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Overcoming Open Enrollment Frustration

In a December 2023 updated report, Ernst & Young (EY) found the average cost per manual data entry made by an HR professional increased to $4.78. Read about EY’s latest findings for more information.


For an HR professional, there are few stressors quite like open enrollment. In the absence of adequate preparation and a system capable of smoothly facilitating it, the process transforms from a routine obstacle to an outright beast. But optimizing your process and ensuring your employees understand their offerings is crucial, as HR Technologist uncovered that more than half of U.S. workers have previously left jobs for the prospect of better benefits.

Fortunately, with the right tool to streamline open enrollment — as well as payroll and COBRA compliance — at your disposal, you can manage this process with confidence and look ahead through year-end and beyond.

Understanding open enrollment

A number of factors may complicate open enrollment, and the intensity of each pain point varies from one organization to the next. Even so, there are some obstacles that ring true for nearly every business. According to a study from the Society for Human Resource Management, 93% of employers believe affordability and cost of their employees’ health care coverage will be the highest priority over the next three years, but only 41% of respondents felt their current programs could address this need.

While the price of insurance may vary based on a business’s needs, location and industry, one consistent factor influences the cost of open enrollment: the way it’s administered. Per Ernst & Young’s 2021 update on the costs of manual HR tasks, it would cost upward of $84.38 to enroll a single employee in their benefits with a paper-based process. To put that into perspective, manual open enrollment would cost an enterprise of 500 workers $42,190.

An inadequate, outdated enrollment process compounds many of the most common enrollment concerns, including:

  • compiling census information across multiple systems
  • answering employees’ questions about their benefits
  • tracking plan elections and declinations
  • providing documents for plan comparison
  • reconciling enrollment, deductions and insurance billing
  • entering elections and applicable deductions into payroll
  • confirming and processing plan changes

Fortunately, these issues are more than manageable — and even nonexistent — with the right HR tech in place.

Conquering open enrollment

An effective benefits administration tool should, appropriately, benefit your entire workforce. The right HR tech helps streamline the enrollment process for HR while empowering employees to allow them to make the best decision possible.


The right tool should also allow you to prepare for open enrollment as early as you want. With the power of a comprehensive, self-service app, you’re able to provide employees with plan documents and benefits information that they can access anytime, anywhere. This also enables your workforce to ask questions about their coverage, which your HR professionals can answer with ease while even allowing them to build a library of knowledge to help improve future open enrollments.

A truly employee-driven system should allow your workforce to update their information, compare plans and enroll in benefits from even the comfort of their mobile device. And your managers should be able to confirm plan modifications just as easily, as information is updated in real time for your entire organization.

Additionally, look for an option that enables you to instantly and automatically update all of your benefits providers on behalf of individuals or groups of employees.

Finally, to help ensure an efficient and smooth enrollment, a full-spectrum provider also should be able to connect you with an expert as committed to your business’s success as you are. A dedicated benefits coordinator works with you to develop an open enrollment plan unique to your business, while also completing plan and enrollment setup within your software, reconciling deductions to prepare for a perfect first payroll in the new plan year and more, all on your behalf.

If you’re ready to elevate your open enrollment, read our guide full of strategies geared toward improving your process, or get answers to common open-enrollment questions. Likewise, explore how our Benefits Administration tool and Benefit Enrollment Service help transform businesses by driving efficiency and reducing errors created by needless data reentry.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services or professional consulting of any kind. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional legal, tax, accounting or other professional advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a professional adviser who has been provided with all pertinent facts relevant to your particular situation and for your particular state(s) of operation.