Low OERB Scores Signal Need for Better Open Enrollment Planning

EBA’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark hits an all-time low, a strong indication that it’s time for a new way of thinking about the annual sign-up period

NEW YORK, NY (March 06, 2018) Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark (OERB) score for December came in at just 38 for employers with first-quarter benefit start dates. Granted, when the last month of the year rolled around, many organizations had concluded their benefit sign-up preparations and completed enrollment. However, OERB marks were low throughout 2017, peaking at just 59 in October.

The low scores in the OERB report are a clear indication to benefit brokers and consultants that their clients, regardless of size or industry, find open enrollment a persistent challenge. For advisers, this presents an opportunity to work more closely with employers to help them better manage the process.

The best way to prepare for open enrollment, according to numerous benefits industry experts, is to break it down into a manageable set of activities that can be accomplished monthly. Key steps include designing a benefit plan, selecting health insurance and retirement products, and reviewing compliance and eligibility issues.

“Unfortunately, employers don’t know how to properly prepare for the benefits sign-up season and often wind up trying to get everything done in the final few months leading up to open enrollment,” said John McCormick, Editorial Director of SourceMedia’s Employee Benefits group, which includes EBA and Employee Benefit News. “Breaking tasks into discrete activities with monthly deadlines is one way advisers can help their clients stay on track.”

The OERB tallies employer self-assessments in 26 activities that need to be completed in four key stages for a successful open enrollment, with no progress receiving a score of zero and completed tasks earning a score of 100. The open enrollment period, which usually takes place in the fall, is a critical time for employers as they look to engage their staffs in health and retirement planning.

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, enrollment 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.

For more information, please contact:

Dana Jackson

John McCormick

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