Online Enrollment Remains Popular Choice

February 4, 2003 ( - A growing number of employees are using the Internet to signup for benefits, and most appear to be happy with the alternative, according to new data from Hewitt Associates.

More than two-thirds (70%) of employees chose to enroll for their 2003 benefits via the Internet, exactly the same percentage as last year, according to the Lincolnshire, Illinois-based consultant.   However, that is a dramatic increase from just 51% in 2001, and a mere 36% in 1999.

In 1999, Internet usage was a near-equal partner with sister enrollment mediums, interactive voice response (IVR) and call centers, which at the time were used by 30% and 34%, respectively.   However, the expanding use of the Internet has led to a sharp decline in the alternative mediums.   Just 8% used an IVR this past enrollment season, and only 23% used a call center for the 2003 enrollment season, according to Hewitt.

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The expanding use of the Internet is not just a participant phenomena, however.   Hewitt notes that the number of companies offering Web enrollment has increased by 36 percentage points since 2000, and has nearly tripled since 1999.   Roughly one-in-five companies that offered enrollment had more than 90% of their employees choose the medium.   And, of those firms offering Internet enrollment, nearly three-quarters (72%) don’t bother with paper confirmation statements.   

Hewitt’s data found that the vast majority, some 93%, of workers enrolling for benefits online were satisfied with the overall enrollment process, while:

  • 95% were satisfied with the ease of enrolling and the time it required
  • 80% felt they had access to all of the information necessary to enroll.

Additionally, Hewitt found that 26% of retirees used the Internet during enrollment.

Hewitt enrolled more than 9 million employees and their dependents on behalf of nearly 115 companies this past enrollment season, which typically takes place between late September and early December.