Open Enrollment is a Waste of Time and Should Move to an Online Exchange

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More than half of employees would rather see the dentist, watch a movie about the life of Lindsay Lohan or appear on “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump than complete open enrollment

Orlando, FL – October 21, 2014 – PlanSource, a cloud-based provider of benefits administration, exchange, payroll, and HRIS solutions to employers, today announced the results of its 2014 Open Enrollment Employee Survey, which revealed that more than half (56%) of American employees whose employers provide benefits say that the traditional, paper-driven open enrollment process to sign up for health benefits is a waste of time, and a whopping 70% agree that having the open enrollment process take place via an
online exchange would be better.

PlanSource commissioned Harris Poll to conduct the Open Enrollment research among 2,060 adults as it launched the PlanSource OneMarket Exchange, which helps employers give employees more benefits plan choices, simplifies the enrollment process and helps control healthcare spending by delivering a self-service platform and advanced decision support to educate employees on their options. The Open Enrollment Survey uncovered that unlike the online process that the PlanSource OneMarket Exchange offers, completing open enrollment through the traditional paper-based method is a miserable experience for most employees, with more than half (52%) confirming they would rather do any other unpleasant activity than endure the laborious process.

Among the other unpleasant activities that employees would rather do than complete open enrollment:
• Nearly a quarter (23%) would rather see the dentist
• One in five (20%) would rather see a movie about the life of Lindsay Lohan
• 14% would rather appear on “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump
• 13% would rather be a telemarketer

According to the survey, more than two-thirds (67%) of employees have to take time out of their work day researching, choosing and enrolling in their employer’s benefits plan during open enrollment, resulting in millions of hours of lost productivity. Out of the majority of employees who consider the traditional open enrollment process a distasteful and time-wasting experience, more than half (55%) say sorting through all the options is confusing.

Other top concerns with the open enrollment process include:
• Nearly one-third (32%) say it requires too much research
• Nearly one-third (31%) say figuring out how to fill out forms is difficult
• Nearly one-third (30%) say because it is mainly paper-driven
• 29% say getting confirmation of selections/coverage takes too long

PlanSource’s Open Enrollment Survey revealed that there is a huge disconnect between what employees feel they need to have a successful open enrollment experience and what they actually receive from their employers, with more than half (55%) expressing that, aside from cost, there is something they find frustrating about their employer’s benefits enrollment program.

Aside from cost, the top complaints employees pointed to include:
• One in five employees (20%) say the information they received explaining their benefits choices was confusing
• 18% say there are too many forms to fill out
• 17% say there aren’t enough choices in the benefits plan they were offered
• 12% say the online system they used to sign up was difficult to navigate

“Americans deserve better from open enrollment – that’s why we launched PlanSource OneMarket,” said Dayne Williams, CEO of PlanSource. “Instead of a paper-based process that wastes everyone’s time, we see PlanSource OneMarket as the best way to let Americans make informed decisions on the plan that’s right for them and their families. PlanSource OneMarket works because it is based on our deep experience in online enrollment that gives employees more choice with their healthcare benefits. PlanSource OneMarket makes the open enrollment process as quick, easy and painless to do as shopping online.”

The survey results clearly found that American employees overwhelmingly favor moving the open enrollment process online, with 7 in 10 (70%) saying an online exchange would be better, nearly four in 10 (38%) saying it would be faster, more than one-third (35%) saying it would be easier to compare plans/coverage options and more than one-quarter (27%) saying it would be as easy to understand as shopping online. More than one in five (22%) say moving open enrollment to an online exchange would mean that less time would be spent on options not for them.

PlanSource’s Open Enrollment Survey confirmed eight in 10 employees are driven by major milestones and considerations when it comes time to sign up for their benefits and look to their benefits plan to help resolve important issues in their lives.

Top considerations weighing on their minds during open enrollment include:
• 44% say saving money by choosing an affordable healthcare plan
• 37% say staying healthy for their family
• 37% say preparing for an unforeseen medical emergency or disability
• 25% say ensuring their family’s financial well-being after their or their partner’s death
• 8% say getting ready for a new addition to the family

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of PlanSource from October 8-10, 2014 among 2,060 adults ages 18 and older, of which 767 are employed full/part time whose employer offers benefits. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Trafton Kenney at

About PlanSource
PlanSource is a cloud-based, on-demand software provider that revolutionizes the way healthcare and employee benefits are bought, sold and managed with a comprehensive array of integrated services including private exchange/marketplace, benefits administration, decision support, payroll, and HRIS technology. PlanSource technology solutions are delivered through strategic insurance carriers, brokers and exchanges who partner with PlanSource in order to increase their retention rates, revenue, and the overall value they bring to their customers.