Gone are the days of enrollment brochures and paper voluntary benefit application forms. Today’s employers are dealing with an evolving enrollment environment that demands total online connectivity between employees and providers.
Employees are tuned in and plugged in. Unfortunately, when it comes to technology, often they’re also maxed out. So when enrolling employees for voluntary benefit products, new technology works even better when combined with traditional methods of enrollment that offer a personalized touch.
To understand where we are, and where we’re heading with evolving enrollment processes, it’s often helpful to look back to where we started.
Where we’ve been
Look back even 10 years, and it’s evident we’ve come a long way in enrollment processes. At that time, the primary method of enrollment was on paper. Paper brochures touted the benefits of the product, and employees signed up using paper enrollment forms.
Using either a blue or black ink pen to fill out the application was a must; otherwise, you risked the information not showing up when photocopied. There were a lot of other mistakes made, too. Illegible handwriting caused many application forms to be bounced around, resulting in frustration and confusion for the employee. And if an employee happened to make a change on a form without initialing it, the consequences were even worse–often meaning their form ended up in the valley of lost enrollments, never to resurface (or be issued).
Where we are
A 2007 Eastbridge Consulting Group Inc. Spotlight Report, “Enrollment Practices for Voluntary Products,” noted that although enrollment is “the lifeblood of worksite sales,” few innovations have taken place in this area since the decade began.
About half of the 27 carriers in the survey offered Web and telephone enrollments–the same percentage as in 2000. And these methods were used less than 10% of the time, the survey found.
Still, progress has been made.
Today, insurers are incorporating new technologies into the enrollment process, ranging from laptop-based presentations, Web enrollment and interactive voice response. Most of these are generally combined with paper systems, according an employer’s specific needs.