December 22, 2021 Continuous Improvement, Year-End Payroll Planning

The 411 on Carrier Feeds

Even if you are new to HR, you probably know how time-consuming open enrollment initiatives can be. What you might not know is that if you don’t get in the carrier feed queue early, you may face costly delays that turn into missed deadlines and late roll-out to employees. Below, our open enrollment support team explains the basics of carrier feeds and why the golden rule is to get started early


What are Carrier Feeds?


Carrier feeds are a valuable tool for providing carriers with Open Enrollment elections, Qualified Life Event changes, as well as ongoing new hire elections and terminations. For an HR professional who manually submits this data to carriers, it’s a daunting task to manage, in addition to the usual day-to-day operations. Not to mention the risk for human error and miscommunications. Carrier feeds are the connection between employers and vendors which ensures these miscommunications are minimized.


Carrier feeds are valuable when you change to a new benefits vendor or when, say, in a large company, dozens of employees are knocking on HR’s door with a list of changes they’d like to make to their benefits plans. For an HR professional who would rely on manually submitting a laundry list of benefits updates, it’s a daunting task to manage in addition to the usual day-to-day operations. It opens up a door for human error and miscommunications. Carrier feeds are essentially the connection between employee and agency that ensures these miscommunications are minimized.


Why are Carrier Feeds Important During Open Enrollment?


Carrier feeds are essential to ensuring that employee benefits requests are properly processed during open enrollment. Because of the vital role a feed plays in the overall process, any changes to existing file transfers or requests for new feeds must be initiated early so your HR/Payroll department has plenty of time for submission, testing, and re-testing before going live.


At Wise Consulting, we recommend that our clients get in the open enrollment mindset as early as July to reduce the risk of inaccuracies and ensure that employees don’t end up without the standard benefits or fringe benefits they need.


Do You Need Benefit Enrollment Support? Talk to a Wise Professional


Listen, we get it—the summertime may feel a bit early to start thinking about the end of the year. But once Q4 rolls around (which always happens before you know it!) it’s too late to update your carrier feeds without risking missed deadlines. Not only have our benefits specialists been in the open enrollment trenches before becoming consultants, every Q4, they are helping stressed clients wrap up their open enrollment checklist during crunch time because HR teams waited a little too long before calling in our team for support. 


We know stuff happens: you lose a key member of staff who takes that knowledge out the door with them, or the team gets swamped with more urgent priorities. Support from Wise protects you from those unforeseen events that throw a wrench into the best-laid plans. If there is anything worse than messing up a pay period, it’s failing to ensure your employees’ benefits changes are accurate and they receive their ID cards on time. 


Ready to start a conversation with a Wise benefit professional? Give us a call at 800-654-4550. We have certified consultants with decades of experience who are ready and willing to tackle your open enrollment task list with you!

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