Making the most of your next Open Enrollment: Join a PEO to save time and money


Aug 15, 2023

When Open Enrollment is on the horizon, there’s a lot to consider. For many businesses, this season is an annual ritual—a crucial window of opportunity to reevaluate, revise, and re-elect your company’s benefits program. However, amidst rising healthcare costs and a hard-to-navigate benefits landscape, Open Enrollment has evolved from a routine exercise into a strategic chess game. It is more critical than ever to plan ahead and understand all of your options.

Open Enrollment isn't just an administrative function; it's a moment when you have the power to positively influence your employees' lives and the overall health of your organization. But, it’s also a time that demands careful preparation and well-informed decision-making.

Imagine offering your employees the kind of healthcare benefits they'd only expect from large corporations, but without straining your budget. Sounds like a dream, right? Despite all of the pain of benefits administration, there is a way. This is where a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can be key.

Joining a PEO is how businesses can access large-group benefits, regardless of their size, as well as a number of other services. Ready to learn how to navigate Open Enrollment and overcome the challenges of rising costs and complexity? Your journey toward a successful Open Enrollment starts here.

Offering benefits comes with a lot of pain points

There's a reason no one in Human Resources looks forward to Open Enrollment. Offering benefits, especially healthcare, can be a complex and often frustrating process. 

One of the most prominent pain points is the cost of healthcare—it's no secret that healthcare expenses are on the rise. According to data from Peterson Center on Healthcare and KFF, national healthcare spending tripled between 2000 and 2021, from $1.4 trillion to $4.3 trillion. Trying to find a healthcare plan that provides comprehensive coverage yet remains affordable can feel like an impossible balancing act. But that's not all.

Here are some of the other pain points businesses are feeling as they prepare for Open Enrollment season:

  • Decision paralysis. There are so many variables to consider: plan types, in-network doctors, prescription coverage, out-of-pocket costs, employee preferences, and much more.
  • Competition. In a market where businesses are vying to attract and retain top talent, offering a competitive benefits package is a necessity, not a luxury. Yet, for smaller companies or those with tighter budgets, this competition can feel like a steep uphill climb.
  • Administrative burden. Managing benefits programs isn't just about choosing a plan once a year. It requires continuous maintenance, including compliance with regulations, benefits administration, and employee communication. For companies with limited HR resources, this can quickly become an unwieldy, time-consuming task that diverts attention from their core business operations.

Navigating Open Enrollment isn’t just about picking a plan; it's about contending with rising costs, deciphering complex options, staying competitive, and managing administrative tasks. It's enough to make anyone's head spin. However, there's a better way.

The solution: Joining a PEO

By partnering with a PEO, these pain points can be significantly alleviated, if not eliminated altogether.

What is a PEO?

A Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, is a firm that provides comprehensive HR solutions for small to mid-size businesses. These solutions often include benefits administration, payroll processing, HR management, and compliance assistance.

When you partner with a PEO, you enter into a co-employment arrangement. This unique relationship allows businesses to outsource many of their HR tasks and responsibilities, and gain access to a wide range of employee benefits typically only available to larger corporations.

How a PEO helps businesses get the best ROI on their benefits plans

Making every dollar count is the mantra for any business, but it's especially crucial when it comes to employee benefits. Partnering with a PEO is a strategic way businesses can maximize their ROI during Open Enrollment, and here's how.

Access to large group benefits

One of the many primary advantages of joining a PEO is gaining access to large-group benefits. This is where the power of scale truly shines.

To give you an idea, let's imagine you own a small but thriving design agency with 20 employees. On your own, you're only able to negotiate healthcare plans based on your size—a small group. The range of plans and pricing options available to you is limited and costly.

However, when you join a PEO, your 20-person agency joins a pool of thousands of employees from other small and mid-size companies. With this scale, you're suddenly part of a large group, a collective that carries significant negotiating power. This allows you to access a broader range of healthcare plans, pricing options, and wellness services typically reserved for large corporations.

Competitive rates through collective bargaining

Speaking of negotiating power, the ability to negotiate competitive rates for healthcare plans is a game-changer for many businesses.

Let's revisit our design agency example. On your own, you're like a single boat navigating the vast ocean of healthcare providers, trying to negotiate the best deal possible. The waters can be choppy and the journey exhausting.

However, with a PEO, you're part of a formidable fleet, sailing together toward the same goal: securing Fortune 500 caliber benefits at competitive rates. The PEO represents your interests and those of thousands of other employees. This collective bargaining power translates into competitive, cost-effective healthcare options during Open Enrollment, often leading to substantial cost savings.

Personalized benefits packages

In today's diverse workforce, a one-size-fits-all approach to benefits simply doesn't cut it. Employees have varying needs, and a personalized benefits package can be a significant differentiator.

Here's where a PEO's large-group benefits come into play. With access to a more comprehensive range of healthcare plans, you can offer options that cater to your employees' individual needs. For instance, some employees might prefer a plan with lower monthly premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs, while others might opt for the opposite. With a PEO, you have the flexibility to cater to these diverse needs, thereby increasing the perceived value of your benefits.

PEOs are also a great way to support a distributed workforce, with access to plans that have nationwide eligibility—so your employees get the benefits they need, no matter which state they’re in. 

Additional benefits bolster your program

Partnering with a PEO doesn't just help you secure cost-effective healthcare plans. It can also unlock additional benefits that can further enrich your program and contribute to the holistic well-being of your employees.

One such benefit is access to mental health counseling services. In today's high-pressure work environment, mental health has taken center stage, and having access to counseling services can be a valuable addition to your benefits package.

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is another benefit you can access through a PEO. An EAP provides support to employees dealing with personal or work-related issues, including mental health, substance abuse, legal concerns, and financial troubles. 

Be ready for the next (and every) Open Enrollment season with Rippling PEO

With Rippling PEO, you can streamline your benefits process, save costs, and provide a competitive benefits package that not only attracts top talent but also retains your existing workforce.

At Rippling, we're proud to have some of the lowest medical renewal rates in the PEO industry. This means that year after year, we're able to offer our client companies highly competitive healthcare options that provide exceptional value.

But our offerings don't stop at benefits administration. With Rippling PEO, you can:

  • Run payroll in just 90 seconds.
  • Manage all your employees' benefits in one place.
  • Quickly onboard new hires.
  • Manage laptops, app access, and other employee devices.

Businesses with around 50 employees can save thousands of dollars on benefits with Rippling PEO. Moreover, Rippling PEO provides access to knowledgeable HR advisors and provides software to help you track compliance with employment laws, giving you peace of mind and more time to focus on growing your business.

Ready to transform your next Open Enrollment season? Schedule a consultation or demo today to explore how our large-group benefits and cost-effective healthcare solutions can benefit your business. We're here to help you make the most of your benefits program—not just for the next Open Enrollment, but every one thereafter.

Already a Rippling customer and want to learn more? Visit our app shop page to request a demo with your Account Manager, or reach out to them directly.

Open Enrollment is an opportunity — make it count with Rippling PEO. Let's create a healthier, happier workforce together. See Rippling today.

last edited: March 26, 2024

The Author

Christina Marfice

Christina is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in Chicago. Having lived and worked in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru, she’s bringing her expertise on hiring in Latin America to Rippling.