Employee Benefits Open Enrollment: HR Industry Experts and Research from SHRM

Open enrollment will be held in the coming months at companies across the United States to allow employees to choose health insurance plans and other benefits.

Open enrollment experts from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Alexandria, Va., are available to discuss upcoming changes and trends employees can anticipate during the 2017 open enrollment season. 

SHRM’s vice president of human resources, Bettina Deynes, says employees can expect a steady uptick in health insurance premiums and deductibles. Additionally, more employers will continue complying with Affordable Care Act reforms that include earlier tax deadlines than last year. Click on this link to view a video from SHRM on What You Need to Know About Open Enrollment.

Employers will also continue implementing high-deductible health plans such as health savings accounts (HSAs) and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). According to the 2016 SHRM Employee Benefits Survey, the percentage of organizations offering HSAs increased from 43 percent to 50 percent in the past year. 

Open enrollment also includes the selection of retirement saving benefits. The benefits survey showed that fewer organizations allowed Roth 401(k) (or similar defined contribution plan) catch-up contributions (75 percent vs. 70 percent) or hardship withdrawals (67 percent vs. 60 percent) in 2016 compared with 2015.

While the focus of open enrollment often entails how it will affect employees, benefits are an important retention and recruiting tool for organizations. According to the upcoming 2016 SHRM Strategic Benefits Survey, about three-fifths (61 percent) of HR professionals indicated that their organizations adjusted health care benefits over the past 12 months to help retain employees at all levels of the organization; about two-thirds (65 percent) made changes to health care benefits to recruit new employees at all levels of the organization.