Enrollment Horror Stories: Nightmares on Agent Street
A busy enrollment season can seem like a trick without much treat. We talked with a benefits broker and an account manager from Baton Rouge, La. to provide you with tips to help make this enrollment season a little less frightening and a lot more rewarding!
1. The Rocky Enrollment Picture Show
“A large group of mine, about 500-600 employees, had a benefits administrator who wanted all medical, dental, vision and life carriers to ship enrollment materials to the group before the enrollment appointment. On the day of the appointment, all the employees and agents arrived—but the enrollment materials for all the carriers were missing. It took over two hours to find the materials, which delayed enrollment. Unfortunately, the appointment was scheduled around employees’ shifts. This means that the employees had to wait to hear the presentation and were late to their shift or they had to come in early before their next shift—neither of w200hich was favorable to the employees. I learned to make sure that everything is prepared prior to the enrollment appointment.” – Benefits broker
Tip: Make an enrollment appointment checklist and consider bringing your own enrollment materials. If this isn’t possible, be sure you have a point of contact at the office where materials will be shipped. Be sure to check in with that contact on the day the materials are scheduled to arrive. Consider keeping backup materials in your car for emergencies like this.
2. The Bad File
“An agent sent in his enrollment spreadsheet for a group four days before the effective date and to our surprise, the spreadsheet was password protected. When we finally were able to get the password two days later, we noticed it was missing the employees’ dependents’ information. This information is critical for billing and claims processing. Billing is difficult because we are unsure which tier to charge each employee, and claims are impossible because we can’t pay a claim on a dependent who is not enrolled. The dependent’s name (first and last), sex, date of birth and relationship to the employee are all necessary pieces of information for a complete enrollment. Needless to say, it made for a rocky start to an agent and group relationship.” – Account manager
Tip: Check, re-check and triple check all of your enrollment paperwork and digital files before leaving the appointment. At AlwaysCare and Starmount, we provide our brokers with a “New Case Submission Checklist” that helps to expedite cases by listing the applications and forms needed for each product. For example, disability benefits often require an employee’s salary in order to fulfill enrollment — a request that is often overlooked. Make sure follow-up communication is immediately sent containing any passwords to locked documents.
3. Silence of the Voluntary Benefits
“I finally got the chance to work with a large group that I had my eyes on for a while. I even scheduled our enrollment appointment earlier than need be, and in the middle of a hectic week for me. I showed up ready to impress. Or at least I thought so. I jumped the gun and did not bring information on voluntary products like dental or vision—which was what the employer was most excited to share with employees.” – Benefits broker
Tip: Providing communication materials that highlight the benefits of voluntary products like dental and vision can help employees understand the importance of your offerings and increase enrollment numbers. For example, not all employees understand that routine eye exams can detect diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure or that routine dental care can prevent the need for costly procedures down the road. Whether you have flyers or not, do your research prior to the appointment and be ready to talk about any and all of your benefits, so that you can ensure employees see the value in your offering.
Check out our article Handling Clients’ Frequently Asked Dental Insurance Questions to prep for your next enrollment appointment.