I am old enough to remember the world without the internet. When I first started working, there was no such thing as being online. I remember the annual open enrollment ordeal. Everything was done on paper. These days, things are different. Open enrollment has gone digital. That is a good thing.
It is strange to think that there are still benefits brokers and employers content with paper open moment. Yet that is the case, according to BenefitMall out of Dallas, TX. BenefitMall is a general agency that has been pushing brokers to embrace the digital transformation for at least a couple of years.
HR Has Set Hours
One of the big things about digital open enrollment is the reality that technology never sleeps. On the other hand, HR has set hours. Relying on HR to answer questions and assist with open enrollment forms means requiring workers to take time out of the day to meet with HR, which equates to lost productivity.
That says nothing of the difficulty of assisting employees after hours. If a worker is sifting through benefits information after the kids have gone to bed and things have settled down, good luck getting immediate answers to questions. The employee needs to write down his questions. HR will not be available for the following workday.
Online Access 24/7
Because technology never sleeps, it is available 24/7. That is a big plus for the employee who wants to discuss benefits with her husband before making selections. The two can have a discussion and make selections simultaneously through an online portal.
Discussing things as decisions are actually being made is a far better option than the employee having to write things down at work, go home and present the options to her husband, and then go back the following day to make actual selections. The old way is doable, but it is a hassle.
Accessible on Any Device
Digital enrollment offers an additional benefit in terms of accessibility. Because nearly all benefits portals are web-based applications, they are accessible with virtually any device with internet access. Think about the implications of that for just a minute.
An employee looking to complete open enrollment can pull out his cell phone to start making choices whenever he has the time. Another worker who prefers the larger screen of a tablet can log on any time of night or day to read FAQs, review policy documents, etc.
Online portals are desktop and laptop friendly as well. During an employee’s lunch break, she can look into the different selections and their details. Over the course of a day or so, she can learn everything she needs to know to make a wise decision. Her online account makes all the information available right at her desk.
All the Same Benefits for Brokers
All the benefits employees enjoy with digital open moment also apply to brokers. Brokers can disseminate information around the clock, knowing that employees will be able to take a look at their convenience. Likewise, brokers can log on to their portals to get information from general agencies and carriers.
Brokers can complete forms online. They can generate price quotes, research new products, and even communicate with carriers through online portals. The end result is more efficient open enrollment administration.
Technology’s biggest advantage in the benefits game is that never sleeps. For that reason alone, it does not make sense to continue facilitating open enrollment with paper. Brokers and employers should go digital at the first opportunity. Digital open enrollment is just better. You can take that to the bank.