Employers’ Open Enrollment Readiness Ticks Higher, But Red Flags Persist

Organizations notch progress for first time in months, but major work remains

NEW YORK, NY (August 30, 2017) – For the first time in five months, Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark (OERB) finds employers with benefit start dates in the first quarter of 2018 more prepared for open enrollment than they were the month before. However, organizations still have a significant way to go to full readiness.

The overall OERB score — a composite of progress self-assessments for 26 open enrollment activities — edged up four points to 40 in June from 36 in May. The highest score was a 77 recorded in the category of benefit brokers selection, which indicates most employers now have a trusted adviser working with them. In another positive sign, the number of activity-related red flags, which show a serious lack of preparedness, declined from 13 to 11.

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 employees in health and retirement planning. However, while organizations are making improvements, they’re still ill-prepared in key areas. Scores for tasks in the enrollment management phase, which include readiness to enroll employees in benefit plans, came in at just 24, indicating a severe readiness deficiency. In fact, five of the six activities with the lowest scores in the latest benchmark were found in this phase, with the marks for preparing to boost enrollment engagement, measure engagement metrics and document worker feedback all at 20 or below.

“It’s great to see the OERB scores increase,” said John McCormick, Editorial Director of SourceMedia’s Employee Benefits group, which includes EBA and Employee Benefit News. “But we’re getting closer to the fourth quarter and time is running out. The good news is that most organizations have already secured the services of a benefit adviser for help.”

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 1 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.

For more information, please contact:

Dana Jackson

John McCormick