Compliance 2/23/2023

Updating Your SPDs? Ask Yourself These Questions.

After you’ve cleaned up all the loose ends from Open Enrollment, it’s often time to take a look at your summary plan descriptions (SPDs). Or, as some have been known to call them: seriously painful documents.

If you made major changes to your medical plans, you should consider updating your SPDs to keep them current. We encourage you to focus more on the summary, less on the heavy descriptions (or at least put these in the back).

First, Ask Yourself These Questions

  • Does the “need to know” information come sooner than the “nice to know” information?
  • Is the content well organized and consistently formatted from section to section?
  • Did you write it in the second person (“you” vs. “employee”)?
  • Do your sentences have 14 words or less?
  • Is the text formatted in two columns? Eyes get tired reading across a full page.
  • Do you use bold subheads to make the text easy to scan?
  • If you post your SPDs online, is it easy to jump to a certain section? Maybe through a table of contents with live links to pages?

Then, Follow This Expert Advice

After years of experience, we’ve learned the secrets to creating a document that employees will actually read and use. This downloadable includes our tips.

Check this list to ensure your SPD is readable, easy to scan, and speaks to employees clearly and concisely.