What Happens When an Employee Misses Group Open Enrollment?

Employee Benefits, Group Insurance, HR, Uncategorized

Blue folder that says "open enrollment' representing if an employee would miss open enrollment period.

When new employees join a company and miss their New Hire enrollment period, it typically means they cannot enroll in employee benefits (such as health insurance, dental coverage, retirement plans, etc.) That can mean that they can’t enroll until the next group open enrollment period. Unless they experience a qualifying life event that triggers a special enrollment period.

All current employees have the option to “opt-in” or “out” of health insurance coverage through their employer yearly. It is not required by law that you must elect to have health insurance coverage from your employer, individuals may elect to acquire coverage through healthcare.gov

In this blog we are going to talk about the employers’ responsibilities to new employees during group open enrollment. We will also talk about what responsibilities fall on the employee.

When is Group Open Enrollment?

Group open enrollment typically refers to a period during which employees of a company can elect or make changes to their benefit options. This can include health insurance, retirement plans, and other employee benefits for employees.

The timing of group open enrollment can vary from one business to another. Typically, it occurs once a year and lasts for a specific period. Often ranging from a few weeks to a month during any given calendar year. However, the exact dates can vary based on the organization’s policies and preferences.

New Hire Enrollment:

During the new employee onboarding process, employers integrate a new employee into the organization. During this period there is usually orientation, training, and completion of necessary paperwork. That includes getting a new employee registered for health insurance benefits.

Employers can set up a policy to allow new employees to enroll in health insurance shortly after they start their job, even outside the open enrollment period. This might be within 30 or 60 days of their hire date, for instance.

What Happens if Current Employees Miss Group Open Enrollment, or Change Their Mind After Open Enrollment?

HR professional helps with an employee who missed group open enrollement.

If a group of employees missed the onboarding process when they were initially eligible for a new hire or a current employee opts out of the group program, then changes their mind, it can be a problem. When an employee misses open enrollment, they may also miss the important educational information about the available plans.  In many cases missing open enrollment typically means that an employee will need to wait until the next open enrollment period to join the group plan unless they have a qualifying event.

If an employee changes their mind about group health insurance through the employer, options available can vary based on the employer’s policies.

5 Steps That Can Be Taken When Employees Miss Open Enrollment:

  1. Late Onboarding or Orientation: The organization can schedule a special onboarding or orientation session for the employees who missed the initial onboarding. This session can cover important information about the company, its culture, policies, benefits, and other essential aspects of employment.
  2. Individual Onboarding Sessions: Individual onboarding sessions can be arranged for employees who missed the group onboarding. This allows for a more personalized and thorough onboarding experience tailored to everyone’s needs.
  3. Online Onboarding Modules: Providing access to online onboarding modules or training materials can be a helpful option for those who missed the initial group onboarding. Employees can complete these modules at their own pace, ensuring they receive the necessary information.
  4. Supplemental Information Sessions: The HR department or relevant personnel can conduct supplemental information sessions covering key aspects of onboarding, including benefits, company policies, and procedures. This helps in catching up those who missed the initial group onboarding.
  5. HR Support and Assistance: Human Resources (HR) should be available to provide guidance and answer any questions that employees who missed the group onboarding may have. This ensures that they have access to the necessary information and support.

Can Employers Change Their Mind During Open Enrollment?

Employers can always make multiple health insurance plan selections during open enrollment, as long as the employer completes the final plan change by the end of open enrollment period.

“The option to change your mind is available even after the start of the new year in most states, since open enrollment in most states continues until at least mid-January. In that case, the new plan would then take effect in February — or March, depending on the date you enroll — and replace the plan that had taken effect in January.” –healthinsurance.org

How Can AUI Help:

As our role with clients continues to evolve. With the help of our sister company ClarityHR we are able to support business owners and their employees with questions after open enrollment has closed. Change happens, in fact it is the only constant in life.  When the need for benefits changes, we are here to help, and not just during open enrollment season.  That is one of the big differences with working with AUI to help you find and maximize your employee benefits.  Contact us today to get started.

We do more than cover small businesses and individuals with the right insurance policies and benefit plans – what motivates our team is helping you save more so you can invest more in your team, family, and goals.

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