Check Your Numbers

Anyone who knows me, knows that numbers are not my friend. I once freaked out over a restaurant bill that I thought was $900 when it was really $90. (What’s another zero among friends?)

So I guess it makes sense that I give you this word of warning as you prepare your annual enrollment materials: triple-check your numbers. Making a mistake in your math or transposing a digit in a phone number not only results in misinformation, but embarrassment and possibly the added cost of reprinting. Checking numbers seems so simple, but in our haste, even the best of us have forgone that step.

  • Charts or Examples: Be careful when picking up a chart or example from a previous communication. Make sure all figures are updated to match the upcoming year. Mistakes can also occur when an example is edited through multiple versions of materials. Before you go to print or post the final piece, ask someone new to review the figures to make sure they are correct.
  • Automated comparison tools: If you have an automated plan comparison tool, make sure you update all the numbers used to make the calculations. Have you updated the employee premiums for 2013? Did you reduce the health care flexible spending account limit to $2,500? Did your Health Savings Account limits increase? How about company contributions? Once all the input numbers are corrected, run scenarios for every plan and every level of coverage to make sure it all adds up.
  • Contacts: If you provide a list of contacts, check every URL and call every number to make sure it is accurate. Hint: if you hear heavy breathing on the other end of a toll-free number, you probably need to make a correction.