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Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark: Employers Make Slow Progress

Employers face some big obstacles, particularly when it comes to planning employee communications programs and reviewing benefit compliance and eligibility requirements

Employers whose benefit sign-up periods take place in the first quarter of 2018 are making slow progress toward their open enrollment goals, according to the latest Employee Benefit Adviser Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark.

For this group of employers, which represents nearly 70% of all U.S. organizations, February’s overall OERB score stands at 44—unchanged from January.

“Employers face some big obstacles, particularly when it comes to planning employee communications programs and reviewing benefit compliance and eligibility requirements,” said John McCormick, Editorial Director of SourceMedia’s Employee Benefits group, which includes EBA and Employee Benefit News.

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 Benchmark, SourceMedia Research and EBA survey more than 400 HR and benefits executives working in organizations of various sizes and across multiple industries. Respondents rate their progress for each of 26 distinct activities on a scale of 1 to 100, with a score of 100 signifying the employer’s full preparation for that activity.

Other highlights from the first quarter Benchmark report:


  • Smaller companies with 50 to 150 employees lag their larger brethren when it comes to benefit plan design, and nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to wellness program selection. In February, a whopping 30% of smaller companies reported that they had made no progress in this area compared with 10% for all other companies.
  • Mid-size companies with 151 to 999 employees are further ahead of both smaller and larger employers in terms of choosing a benefits adviser and selecting a health plan for their next enrollment period.
  • Large companies struggle to manage their enrollments. For example, in February, only 3% had completed their employee benefits communications plan, compared to 13% and 14% of small and mid-size employers. Likewise, when it comes to documenting enrollment processes and procedures, only 15% of large companies had completed this task, compared with 21% of small and 18% of mid-range employers.

Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark was developed by SourceMedia Research and EBA’s editors. Each month, SourceMedia Research surveys 400-plus prescreened HR and benefits executives of various sizes and across multiple industries. Respondents’ scores for the 26 individual activities are aggregated and used to produce a readiness…

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