The Pitfalls of Manual Open Enrollment
manual open enrollment

The Pitfalls of Manual Open Enrollment

Why do HR pros dread open enrollment? It’s a time-consuming, inefficient process that requires quite a bit of hand holding. And your employees certainly aren’t celebrating either. Often, they’re left in the dark trying to figure out which plan is the right one for them, and they end up making uneducated or costly elections. Manual enrollment also increases the chances that you’ll receive incomplete data: HR is then forced to spend valuable time hunting down employees to correct forms or provide more detail.

A report titled, “What Your Employees Think About Your Benefits Communication,” conducted by Harris Poll and sponsored by benefits communication IT firm, Jellyvision, supports this contention:

  • Half of employees (49% ) say making health insurance decisions is always “very stressful” for them.
  • 41% feel the open enrollment process at their company is “extremely confusing.”
  • 20% often regret the benefits choices they make.

Open enrollment comes around every year. Here's how to get ahead of it.

How can I overcome the challenges of manual open enrollment?

Go paperless

Paper filing and manual data entry are fundamentally at odds with HR adding more value. At many companies, employees still fill out paper forms with their benefit elections and send them to HR to be recorded and stuck in a filing cabinet. That’s a lot of wasted time and paper. You should have the ability to build your plans online. When everything’s in one place, employees can sign in to enroll at home, in the office, or anywhere at all. A benefits enrollment solution that enables your employees to view benefit plan summaries and other documents, receive updates on uncompleted enrollment tasks, and review how their elections will affect their compensation – without having to continuously contact HR – will save time and money.

Eliminate unnecessary data entry

Once employees have made all of their elections on those paper forms, HR has to input all of the updated information into the payroll system, which poses the risk of human error. Manual data entry increases the likelihood of errors and requires additional time spent to enter information multiple times.

Access reporting and analytics

It’s impossible to make smart decisions about benefits without accurate, readily available data. Manual open enrollment will hobble you in this respect. You need the ability to see the progress of the current open enrollment at any point in the process, compare coverage costs from different years, and gauge how employee elections trend from year to year. With the right reports, you can make informed decisions about your benefit coverage and costs.

Enable seamless connectivity to carriers

After all the benefit election information is updated in your system, you still have to notify your carriers. If you have multiple carriers, this process can easily take weeks to complete. If you have the ability to automatically send all enrollments directly to the carriers, instead of having to update benefits in multiple places, you only have to do it once.

The open enrollment process can be challenging, but it can be less so when you use the technology that’s readily available to you. If you’re still stuck with battling manual processes, check out our article on how to make open enrollment more manageable.

More to Discover

HR COE Benefits Benchmark Quiz

HR COE Benefits Benchmark Quiz

Is your benefits program all it could be? The path to achieving excellence in benefits administration is a continual journey that evolves over three phases. Find out what phase you’re in and get a customized action plan. TAKE OUR QUIZ TO FIND OUT: Quiz will load down below shortly Content loading... Please enable javascript! Recruiting Benchmarking Quiz What’s preventing you from attracting and hiring top talent? To get to the next level, evaluate your team’s approach to benefits and open enrollment. Where are you losing time? What routine tasks are holding you back? Once you answer these core questions, you can devise a plan to leverage technology to drive efficiencies. Based on your responses, you’re in Phase 1: To get to the next...

HR Software for Small Business: 3 Things to Look For

HR Software for Small Business: 3 Things to Look For

Your Time is Valuable When you own your business, there are a lot of “you should’s.” You should network. You should follow up with prospects. You should build a brand. You should prioritize customer service. But no small business guru ever said you should do more paperwork. Or you should project manage every step of recruiting and onboarding new employees. Or that you should worry more about compliance. If you own a business, or if you think like an owner, repetitive administrative tasks can be time consuming. Any organization with one or more employees can benefit from payroll and HR technology. For example, take hiring a new employee. How much time does it take you or your team to: Write an offer letter Issue an I-9 and W-4 Write a...

Sample PTO Policy for Small and Medium Businesses

Sample PTO Policy for Small and Medium Businesses

Some small to medium sized businesses have undocumented paid time off (PTO) policies simply because they’re not sure where to start. Employers aren’t required by law to provide paid vacation leave; however, specific states, cities and federal contractors must, by law, provide paid sick leave. Also, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers aren’t required to provide paid leave, but they can’t refuse to pay exempt employees for absence due to illness or disability unless they have a documented plan for paid time off specific to these absences, and those exempt employees are either not eligible yet or have used up their PTO benefits under the plan. Establishing clear and compliant employee policies is essential to avoiding...

What Every Company Should Know about Open Enrollment

What Every Company Should Know about Open Enrollment

Updated November 5, 2018 Open enrollment comes around every year and can cause a lot of unnecessary stress and headaches for you and your HR staff. According to Paycor data, 42% of employers still have employees enroll in benefits manually. Business leaders should know, going into 2019, the open enrollment process doesn't have to be stressful: having the right technology can save you a great deal of time and trouble. What you need to know What is open enrollment? Open enrollment is a period during the year, usually one or two months, when companies allow their employees to make changes or additions to their elected fringe benefits such as health insurance, unemployment benefits or retirement plans. When is 2019 open enrollment? The 2019...