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Are You Ready For Some . . . Open Enrollment?

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by Jason Cogdill on 25 September, 2017 with Add new comment

Fall is a favorite season for many. Not only does it bring pleasant temperatures and beautiful leaves in places like my home state of North Carolina, but also a new season of football. Of course, with the arrival of fall and football, benefits enrollment season for 2018 is around the corner.

As you plan and prepare for open enrollment, your two top priorities will be insurance renewals and quality communication with eligible employees. The importance of those items has not decreased with time, and in fact, finding the right benefit package and being able to communicate effectively with employees is likely more important than ever. Hopefully, your organization has knowledgeable and skilled benefits advisors to assist you with those priorities.

In addition to your planning for plan renewals and communication, a few best practice tips to consider regarding benefits compliance:

  • Confirm updated plan documents, including an updated and compliant Summary Plan Description (“SPD”) for your organization’s Section 125 pre-tax plan as well as SPDs or Wrap SPDs for benefits subject to ERISA;
  • Confirm that you have and distribute to enrollees an updated Summary of Benefits and Coverage (“SBC”) for your health plan(s);
  • Confirm that you have and distribute other required notices and disclosures other than SPDs and SBCs (such as grandfathered plan notice, COBRA initial notice, new wellness program notice, Medicare Part D notice, and others);
  • Confirm compliance for your group medical plan with applicable out-of-pocket maximums, including new ACA limits for 2018 as well as the relevant HDHP and HSA maximums, if applicable;
  • For wellness programs, confirm compliance with HIPAA and EEOC rules;
  • For all benefit plans, confirm and document all elections prior to the end of open enrollment; and
  • Confirm all required compliance steps for any new insurance options or tax-savings plans implemented for 2018.

As a final word, it is always a best practice to also consider any potential tax-saving options that your organization is not already taking advantage.

Best wishes for an efficient and successful enrollment season.

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Jason Cogdill

Jason Cogdill

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