write about, I appreciate your support. (And yes, I can now take on more responsibilities around the house.)

    Lastly, I want to apologize in advance to those around me. Now that this “blog distraction” is gone, you will once again be my sounding board for everything benefits-related.

    Ed Bray, JD, is director of employee benefits for a major transportation company in Hawaii.

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