Skip to main content
Blue @ Work

Preparing for open enrollment during COVID-19

Tips for virtual benefit communication.

By now, we’re all grappling with the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic in many ways. If you sent part or all your workforce home in the spring, you’re likely weighing whether to bring employees back or keep them working remotely. If your employees remained on-site, you had to scramble to ensure additional workplace safety measures and figure out options for COVID-19 testing.

Now, with open enrollment rapidly approaching and social distancing recommendations still in place, you’re facing another hurdle: How are you going to communicate information about annual benefit offerings to your employees?

5 tips to creating a successful virtual benefits fair

  1. BlueSM online Opens in a new window.

    Did you know we have a free, online content platform designed for your employees to enjoy inspirational and informative stories about healthy living, understanding health insurance and more? Not to mention, if they subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter Opens in a new window, they don’t even have to do the digging — we’ll send your employees timely and relevant content straight to their inbox.

    You can use the content, too! Whether you plug and place in an email, intranet article, or newsletter to your employee population, Blue online has something for everyone. Get started with these articles:

    • Shop and compare for quality care. Opens in a new window

      Did you know your employees can estimate their health care costs and check their doctor's quality scores before they go to their appointment? It's as easy as logging into their myWellmark® account.

    • Decoding health insurance jargon.

      Here's one thing we can all agree on — health insurance is confusing. Help your employee's boil down what a CDHC, HDHP, FSA, HMO, PPO and HSA even mean.

    • Common misconceptions about the HMO network. Opens in a new window

      Do your employees see an HMO network as not being able to get the care they need, or be able to make an appointment with a doctor they want to see, or be covered out of state? We break down the common misconceptions and myths surrounding an HMO plan.

    • 10 minutes to understanding insurance terms. Opens in a new window

      Encourage your employees to not wait until they need their health insurance to really understand it. When your employees know the various terms and costs associated, they can save money in the long run.

    • What’s in a network? Opens in a new window

      Share this article with your employees to break down common network types and determine what plan will work best with them.

    • And, there’s even more to share when you visit and visit the Know your Coverage Opens in a new window and Plan Smart pages. There is something for each of your employees to learn, discover and apply to their unique situations.

    • Download, order and print pieces from the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit.

      If you ever find yourself struggling to communicate important information to your employees, look no further than the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit. The Wellmark Marketing Toolkit gives you access to hundreds of marketing materials to help get the conversations started in your workplace.

      We’ve rounded up some of our best open enrollment pieces for you to get started! Log in to the Wellmark Marketing Toolkit Secure Site to access the materials:

      • CDHC, HDHP, HSA: It’s like alphabet soup! (M-20565)
      • Whole-health solutions, Specialty benefits checklist – IA (M-2020967)
      • Whole-health solutions, Specialty benefits checklist – SD (M-3021076)
      • Your go-to guide to choosing a PCP (M-2020980)

      Want more? Check out our comprehensive suite of materials from benefit basics, to large group and small group product information available for you to download, print and share with your employees during open enrollment.

    • Leverage your Wellmark account representative.

      As a Wellmark customer, you have a dedicated account representative who will serve as an extension to your workforce. They will be there every step of the way during your open enrollment process to help answer questions, discuss various product offerings, and determine the best solutions based on your employee data. Don't have your account representatives email handy? Contact at Send Email today!

    • Host a virtual benefits fair.

      If your employees are used to attending in-person events to talk with human resource professionals and connect with benefits providers to help make their open enrollment decisions, they may find it even easier to attend one of these events virtually External Site.

      Instead of carving out a short time slot in their day to gather information and ask questions, they can watch pre-recorded webinars, download materials (psst... use the ones we rounded up for you above), and schedule one-on-one sessions with advisors on their own time. Say hello to a more personalized learning experience.

      Virtual fairs also save significant amounts of time and expense External Site — eliminating the need for travel, set-up and tear-down of booths, and producing single-use banners and other printed materials.

    • myWellmark and open enrollment are the perfect pair.

      No matter how much assistance you may offer during open enrollment, or the quality of materials — unfortunately confusion that leads to dissatisfaction can still happen. And, it’s likely due to an employee selecting an option that’s simply not right for them, being unaware of how to maximize their current an plan’s value, or they don’t know how to look at past usage to properly plan for their future.

      With myWellmark, your employees can maximize their plan by doing an inventory of the care they (and their dependents) have received. This can answer questions and help your employees determine if they should be in a health maintenance organization (HMO), preferred provider organization (PPO), or high-deductible plan (HDHP).

New employee — or new to Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance? Use the myWellmark promotional kit (M-2018789) Secure Site — found on the Marketing Toolkit to explore the different ways you can deliver the information to your employees about this digital benefit.

Need printed materials to send to your employees? No problem.

Simply order or download all of your print-ready materials to send to your employees. Be sure you plan enough time to get them printed and delivered if available. This can also be an opportunity to remind the employee(s) to complete their open enrollment paperwork and send it in the mail if they haven’t had a chance to do so online.

Last but not least — offer one-on-one assistance

The downside to virtual benefits communication is managing all the inevitable questions that will come up. At an in-person fair, employees can ask questions on the spot, as they come up. If you’re communicating your benefits information virtually, ensure you have a few people dedicated to answering questions via email, phone, or live chat during set hours.

Questions? Contact your authorized Wellmark account representative, or email us at Send Email today!