It’s About That Time: Your 2023 Open Enrollment Checklist
Summer is officially over, and for many people that means they’re bracing themselves for the flurry of the holiday season. For benefits teams across the country, this also means that they need to be prepared for open enrollment. If you’re in charge of open enrollment, preparation takes a lot of time. In fact, it probably feels like you wrap up open enrollment only to already have to start preparing for the next year. And the closer you get to open enrollment, the more you’ll have on your plate.
Do as much as you can before it starts, so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) deadline for 2023 open enrollment runs from November 1, 2022 through January 15, 2013, though some states have different deadlines. You’ll need to verify your state’s regulations to confirm the open enrollment period for your compliance deadline calendar.
Use this checklist to help you gather the essential items you’ll need to make sure open enrollment goes off without a hitch.
- Survey results – If you surveyed employees regarding the previous year’s open enrollment experience, refer the results as you roll out open enrollment for this year to ensure what you’re doing aligns with your employee population’s preferences and expectations.
- Carrier information – If there will be changes to the rates of carriers you’re continuing to work with, or if you’ll be working with new carriers, have this information available for third-party administrators and vendors you work with for open enrollment. This helps vendors properly configure your systems so that they have the right processes in place to support any changes and answer employee questions as they arise.
- Section 125 plan document – Review your plan document and make any updates regarding plan benefits, member eligibility, name changes, and new vendors. You’ll need to periodically review your plan document so that it reflects the most current procedures and policies. If you’re audited, the auditor will want to see your Section 125 plan document and check for compliance. If you’re not sure what a plan document is or how to make it compliant, reach out to your broker for help understanding these nuances.
- SBC and SPD documents – Under the law, you need to update your summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) and your summary plan description (SPD). The SPD might have elements of a SBC, but they should be their own documents, as they are each required by law. Participants should have access to a brief SBC that has all pertinent details of plan offerings laid out in a manner that’s easy to digest. Include a glossary of terms with common health insurance and medical terms that will empower employees to understand their options and make an informed decision. Communicate information regarding deductibles, copays, members’ rights, and services not covered by the plan. An SBC must also include examples of common medical situations that demonstrate what the plan would pay.
- Any other compliance documents and notices – Beyond the documents listed above, there’s a long list of notices and materials you have to distribute at open enrollment. These materials include a notice of HIPAA special enrollment rights, Medicare Part D notice of creditable/non-creditable status, patient protections notice, HIPAA privacy notice, and more. Make sure you’re compliant and provide all legally required notices to your employees.
- Digital tools and technology – Make sure that the online systems you use for open enrollment are up to date, and that you’re using the right tools for your employee population. These systems can include enrollment platforms, virtual meeting software, messaging technology, internal databases, and more.
- Brochures, posters, postcards, and fliers – If you have on-site employees, you can communicate enrollment information with brochures, posters, postcards, and fliers distributed in common areas, like hallways and breakrooms. You also have the option to distribute these assets to all employees via email communication.
- Decision-making tools – Consider offering employees decision-making tools that can help them choose the right benefits for them by comparing plans, estimating costs, and calculating tax benefits.
- Webinars and presentations – Put together webinars and/or presentations for employees explaining their benefit options, new plan information, and important deadlines. You can then save these resources in an internal database that employees can access and refer to later if they have any questions.
- FAQ resource – Prepare an FAQ resource by anticipating common benefits questions and previous employee concerns. Include phone numbers and contact information for benefit providers for anyone interested in obtaining more information about the offerings.
- Scheduled time for information sessions – Schedule time for information sessions, both online and in person, for people to ask questions about open enrollment.
- Temporary staff agreements – You might need to hire temporary help to get through open enrollment. If this is the case, have training materials for them ready for onboarding, and keep employment agreements on file.
- Post open enrollment survey – Having a pulse on how employees are engaging with their benefits and the open enrollment process only helps you improve processes and outcomes in the following years. Using a post open enrollment survey helps you get concrete feedback about what worked and didn’t work so you can make adjustments for next year’s open enrollment.
Open enrollment is comprised of many moving parts, and there are a lot of assets you’ll need to keep track of as you communicate with employees, coordinate with carriers, and collaborate with vendors. Communicating with employees, and then communicating some more is the key to a successful open enrollment. With a multigenerational employee population and geographically spread out workforces, you’ll need to be attuned to varying enrollment preferences. And on top of juggling varying employee expectations, you also need to ensure that the way you’re offering benefits and managing open enrollment are compliant with laws and regulations.
Our experienced benefits team is here to help you navigate the ins and outs of open enrollment. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can work together.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. BRP Group, Inc. and its affiliates, do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult with your own tax, legal or accounting professionals before engaging in any transaction.