Work is underway to develop CU’s Benefits Enrollment tool for year-round use, which will accommodate employees with major life events.
The tool debuted for new employees last spring and was used during Open Enrollment. Employee Services is using employee feedback gleaned during that time to improve the user experience for the year-round version.
More than 13,274 employees (about 91 percent eligible employees) used the Benefits Enrollment tool in the portal during the three-week enrollment period. Those who took no action were automatically enrolled in the plans that most closely fit the previous year’s selections.
The enrollment tool had many advantages over the previous version, said Michelle Martinez, director of Benefits Administration.
“It was easier to use than the old tool,” she said. “You did not have to go through the entire process to make a change to one specific area. It only displayed available plans specific to the employee’s eligibility and it provided links to materials that aided in the decision-making process without exiting you from the system.”
Other improvements with the new tool:
- Instead of requiring a PIN number for access, employees could enroll by logging into the portal.
- Employees could see their benefits summary immediately.
- The tool allowed employees to make changes in real time until Open Enrollment closed.
With the new enrollment tool’s debut, there were some minor stumbling blocks. In the first days of Open Enrollment, a group of employees who had taken summer teaching positions were blocked from using the enrollment tool because of an override action in their employment records. This problem was identified and manually corrected until a resolution was identified during the Open Enrollment period.
In the new tool, employees who waived coverage needed to note why they waived coverage, per Affordable Care Act requirements. The wording in this area confused some employees and will be revised for clarity.
Another issue arose when employees wanted to decrease their Optional Life Insurance Coverage amounts. They were not able to do so, and instead were instructed to use a paper form. Employee Services will implement the ability to reduce coverage amounts in the year-round tool.
In past years, when enrollment completed, employees would receive an email confirmation. The new tool does not send an email, instead allowing the user to view enrollment choices immediately in the portal. This change confused some employees. In the updated version, instructions will be added to guide enrollees to their confirmation statements.
Benefits for the 2014-15 plan year will go into effect July 1.