EBA’s OERB finds employers struggling with key open enrollment tasks

Many organizations behind in reviewing compliance issues, setting objectives and designing communications.

NEW YORK, NY (December 1, 2017) Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark (OERB) finds many organizations with benefit start dates in the first quarter of 2018 scrambling to review compliance issues, set objectives and design communication programs to explain new insurance rates, deductibles and other changes.

The open enrollment period, which usually takes place in the fourth quarter for U.S. companies, is a critical time for employers as they look to engage their staffs in health and retirement planning. As employers were beginning their open enrollment, however, many were behind in completing key readiness tasks. The composite OERB score stood at just 52, with employers indicating they were behind in reviewing staff eligibility, creating goals and discussing benefits with workers.

The OERB tallies employer self-assessments in 26 activities that need to be completed in four critical stages for a successful benefit sign-up period, with no progress receiving a score of zero and completed tasks earning a score of 100.

At this point in the year, employers have very little time to maneuver. Yet benefit experts say advisers can still assist clients by helping them quickly build communications programs that explain rate changes and other plan adjustments–critical information employees need before making benefit decisions.

“Employers are pretty much out of time,” said John McCormick, Editorial Director of SourceMedia’s Employee Benefits group, which includes EBA and Employee Benefit News. “Hopefully, they have trusted benefit advisers who can get them across the finish line.”

The Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark is a data-based performance benchmark that gauges how prepared employers are for their annual employee benefits enrollment periods. The benchmark is sponsored by ADP. To produce the results, SourceMedia Research and EBA each month survey more than 400 pre-screened HR and benefits executives at organizations of various sizes and across multiple industries. These professionals are asked to rate their completion levels for 26 activities — from selecting health plans to reviewing enrollment metrics — that take place during the four critical phases of open enrollment: benefit plan design, employee preparation, employee enrollment and post-enrollment analysis. Scores range from a low of zero to a high of 100 and reflect the degree to which an employer considers itself prepared for a particular activity. The activity scores are then averaged to determine scores for each of the four phases and an overall readiness score. A complete analysis of the most recent OERB data is available here.

About Employee Benefit Adviser
Employee Benefit Adviser (EBA) is the information resource for employee benefit advisers, brokers, agents and consultants, providing the current awareness and perspective they need to anticipate changes in the marketplace and optimally serve their clients. EBA delivers a broad range of critical content, including comparative market data, legal and regulatory updates, the latest products and services, and best practices in benefits delivery — including health insurance, vision and dental insurance, and voluntary and retirement benefits. The benefits broker community relies on EBA to stay connected through its website comment forums, its social media communities and live events.

About SourceMedia Research
SourceMedia Research is a full-service B2B market research service that draws upon SourceMedia’s market expertise and proprietary database of engaged executives to develop information and insights for clients. SourceMedia Research provides research solutions for marketers, agencies and others targeting sectors such as banking, payments, mortgage, accounting, employee benefits and wealth management.

About SourceMedia
SourceMedia, an Observer Capital company, is an innovative, growing digital business information and performance media company serving senior-level professionals in the financial, technology and healthcare sectors. Brands include American Banker, PaymentsSource, The Bond Buyer, Financial Planning, Accounting Today, Mergers & Acquisitions, National Mortgage News, Employee Benefit News and Health Data Management.

About ADP
Powerful technology plus a human touch. Companies of all types and sizes around the world rely on ADP’s cloud software and expert insights to help unlock the potential of their people. HR. Talent. Benefits. Payroll. Compliance. Working together to build a better workforce. For more information, visit www.adp.com/business.

Dana Jackson

John McCormick