After open enrollment: 3 strategies to help keep employees engaged in their benefits

From guided enrollment experiences filled with bite-sized education, to systems that make calculating and creating auto-deductions quick and easy, the benefits enrollment process is constantly becoming more convenient.

That’s good news, considering most employees are spending less than 18 minutes enrolling in their benefits during open enrollment, with over 40% waiting until the last third of enrollment season.1  A few clicks of the mouse, and it’s off the to-do list; another year of coverage and contributions are confirmed and on the way.

This set-it-and-forget-it convenience, however, can come with consequences. For example, an employee that doesn’t know the details of his or her supplemental health insurance could miss an opportunity when it’s time to make a claim.

Voya Employee Benefits recently kicked off a few initiatives to bring those benefits back to the forefront.

“We are taking steps to increase communication throughout the year instead of simply at the time of sale or enrollment, with the goal of striking the right balance of getting clients the information they need to make decisions or use their benefits without creating too much clutter,” said Mona Zielke, senior vice president, Voya Employee Benefits claims and operations, in a recent interview with BenefitsPro.

“In some cases, this does mean increasing communications. In others, it means taking a different approach. We work to be flexible so we can provide the unique experience each client prefers, as well as to adjust our approach based on feedback, outcomes or actions taken based on the communication.”

Stay in touch with easy-to-use education

During recent customer experience work2, the Voya team had the opportunity to talk to employees about how to improve the way they access and use their benefits. What they heard over and over is that employees would appreciate meaningful touchpoints throughout the year reminding them what they enrolled in and how they can use their benefits.

With that in mind, the Voya team began creating digital tools that employers can leverage any time of year—not just during annual enrollment. For example, an online Employee Benefits Resource Center gives employers a self-service option to share with employees that includes the details they may be looking for after an illness, injury or hospital stay.

Another option is email; employers who want to remind their employees to file wellness claims or offer additional education can gain access to pre-made email campaigns through their Voya Employee Benefits client representatives.

Get to know product-to-product claim integration

Another way that Voya Employee Benefits proactively reminds employees about their insurance benefits is through product-to-product claim integration. The intent isn’t to replace the process of filing a claim; instead it’s intended to remind covered employees who may have forgotten about a benefit that an additional claim may be available. This initiative was piloted with select employers in 2019, and will be rolled out more widely in 2020.

Here’s how it works: When a claim for a product such as Short Term Disability Income Insurance (STD) is approved, the claims management team looks at the case and checks to see if the employee has additional insurance coverage through Voya Employee Benefits that may apply. If the employee’s original claim was due to an accident, for example, and the employee also has Accident Insurance, the Voya team will reach out to let the employee know they may be eligible for additional covered benefits.

During the pilot, the team saw multiple cases where reminders to employees with approved STD claims resulted in additional Accident, Critical Illness* or Hospital Indemnity Insurance claims. For example, one woman3 was in an accident, which resulted in an approved STD claim. Her employer had paid for Accident coverage, so it may not have been top of mind that she had that coverage as well.

After this employee’s STD claim was paid, Voya reminded her of the potential to file an additional claim through her employer-paid Accident Insurance coverage. Soon after, she filed a claim, which was processed and approved based on the policy provisions. She received a benefit payment of over $2,500 at a time when she may have needed help catching up on bills or even her mortgage.

Voya Employee Benefits’ product-to-product claim integration currently exists for supplemental health insurance products like Accident**, Hospital Indemnity**, and Critical Illness** Insurance, as well as Short Term Disability Income Insurance. Integration is also available between Group Annual Term Life and Accident Insurance. For more information, contact your Voya Employee Benefits client representative.

Keep an eye out for medical claim integration

Another recent trend in employee benefits is the use of medical data to trigger employee claim reminders. This capability will arrive soon at Voya Employee Benefits as well. In the coming months, you’ll be hearing more about how employees with supplemental health insurance products like Accident, Critical Illness, and Hospital Indemnity Insurance will be able to benefit from this medical claim integration.

These three initiatives are just a few examples of the work Voya Employee Benefits is doing to support you in keeping your employees engaged in their employee benefits. For more information, contact your Voya Employee Benefits representative.



* Critical Illness may be referred to as Specified Disease in some states. 

** Accident, Critical Illness and Hospital Confinement Indemnity Insurance are limited benefit policies.  They are not health insurance and do not satisfy the requirement of minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 


PlanSource Benefits Benchmark, 2019

2 Customer experience work in first quarter of 2019 included interviews with current customers, reviews of call center interactions and focus group conversations, among other initiatives.

3 This customer example took place in April/May 2019; some details have been omitted to maintain confidentiality. Amounts are shown for illustrative purposes only.  Actual results may vary based on each group’s policy provisions.  For a complete description of available benefits, see your certificate of insurance and any riders.   






Insurance products are issued by ReliaStar Life Insurance Company (Minneapolis, MN) and ReliaStar Life Insurance Company of New York (Woodbury, NY). Within the State of New York, only ReliaStar Life Insurance Company of New York is admitted, and its products issued. Both are members of the Voya® family of companies. Voya Employee Benefits is a division of both companies. Product availability and specific provisions may vary by state.

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