Is Online Benefits Enrollment Right for Your Employees?

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The enrollment period is a daunting time for both employers and employees; it is a lot of work for companies and can be a confusing process for workers. For instance, if you have 500 employees and offer 10 benefit plans with several documents correlated to each plan, you may be sifting through as many as 20,000 documents during open enrollment (that’s a lot of trees!). However, by using online enrollment you can save time and money while making the process more efficient and user-friendly for your HR department and your employees.

Benefits of Online Enrollment

  • Every step of the benefits management process is automated, eliminating the need for paper-based processes and improving efficiency and accuracy.

  • Online enrollment lowers the overall cost of providing services to your employees by eliminating the costs of distributing and collecting paper enrollment packets.

  • Online enrollment shortens the enrollment cycle.

  • Online enrollment enables employees to self-enroll in benefit programs, review their benefits data and report life event changes.

  • Employees can choose plans based on eligibility criteria and can compare costs and coverage of previous elections against new offerings.

  • Elections can be automatically applied to employee records.

  • Employees receive email confirmations detailing their elections.

  • Employees can easily view and update their records and plans.

  • HR can check the status of enrollment in real time and may be able to generate detailed reports regarding the cost of employee benefits.

  • HR can see real-time reports on employee participation and can send reminders to employees who have yet to complete the enrollment process.

  • Many online enrollment platforms are paired with mobile applications to make enrollment and information access simple and fast.

Disadvantages of Online Enrollment

  • Some employees may not feel comfortable using technology and may also desire interpersonal assistance, rather than making their selections via a computer.

  • Employees may not make informed benefit decisions if they are only advised via the computer and are not provided personalized recommendations. (Maintaining or creating a new broker partnership eliminates this problem while easing the strain on your human resources department.)

Recommendations

  • Introduce the new enrollment software and train employees before open enrollment begins. Make sure all employees are comfortable with the software and that someone is available to answer additional questions and provide further help.

  • Use multiple communication methods for alerts concerning open enrollment to prepare employees for the new process.

  • If a mobile app is available, prompt them to download it before open enrollment begins to be prepared.

  • Use existing resources to promote technology-based enrollment such as your company’s intranet, bulletin board postings or your newsletter.

  • Encourage management to promote the use of technology-based enrollment to increase employee buy-in.

  • Establish online communities or forum where employees can discuss successes and problems they are having while enrolling. That way, they can assist one another with the process and HR can address any problems that employees may be having. Many intranet sites support the addition of a simple forum, which can be used to prepare FAQs for the next plan year’s open enrollment session.

Combined with an expert broker partnership, online enrollment takes the stress out of Open Enrollment for HR and employees. You get the best of both worlds year-round, one-on-one and personalized service with easily accessible benefits information. For more about the Austin Benefits Online Enrollment Experience, check out our services or contact us for a consultation and demo.

cathy siska coo

Cathy Siska
Chief Operating Officer