The Complete Guide to Open Enrollment For Employers

Open Enrollment for group health insurance is a busy time for employers, but it’s still important to make sure your employees are taken care of. This year, the Open Enrollment period runs from November 1st to December 15th. During this time, you can choose new benefits or review and change existing health insurance benefits for your employees. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Check out our tips below, then speak to a GHQ agent about finding the perfect plan for your business.

Does your Small Business Qualify for Group Health Insurance?

If you’re new to offering group health insurance to your employees, you might be wondering how you qualify to offer it. The good news is that it’s actually pretty simple – and more likely than not, your business will qualify! In order to offer group health insurance, you need to have at least one full-time employee who is not the business owner, or the spouse of the business owner. Additionally, your business needs to be legally registered as a business entity in your state. Finally, you’ll need to contribute at least 50% of your employees’ monthly premiums. Once you’ve met these qualifications, you’ll be ready to open enrollment for your employees! 

Why Should You Take Advantage of Open Enrollment?

Your business qualifies to offer group health insurance, but should you? And if you’ve already got a plan in place, why review it during Open Enrollment? Below are a few very good reasons to do both:

You and your employees can save

Enrolling in a group health insurance plan is often cheaper than enrolling in an individual plan. On top of that, the more employees you can get to sign up, the cheaper the plan could be.

Life changing events mean changes in insurance needs

If you do already offer group health, you definitely need to take advantage of Open Enrollment and use this time to reassess you and your employees’ needs. Has any major life event occurred, like births, deaths, or marriages? If so, you might be able to find a plan that offers better or more personalized coverage for a better price.

Group Health Can Mean Tax Advantages

Who doesn’t love to save on their taxes? Take this time to look into ways you could be saving, like checking if you qualify for the small business health care tax credit, or by choosing to offer tax-advantaged healthcare options, like HSAs, FSAs, or HRAs.

What Should You Be Thinking About When Choosing a Plan?

Another important basic step in the process: knowing what you should be thinking about when exploring your options. Here are 4 key factors that should go into your decision-making process:

Costs associated with the plan

You’ll want to consider how much employees want to pay in premiums, while also remembering that you have to contribute at least 50% of the amount each month. Also keep in mind things like deductibles, copays, and coinsurance that can all add up, depending on how often your employees access medical services. 

The metal tiers of available plans

The so-called metal tiers of plans: Platinum, Gold Silver and Bronze can be a little confusing. There is no relation to the quality or level of care provided by each one; rather they indicate what percentage you will pay towards covered benefits – for example popular silver coverage usually costs 70%, with the insured paying the remaining 30%. 

The type of plan you want 

In addition to choosing a metal tier, you’ll also have to consider what type of plan you want to offer to your employees. For example, you can choose from HMO, PPO, POS, and EPO plans; each of these types of plan will offer different price points.

Insurance companies

Check out which insurance companies offer plans in your area, and what their networks look like; you want to be sure that they offer affordable care in locations that are convenient for your employees.

What Should Employees Consider?

The open enrollment period is a time for employees to reassess their needs and make changes to their health insurance plans accordingly. As an employer, you can help guide your employees in making the best choices for themselves and their families by telling them to take the following factors into consideration.

When employees are ready to enroll in a health care plan, the first thing they should do is look at what’s available and compare it with their budget. They might also want or need coverage for dependents like children (if applicable), so this part of open enrollment will be an important factor as well, especially if any changes were made since last year that meet those needs better than before! By taking these factors into consideration together we can help our loved ones find an option tailored just right for them during “open” time here on healthcare exchanges.

Top Open Enrollment Tips for Employers

Group health insurance can be a bit overwhelming, especially since studies show that 35% of employees have little to no understanding of their healthcare coverage! Not only does this leave 65% with feelings of confusion. Additionally , studies say that 22% feel anxious and stressed during open enrollment time. We understand trying find answers on your own for these complicated subjects may seem impossible, so that’s why we’ve put together some tips below: 

Go digital

You don’t have to print out reams of paper, or have endless meetings with employees about benefits. Save paper, and time, by offering everything in PDF form. It also may be beneficial to consider holding a virtual benefits fair, which employees will be able to access when it’s most convenient for them.

Keep it simple

When emailing employees about their benefits, be as concise as possible, with price per paycheck and benefits clearly laid out, using language that is easy to understand. It is also best practice to include FAQ sheets that you get from your insurer, as well as a glossary of terms and acronyms. 

Send out a survey

While you do have to be mindful about privacy when it comes to employees’ health, there is no reason why you can’t send out an anonymous survey to find out what your employees are most interested in when it comes to their insurance plan, so you can either make a choice to change the plan you’re offering, or can recommend the right plan to them.

Be creative with your communication

Email is great, but you have tons of options when it comes to follow-up communication and reminders about enrollment, including:

  • Text messages
  • A dedicated intranet webpage
  • Videos on screens in common spaces
  • Notices on paychecks
  • A chat channel


Group Health Quotes is a free service that connects employers with dedicated agents who can help them through the process of open enrollment. Our knowledgeable staff will find fast, accurate quotes and sign you up for an excellent plan – all without any hassle or obligation! To get started today simply enter your zip code in our bar above or call (877)658-2374 to speak directly with one of our customer support representatives.

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