Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark Scores Drop — Again

Employers losing ground as open enrollment dates draw closer

NEW YORK, NY (January 12, 2019) For two consecutive months, the overall open enrollment readiness score for employers with 2019 Q1 start dates has fallen -- plummeting this time by 6 points to 48, according to the latest data collected by Employee Benefit Adviser in its monthly Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark survey.

Communication is an area where employers seem to have overestimated their readiness in past months. The score for planning/designing employee communications dropped 11 points in the latest survey data.

“The drop in communications planning may be due to employers' challenges around dealing with a mobile workforce,” says Walden Siew, editor-in-chief of SourceMedia’s Employee Benefits Group. “Finding the most effective means of engaging with many employees in a variety of locations has been a significant obstacle in getting employees to engage with open enrollment materials in a timely manner.

“Many employers report challenges around educating employees on high-deductible health plans and health savings plans,” Siew says. “The confusion around these types of benefits requires clearer, more-detailed information be made available to employees.”

Employers also are struggling with a variety of other tasks that should have been completed by this point in the open enrollment process. The score for reviewing compliance/eligibility issues came in at 39, documenting worker feedback at 38 and measuring enrollment engagement metrics at just 33, all well below benchmark score of 50 indicating those employers are behind in their enrollment progress.

“Employers are now realizing that their previous assessments of their readiness were overly optimistic,” adds SourceMedia Research Director Linda Cheung. As companies continue open enrollment, they’re finding that they actually have much more work to do.”

For employers that found themselves behind the curve for open enrollment in 2018, paying greater attention to internal communication to staff is a key consideration. Otherwise, employers might find themselves behind the curve again in 2019. According to the latest data, many are not making much progress when it comes to soliciting additional feedback from their employees, a task that received a score of just 24.

The Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark is a performance benchmark that quantifies companies’ preparedness for annual employee benefits enrollment periods. SourceMedia Research and Employee Benefit Adviser each month survey more than 400 prescreened 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, enrollment preparation, employee enrollment and post-enrollment analysis. Scores range from zero to 100 and reflect the degree to which an employer considers itself prepared for each activity. Scores are then averaged to determine scores for each of the four phases and for overall readiness. A complete analysis of the most recent OERB data is available here.


About Employee Benefit Adviser
Employee Benefit Adviser 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 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.

For more information, please contact:
Linda Cheung