NEW YORK, NY (May 23, 2017) – Employers whose benefits start dates take place in the first quarter of 2018 lost some ground in their open enrollment preparations, according to Employee Benefit Adviser’s latest Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark.
The composite OERB score for this group, which represents nearly 70% of all employers, dropped three points in March to an overall readiness level of 41 out of 100.
The number of activity-related red flags, which signal a significant lack of preparedness, rose from seven to ten, while the number of green flags indicating a solid state of readiness fell from three to two. The biggest setbacks occurred in the open enrollment management and post-enrollment analysis categories—which shed five and six points, respectively, month-to-month.
“Employers aren’t making as much progress as they should,” said John McCormick, Editorial Director of SourceMedia’s Employee Benefits group, which includes EBA and Employee Benefit News. “Many benefit executives blame the uncertainty around the Republican healthcare plan for impeding their progress.”
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 Benchmark, SourceMedia Research and EBA survey more than 400 HR and benefits executives working in organizations of various sizes and across multiple industries. Respondents rate their progress for each of 26 distinct activities on a scale of 1 to 100, with a score of 100 signifying the employer’s full preparation for that activity.
Other highlights from the first quarter Benchmark report:
- Smaller companies with 50 to 150 employees now trail their large and midsize brethren in all four phases of open enrollment readiness. This is most striking when it comes to benefit plan design and selection where, for example, only 60% of smaller companies have settled on a retirement plan for their next open enrollment period, versus 66% and 71% of midsize and large employers.
- There are a few exceptions, but midsize companies with 151 to 999 employees generally lag larger employers and remain a step ahead of smaller organizations in their open enrollment readiness. In particular, midsize companies face special challenges when it comes to health plan selection, goal setting and reviewing plan design; in these areas they lag both their larger and smaller counterparts by a substantial margin.
- Large companies in virtually every open enrollment activity are far ahead of their smaller and midsize counterparts. For instance, 41% of large employers, those with more than 1,000 employees, have already settled on a health plan for their next enrollment period, compared with only 27% and 26% of small and midsize employers.
Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark was developed by SourceMedia Research and EBA’s editors. Each month, SourceMedia Research surveys 400-plus prescreened HR and benefits executives at organizations of various sizes and across multiple industries. Respondents’ scores for the 26 individual activities are aggregated and used to produce a readiness mark for each of the four critical phases of open enrollment—benefit plan design, preparation, employee enrollment and post-enrollment analysis—as well as an overall composite 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.
SourceMedia, an Observer Capital company, is a business-to-business digital marketing services, subscription information, and event 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.
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