Life as a Benefits Broker: Open Enrollment Is Over, Now What?

brokerage general agency like BenefitMall

As I write this post, the end of the year is fast approaching. Benefits brokers know what that means: an end to the annual open enrollment period. They also know that the end of open enrollment ushers in a new season, if you will. But what do brokers do during that season?

There is little doubt that open enrollment is a crucial time for benefits brokers. That 6-8 weeks during which employees can make changes to their benefits packages is when brokers earn their money. Open enrollment is essentially their bread and butter. But once it is over, it’s on to other tasks. While working with a brokerage general agency like BenefitMallcan help with these tasks, there is still much to do. Many of those tasks are ultimately done in preparation for the next open enrollment period.

There Is Enrollment Data to Review

Right off the bat, benefits brokers have a ton of enrollment data to look at. They analyze everything from plan selection to employee participation. Data analysis shows them what worked and what did not.

Reviewing the data isn’t just for the broker’s benefit. Employers benefit as well. By going through the data together, brokers and employers can begin working on ways to improve benefits packages for the following year. And because decisions take time, getting to the data immediately after open enrollment is a good idea.

There Are Employees to Onboard

In the weeks immediately following open enrollment there are usually employees to onboard. Some of them are accessing benefits for the very first time. They have never had a health plan before. They have never contributed to a 401k. They need all the help they can get to make sense of their new benefits.

Other employees have modified their benefits options. So while they may be familiar with their health plans in general, they might have specific questions based on the modifications they elected. Benefits brokers assist with all of that.

There Are Renewals to Handle

Behind the scenes, there are plenty of carrier-related tasks to keep benefit brokers busy. One of them is handling carrier renewals. It is usually the benefits broker who works with carriers to negotiate the best rates and terms for the next benefit year.

Along with handling renewals comes research into new benefits options. Brokers look at every possible option for expanding their books of business, and that often means coming up with new products and services to entice employers. It all requires research.

Brokers are also responsible for communicating plan changes and updates to both employers and employees. Employers need to know of changes as far in advance as possible just in case they impact a decision of which carrier to go with.

There Are Support Requests to Handle

Post open enrollment support has always been a thing for brokers, but support has taken on a new meaning in the digital era. Brokers are more likely to take advantage of online open enrollment along with complete administrative portals that allow them to run their entire businesses from a single cloud environment. As beneficial as that is, it opens the door to increased support needs among clients. So after open enrollment, brokers often find themselves handling support requests from employers and employees alike.

The proverbial icing on the cake is tracking performance. Benefits brokers rely on data tracking to better understand how they are doing. From the time open enrollment ends to the point at which they begin contacting clients to arrange new packages for the following year, brokers spend a lot of time applying performance data to get better. It is just one of the many things that keep them busy during that seemingly brief 8-month period.

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