Open enrollmentReview four common open enrollment challenges and learn tips on how to make this annual event a better experience for everyone. We gather expert advice on how to break down common open enrollment challenges  



How to Make 2016 Open Enrollment Better: A Q&A with Our Experts

With the bulk of summer behind us, most of you have started thinking about annual open enrollment. With the right plan, you can end your summer with ease and jump into fall with a strategy for making this year’s open enrollment even better. As Carolyn Haack, implementation manager at Ceridian, says, “Clients who are most successful with open enrollment are those who are most prepared.”

Open enrollment

According to a report from SHRM, 97 percent of survey respondents reported that working on open enrollment consumed at least 50 percent of their time. Time constraints, cost and drafting open enrollment content accounted for some of their largest challenges.

In the chart below, we gather advice from Haack and Ceridian colleague, Marianne Cousins, on how to break down common open enrollment challenges. Haack and Cousins partner with Ceridian customers throughout the year on open enrollment project management and configuration needs in order to streamline and execute the process. Review common challenges and our tips on how to make this annual event a better experience for everyone.

Open Enrollment Challenge

Open Enrollment Made Better

Navigating the timing of events

Navigate timing

Those of you in the trenches know most benefits implementations require starting the work at least 120 days prior to open enrollment, and the work doesn’t stop until a few weeks into the following new year.

Cousins says, “Make your open enrollment better by developing a solid, upfront project plan so you’ll know what’s coming when. This plan will be instrumental in helping you plan ahead and prepare for each phase of open enrollment.”

Leveraging a professional services organization during open enrollment can help keep you on task and alleviate a lot of headaches as well. 

Staying current on various compliance regulations, such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA)

Stay current

In addition to changes in rates, plan designs or other benefits details, the compliance landscape is evolving too.

You can make your open enrollment more seamless by leveraging effective technology that helps minimize manual tasks related to calculating employee hours and identifying benefits-eligible employees. The right technology takes the guesswork out of these calculations and can help you feel more confident about all of your compliance concerns.

Finding the best health plan and wellness approach for your organization and employees’ needs

Best plan

Tackle this perennial challenge by partnering with your broker, consultant or your benefits implementation team to learn best practices and hear what other organizations are doing -- especially when it comes to wellness incentives, which are growing in popularity. 

According to a RAND Corporation study, every $1 invested in overall wellness efforts yields a return on investment of $1.50. Investment in programs that target chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, increase ROI to $3.80. 

As you focus on wellness, be sure to understand your organizations’ goals and culture so you can most effectively develop your wellness strategy. 

Educating employees so they have a vested interest in their plan selection

Educate employees

According to an Aflac report, 77 percent of employees spend 60 minutes or less on their benefits plan selection (nearly half spend less than 30 minutes), and the overwhelming majority (90 percent) default to keeping the same benefits year after year, regardless of the impact of this decision. 

You can make open enrollment better for your employees by empowering them to become smarter about their health and benefit plan options: 

  • Personalize employee communications (and start communicating early!) 
  • Host webinars and other events aimed at educating employees about basic health terms, like deductible or health savings accounts (View our infographic for a glossary of today’s health care terms) 
  • Offer cost calculators and other tools, such as a checklist of questions to consider, to aid in making plan decisions 
  • Clearly communicate contact information so employees know where they can turn if they have questions 
  • Partner with internal leaders and line managers to ensure that they remind their teams about open enrollment resources and deadlines 


While open enrollment is not new, the ACA has brought new challenges to the way employers offer benefits and the overall strategic impact plan offerings have on their bottom line. Arm yourselves with these tips so you can prepare for your best open enrollment yet.

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