It’s open enrollment season… Let the frustration begin!

What do benefits enrollment and root canal have in common?

That time honored tradition of annual benefits enrollment is approaching at employers across the country.  This year, there’s an added wrinkle with the masses of unemployed who are (or soon will be) searching for individual health plans to replace their employer-sponsored ones.


While employers, insurers and advisors would like this process to be simple, straightforward and pleasant – it rarely proves to be a positive experience.  A 2008 study by insurer MetLife found that the prevailing emotions people feel during benefit enrollments are “confusion” and “frustration.”  Moreover, when individuals are annoyed by the enrollment process, they are must less likely to be satisfied with the benefit plans themselves.


The culprits for all these negative enrollment experiences?  Complicated benefit descriptions.  Poorly structured plan materials.  Cryptic, bewildeirng benefit comparison tools.  Jargon-filled communications.  And online enrollment websites that are designed by crazed, blind hermits.


The list goes on and on, but the good news is that tremendous improvements can be made in enrollment interactions if providers pay just a little more attention to some basic principles of customer experience management.  Now let’s see who steps up to the plate.