NEW YORK, NY (June 26, 2017) – Employers with benefit start dates in the first quarter of 2018 are falling behind 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 two points in April to an overall readiness level of 39 out of 100.
Just as troubling, the number of activity-related red flags, which indicate a serious lack of preparedness, rose from 10 to an all-time high of 12. Planning and designing employee communications, which received a score of just 17, remains the open enrollment readiness activity that presents the biggest obstacle for employers.
“Explaining benefits to employees is one of the hardest things to get right,” said John McCormick, Editorial Director of SourceMedia’s Employee Benefits group, which includes EBA and Employee Benefit News. “Getting workers’ attention is one challenge. But benefit professionals also need to communicate effectively with staffers whose preferred channels range from emails they can access from their desktops to social posts they can pick up on their smartphones.”
Other highlights from the first quarter Benchmark report:
- Smaller companies with 50 to 150 employees are very much behind the curve. Most strikingly, more than 25% of these smaller employers have not yet met with their benefits adviser to begin planning their next open enrollment period.
- Midsize employers are also struggling. For example, nearly 15% of these companies have yet to begin shopping for a health plan to offer.
- While large employers with more than 1,000 employees lead small and midsize organizations in most every enrollment preparation activity, they are still lagging in certain key areas. For instance, 21% of these organizations have yet to put in place a plan that will boost employee enrollment engagement.
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 400-plus 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 process: 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. EBA published a complete analysis of the most recent OERB data this week.
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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