EBA’s OERB Finds Employers Behind in Benefit Plan Design Efforts

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Many organizations slow to determine which health and retirement programs will best meet their open-enrollment needs

Far too few employers are thinking about open enrollment at this time of year. However, advisers should be working now with benefit executives to create strong health and retirement plans that align well with their employers’ business goals.

Employee Benefit Adviser’s Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark (OERB) composite score for January was just 34 out of a possible 100 for employers with first-quarter benefit start dates.

Marks were low in just about every category tracked by the OERB. Particularly troubling was the 53 for activities related to plan design, which includes selecting health and retirement offerings. It’s a strong signal that employers are already behind in taking the first, all-important step in what many benefit experts say should be a 12-month process to prepare for open enrollment.

However, the low scores present an opportunity for advisers. Knowing that employers are struggling to initiate plan designs, experts say it’s a good time for them to call on clients, tout their expertise and offer guidance and support. Such outreach positions an adviser as a strategic business consultant, which can increase client retention.

“Far too few employers are thinking about open enrollment at this time of year,” says EBA contributing editor Elliot Kass, the author of the monthly OERB report. “However, advisers should be working now with benefit executives to create strong health and retirement plans that align well with their employers’ business goals.”

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, enrollment management 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 http://www.adp.com.

For more information, please contact:

Dana Jackson
dana.jackson@sourcemedia.com [dana.jackson@sourcemedia.com __title__ ]

John McCormick
john.mccormick@sourcemedia.com [john.mccormick@sourcemedia.com __title__ ]

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