Employers with benefit plans that take effect in the first quarter of the year have work to do before they’re ready to begin their 2018 open enrollment periods. The group scored just 43 out of 100 on Employee Benefit Adviser’s new Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark.

The benchmark measures employer readiness for open enrollment across four critical stages of the process: benefit plan design, preparation, process management, and program analysis and updates. Within each phase, employers report their progress on a number of activities — from selecting health plans to enrolling employees.

Updated Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark reports will be posted monthly, each based on a SourceMedia Research quantitative survey of more than 400 prescreened HR and benefit executives and decision makers who work in a variety of organizations, each employing 50-plus workers.

Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark
Overall Readiness
Phase
Activity
Readiness
Progress
Phase Readiness

Phase 1

Benefit Plan Design

Phase 1

Benefit Plan Design

Phase 2

Open Enrollment Preparation

Phase 2

Open Enrollment Preparation

Phase 3

Open Enrollment Management

Phase 3

Open Enrollment Management

Phase 4

Open Enrollment Design Analysis & Follow-Up

Phase 4

Open Enrollment Design Analysis & Follow-Up

One of the biggest red flags identified by organizations with benefits starting in the first quarter — which is representative of 70% of the nation’s employers — concerned planning meetings with benefit brokers and advisers, an activity that received a score of just 37.

When asked to comment on their biggest challenges, employers expressed angst over the Affordable Care Act and the healthcare policy of the new administration. Moving to a paperless process, deciding whether to adopt a private exchange and generating excitement about the coming enrollment period were also flagged as key concerns by employers and their benefit administrators.

In addition to scoring employers with benefit plans that take effect in the first quarter, Employee Benefit Adviser has compiled individual benchmark scoresheets for organizations whose benefit start dates take place in the second, third and fourth quarters of the year. For those scoresheets and more details on the Open Enrollment Readiness Benchmark, go to employeebenefitadviser.com/.