For some people, Open Enrollment can feel like a chore. You have to sit through long, boring Open Enrollment meetings (trust us, we try to spice things up) and read through stacks of printed materials from your benefits decision toolkit that probably don’t answer all of your questions. Then when the time comes to enroll, you struggle to determine what to do. Especially regarding some of those pre-tax benefit plans which most people aren’t overly familiar with.
One good thing that came out of COVID-19 is the shift toward virtual tools. With this change comes virtual Open Enrollment resources available right at your fingertips. (Keep in mind that your options will vary depending on what your employer offers.)
We’re starting with the obvious one. Clearly there’s no “physical” version of an Open Enrollment video (unless your employer is mailing out DVDs every year). Here are a few types to watch.
- Explainer Videos. These are short videos – typically only a few minutes long – that gives a high-level overview of a particular topic in a fun, easy-to-understand way. Here’s an example of one. You won’t become an expert by any means, but videos like these can provide insight into whether or not a benefit offering is right for you.
- Longer Videos/Webinars. Want to learn more? There are plenty of longer videos (sometimes in the form of a live or recorded webinar) out there that get into the nitty-gritty. Much better than having to read pages and pages of plan documents, right?
- Virtual Open Enrollment Meetings. COVID-19 caused a shift toward virtual meetings, and Open Enrollment is no exception. Having a meeting like this in a virtual space can be great because they are typically recorded. That way, you can re-watch some (or all) of the video at your convenience if you need a refresh on any details.
Which of these sounds better?
- Option 1. Print out a document outlining eligible pre-tax benefits expenses and manually adding up your yearly expenses to determine how much to contribute and what your savings are based on your tax rate.
- Option 2. Use a virtual calculator where you type or select a few things, and the tool does the math for you.
I think you know the answer.
By taking advantage of virtual calculators, you can save a lot of time and effort deciding how much to contribute to the various pre-tax benefit plans.
But, there’s an even better way to estimate your contribution levels…
A Decision Support Tool
This is your swiss-army knife of benefits decision tools – it basically does all of the heavy-lifting for you! It works like this:
- You spend some time telling the tool about yourself and your family, including location, ages, expected medical costs for the year, etc.
- The tool will educate you about your benefits choices (including telling you about the savings you get from enrolling in those pre-tax benefits accounts.
- Based on your needs, you receive personalized recommendations for what benefits to enroll in and how much to contribute if you want to maximize your pre-tax savings.
- At the end, you get a summary of these recommendations that you can use when you enroll.
It’s THAT SIMPLE! And thankfully, more employers are starting to incorporate one into their Open Enrollment process.
Is a decision support tool part of your employer’s benefits decision toolkit? If not, introduce them to BRI Insights. It can do everything described above at a cost that even small to mid-size companies can afford. See the video below to learn more.