For many, open enrollment starts in less than a month! Here are our best open enrollment quick tips in an at-a-glance FAQ sheet for employers.
What Is Open Enrollment?
Open enrollment is a period during which employees can freely enroll in or change their health insurance plan or other benefits programs.
When Does Open Enrollment Start?
For the bulk of employers, the open enrollment period begins November 1 and lasts less than two months, as coverage typically starts January 1st. However, it can vary greatly between companies and can potentially occur at any point throughout the year.
What Do I Need to Tell My Employees?
Let your employees know when open enrollment will begin and give them all the plan information they will need to be ready to make informed decisions for themselves and their dependents. Most companies hold an open enrollment educational meeting to go over all of the options. One of our favorite open enrollment quick tips is to distribute helpful resources, such as a health terminology glossary.
What Are Some Questions My Employees Might Have?
- Will It Automatically Change My Current Enrollment? That depends. If your company has selected passive enrollment or plan mapping, then employees’ coverage will stay the same if they fail to take action during this period. In companies that use active enrollment, employees must make elections, even if it’s only to re-select their previous health care plan, otherwise their coverage will end. To avoid this, HR must directly engage with employees and ensure that no one misses their opportunity to select coverage for the new year.
- Can I Change My Plan Outside of Open Enrollment? The only way to change your health plan or other benefits outside of open enrollment is with a qualifying life event (QLE). Some examples of QLEs are: having a baby or adopting a child, Getting married or divorced, a dependant losing coverage due to turning 26, change in employment status, or moving to the USA. (This is not an exhaustive list of every QLE scenario.)
- Can I Decline Insurance Now and Enroll Later? You can decline insurance, but you should be absolutely sure that’s what you want to do. If you do not choose insurance coverage during open enrollment, your next opportunity will be next year’s open enrollment, unless you have a QLE.
- Who Are My Eligible Dependants? Typically, you can enroll someone in your health plan as a dependant if you claim them as a dependant on your taxes. Additionally, they must reside in the US and have a valid Social Security Number or equivalent.
- Who Should I Talk to About My Plan Decision? Be sure to discuss your plan choices with your spouse and any decision-making dependents.
Check out this page for more open enrollment quick tips!