Automating Your Open Enrollment Workflow

If you’re tired of tackling paperwork and answering the endless employee questions that come with open enrollment, consider automating your process.

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Adding automation to your benefits enrollment process can be a win-win for administrators and employees

Open enrollment  — the time when your employees can elect, change, or cancel the health insurance they get through your small business — can be a stressful time for whoever is in charge of the process.

From mounds of paperwork to a seemingly endless stream of employee questions, it can take a lot of effort to give employees all of the information they need to fully understand all the options before them and select the best plan for their situation. Because employees will be saddled with their choices for the next year, it’s an important task to get right so that your workers are happy with the coverage they have.

Traditional open enrollment processes start with thick stacks of paper that explain benefits. Then, once you have all of your employee’s choices in front of you, you’ve got a ton of processing to do. This can be time intensive to say the least.

That’s why automating your open enrollment workflow can be a great way to streamline the effort it takes and get you moving onto other tasks sooner.

Never thought of how to automate open enrollment? Daunted by the thought? Thanks to a variety of platform options, it’s never been easier to transition away from your manual process.

Automating your open enrollment workflow can be a great way to streamline the effort it takes and get you moving onto other tasks sooner.

What does it mean to automate my open enrollment workflow?

Well, it’s technically just opting for a computer-assisted, digital platform instead of a paper-based process. But beyond the technicalities, automating your open enrollment workflow is a way to centralize the enrollment process in a way that makes the whole thing easier for everyone involved.

What could the process look like? You can set up an automated OE workflow, where your HR system can lead your staff through an enjoyable employee experience. Employees can receive an automated email signaling the start of their OE period, and then manage their enrollment at their own pace using a smartphone or computer. Your system can then monitor the enrollment process and automatically send nudges to employees who need to take certain actions.

What are the benefits of automation?

Like most things tech-related, a platform-driven process makes it easier for you to do everything from send reminder emails before and during open enrollment to confirming enrollment choices and much in between. Perhaps the best part is that an automated process is not only faster, but much more accurate than manual processes.

Perhaps the best part is that an automated process is not only faster, but much more accurate than manual processes.

Of course, this means all the flexibility of a remote system as well. An automated open enrollment system is available 24/7 during the enrollment period, so your employees can choose the plan that fits them the best from the comfort of their own home and in consultation with their partners and dependents.

Another employee-facing benefit is the ability for technology platforms to preview different coverage scenarios as well as outline the costs. This way, your workers can make better, more informed choices than they can when trying to decide what they need by reading through a technically worded paper document. Even just looking at that amount of information can be intimidating!

Plus, many platforms allow for features like frequently asked questions so that users can find what they need online rather than having to email the person in charge — who is almost certainly fielding many of these emails each day on top of their regular workload.

At the end of the enrollment period, some solutions can even transfer enrollment data directly into your payroll system for one streamlined process. Plus, all that information is stored electronically in an easy to access digital space that eliminates the worry around accidentally misplacing important documents that can happen during traditional, paper-based enrollment processes.

What should I look out for when moving towards automation?

You’re still responsible for all of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) mandates, which means that any solution you choose (or build if you go that route!) still has to meet requirements.

This means that whatever solution you choose, you’ll want to make sure that it offers the clear, consistent and comparable information about their healthcare plan that the Affordable Care Act requires. This includes a summary of benefits and coverage that’s easy to understand, coverage examples that illustrate how a particular plan would function, and a uniform glossary of terms that are often used in the health insurance coverage industry (think things like “deductible” and “co-payment”).

Making the jump from manual to automated open enrollment can seem like another giant to-do item, but since most private OEs take place in the fall, now is the time to start thinking about any process changes you might want to make.

If you’re looking for a platform that can help you simplify benefits administration and streamline enrollment, Zenefits can help. Find out how you can leverage a seamless digital platform to expedite the enrollment process and have employees and administrators get back to what they do best.

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