Open Enrollment, Oh My!

Open Enrollment (“OE”) season, for many HR professionals, may create symptoms of anxiety: sweaty palms, racing hearts, and sleepless nights (not to mention consumption of gallons of coffee). However, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Simplifying your open enrollment period is easier than you think.  Outlined below are simple reminders for those conducting open enrollment periods. If you want to learn a bit more (or just need a refresher) please join ComplianceDashboard next Tuesday, September 24th at 1 pm EST for our monthly webinar: Open Enrollment: Check! In the time it takes to eat lunch, you’ll leave with a handy checklist to assist you in running a smooth open enrollment period.

What to Know:

  • OE is not a federally required event; however, some state laws or fully insured plans require it.

Why it’s a Great Idea to Offer OE:

  • Cafeteria plans require an annual opportunity for employees to change elections.
  • Applicable Large Employers (ALE) must offer coverage to employees and dependent children at least once a year to avoid ACA shared responsibility penalties.
  • It’s a great time to distribute required disclosures and notices (some are required upon initial enrollment, when an employee becomes eligible for a plan, or annually).

What to Do:

  • Employers must make eligible employees aware of requirements and provided necessary information.
  • Employers who maintain consistent and documented OE processes are less likely to suffer anxiety symptoms when OE period rolls around
  • Choose reliable distribution methods for documents; and
  • Confirm receipt of OE materials for eligible employees.

Why So Important?

  • If employers expect employees to follow enrollment procedures, it’s important to keep them informed!
  • Requirements typically must be in place as of the effective date of the plan.
  • Some notices and disclosures must be provided at enrollment or annually. If a required notice isn’t distributed, penalties may follow. For a thorough list, check out our resource: Summary of Notices & Disclosures
  • If plans don’t consistently enforce enrollment requirements, the plan may lose the right to enforce them!

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