Businessolver Blog

Highlights from Annual Enrollment 2024 

Highlights from Annual Enrollment 2024 
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2024 by Sara Vidoni

How our clients made great strides in employee benefits education and engagement this annual enrollment season 

“I 100% understand my benefits plans, consumer accounts options, voluntary offerings, and enrollment process.” Said no employee ever. But as we have compiled and analyzed the data following our 2024 annual enrollment season, our internal research has shown that we’re getting closer to optimized user experiences, resulting in more educated, happier, healthier employees. 

Here are some of our high-level results: 

Reducing employee confusion about benefits 

In our research, Businessolver found that 60% of HR professionals said they prioritize frictionless employee experiences. Let’s break down what that means. Information should be easy to find, the system should be easily navigable, people should be able to get support when and where they need it, and by the end of annual enrollment, have a good understanding of their benefits.  

To help with that goal, in 2023, our AI-powered personal benefits assistant, Sofia, received an upgrade with the addition of cognitive search and the capability to handle multiple questions in the same ask. Through her integration with ChatGPT, Sofia’s search capabilities to retrieve and summarize benefits information for members and to provide multiple answers improved the same-day resolution by 3% over the same time period in 2022. Members were able to ask Sofia and get the help they needed without having to come back with the same question the same day through her or the service center. 

Another big upgrade in 2023, Businessolver rolled out an upgraded optimized layout within the Benefitsolver portal. Our Consumer Experience team updated the platform according to extensive research by our in-house UX experts. As a result, this year we noticed significant improvements in information accessibility, which means less call volume, and easier access to information. After all was said and done, 80% of employees said they felt “very confident” (34%) or “extremely confident” (46%) in the benefits decisions they made in our post-annual enrollment member survey of over 250,000 responses. 

Offering more opportunities for self-service

We know that Sofia handles over one-third of chat volume after traditional business hours. People need to access their information 24/7. This past annual enrollment, Sofia was able to handle 95% of all chats, with only 5% requesting to speak to a live advocate. When complex benefits questions come up, it’s important to be there to guide them. But for most simple inquiries, Sofia has them covered. 

Providing great service involves preparing for peak call dates and times and adopting an integrated, holistic approach to member service. This past year, we reduced overall call volume by 17% compared to 2022, yet the population within our platform increased by 11%. Because of better self-service capabilities, our actual call volume was less than forecast. Being overprepared in the service center was a pleasant surprise and a testament to the power of Sofia’s capabilities. Combined with our advocates training to ask the question behind the question, ensuring an employee does not feel the need to call back. We dedicate ourselves to assisting members with their questions and being there for them when they need us the most. Still, we also know that if members are empowered to self-serve, they will most likely take the opportunity to enjoy the convenience of finding the help they need without having to call. 

Providing empathetic human interactions when needed

Personalized IVR (Interactive Voice Response) gets members to the right place, right away. Implementation of a personalized menu for members meant that members selected the predicted prompt 52% of the time when calling in. As we continue to analyze the selections and engage machine learning, we are adapting the menu options to best meet member needs.  

Auto-summarization of calls allows for more agile representatives. Using AI to provide a summary of the call and key takeaways nearly doubled our average speed to answer, which was 48% better than the same period in 2022. Advocates did not have to take additional time between calls to create detailed case notes as our proprietary AI handled that for them.  

Communicating the value of benefits (so the message actually sticks) 

In our Benefits Insights research, we found that 95% of people report that they’re healthy. But the reality is that tobacco usage is at 11%, and 22% reported that they take two or more prescription medications. Further, 49% have a family history of health problems, putting them at increased risk for heart problems, stroke, cancer, or other major illnesses. There is a disconnect between employee perceptions of their level of healthiness and reality. It falls on HR to communicate their benefits, everything from medical, dental, vision, and even voluntary and point solutions, to put the messages they need to see, right at their fingertips. 

There is a famous Steve Jobs quote: “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” The context of this quote refers to solving a problem that people don’t even know they have. Through custom communication best practices, our teams have continued to see high email open rates at 47%, which is well above the industry average of about 22%. 

The future of annual enrollment 2024 and beyond

No one is excited about the rising costs of healthcare. We heard this feedback from employees overwhelmingly throughout our enrollment survey. And we know that retention depends mostly on compensation and benefits. The key is laying out their total paycheck for them. Making the value of your benefits crystal clear by sending out personalized communication, having all benefits easy to find through a frictionless user experience, and creating one centralized place to go for all their benefits so they can find them once it’s time to use them. Continuing to enhance their benefits experience contributes to a workforce that’s happy and healthy.  

Our 2024 Benefits Insights report dives into even more valuable insights and action items, like how HR can help guide employees toward a greater understanding of their benefits with more resources and actionable solutions to craft a winning benefits strategy. Stay tuned to our latest Benefits Insights updates—releasing soon!