How to optimize enrollment and improve worker engagement

Brokers can deliver value during the open enrollment process far beyond plan design and contribution strategy.

The conversation between two advisers below illustrates what can be done with a little more time.

Amy: Help! One of my favorite clients is coming up for open enrollment and my prior enrollment partner dropped the case for lack of participation. Can you help?

Allison: Tell me more about it.

Amy: For the last two years, we have used a call center. No one calls in. Employees are not getting enrolled in any benefits and there is no record of what benefits were offered to which employees. I really want to help this group. They have about 250 employees and they run a tight ship with very little HR support. They need their employees to be enrolled in all their benefits and all the employees are offsite. And, oh, they just received an Affordable Care Act penalty of more than $250,000 for 2015 and are now very aware that they need documentation to prove the offering.

open enrollment
Maryland Health Connection health insurance marketplace pamphlets sit at a Community Clinic Inc. health center in Takoma Park, Maryland, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. Government-run health insurance exchanges, the cornerstone of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, opened their doors today for sales of subsidized bronze, silver, gold or platinum policies, with correspondingly higher costs. Coverage begins in January and enrollment lasts through March 2014. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Allison: OK. How about an outbound call center? Construct an enrollment schedule that works for their employees, use an online scheduling tool so they can choose an appropriate time and pop up a call center with scheduled outbound calling.

Amy: Great news.

Following this conversation, we set a timeline that needed to factor in the medical carrier dropping the client for non-participation and doubling of the employee medical contribution.

We brought in appropriate staff to build the case — including changing the dental carrier in the middle of enrollment. We built the scheduling platform, setting up VOIP software for each enroller. We tested, enrolled and, when enrollment closed out, exported all of the data.

After a break for Christmas, we set up enrollment processes for new hires throughout the year.

So, how did it go?
· We enrolled more than 50% of the employee population versus approximately 12% in the previously best year of enrollment.
· We increased enrollment in every line of traditional coverage — medical, dental, vision, basic life.
· We increased participation more than 300% from the initial enrollment in the enhanced benefits.
· We increased agency revenue for the case by more than 500%.

As a broker, can you manage this yourself?

If you have an in-house enrollment team, you can do this yourself. If you don’t, I would strongly encourage you to hire professional, well trained, properly licensed and insured enrollers to handle the actual calls.

You can start to build a group yourself or you can outsource to an enrollment firm.

Whatever you do, don’t drop this into the lap of your account management staff. They have more than enough to do already.

De Paoli will speak more on this topic at EBA’s Workplace Benefits Renaissance on Feb. 28.

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