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Incorporating these important tips will help your company plan a successful open enrollment.

Tip #1: Design a Clear and Concise Open Enrollment Announcement

Make sure your open enrollment announcement clearly summarizes key information, including:

  • Open enrollment period dates for all benefits
  • Pre-tax contribution rates by specific benefit
  • Post-tax contribution rates by specific benefit
  • Premium increases (if any)
  • Any benefit changes

Tip #2: Create and Follow a Schedule for Communicating Open Enrollment Information

Create a timeline to distribute the required communication materials to help ensure a successful open enrollment. The following is an example of a potential timeline:

  • Email and/or mail your open enrollment announcement 7-14 days prior to the open enrollment period
  • Send email reminders 1-3 days before the open enrollment period begins (include FAQs as an effective way to respond to the most commonly asked questions)
  • Send a reminder on the 1st and 2nd days of open enrollment to all employees, which includes information such as open enrollment requirements and deadlines

Tip #3: Determine Employee Eligibility

If your company is subject to the “pay or play” provisions under Health Care Reform (generally employers with 50 or more full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees), be sure you have used proper methods for determining whether an employee has sufficient hours of service to be considered full-time, and therefore eligible for health benefits, to avoid penalties

Tip #4: Distribute Required Benefits Notices or Disclosure Statements

Ensure required notices are distributed, such as a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), Summary Plan Description (SPD), and HIPAA Notice of Special Enrollment Rights.

Tip #5: Don’t Overlook the Human Touch

Make sure that your insurance agent and HR administrator is accessible to employees throughout the enrollment period, someone who can answer questions and serve as a resource. Having these resources available to employees will limit frustration and ensure a better experience for employees as they enroll.