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What HR Needs to Do After Open Enrollment Ends

What HR Needs to Do After Open Enrollment Ends

Open enrollment is a critical time of the year for organizations and HR leaders. There are countless resources and benefit options to consider and formulating a strategy to involve and inform your employees is a tall task. That said, effectively maneuvering through the initial enrollment process is only the beginning. After all, successful benefits administration should be a year-round effort. 

Keep reading to learn how to follow up with employees and benefits partners after open enrollment ends. 


How to Follow Up with Employees

Reach out to your employees following the open enrollment period to ensure they fully understand their benefit plans and have all the resources they need. 

Those resources include ID cards and pay stubs. Most employees will receive ID cards for their vision, dental, and health plans. These are often physical, though digital cards are becoming ever more prevalent. 

It is employees’ responsibility to double-check that the proper amount is being deducted each month from their paycheck to contribute to their 401(k)s and to pay for insurance premiums. 

Employees may also have questions about how they can access their accounts, including HSA or FSA accounts. Be sure they know how to access this information.

Finally, request feedback from your employees. What went smoothly or not? Which benefit offerings could have been better explained and how? What do they still have questions about? Feedback can help you identify employee questions and concerns and can help you plan accordingly for next year’s open enrollment.


How to Help an Employee Who Misses Open Enrollment

Employees have a limited window of time to enroll under the typical open enrollment process. Once this enrollment window closes, employees will need to wait until the following year to change their benefits elections. For this reason, organizations have a responsibility to ensure all employees are well-informed weeks—and even months—before the enrollment period. Once the period is open, employers should be generous with reminders regarding the deadline.

If employees miss the deadline, consider meeting with them to discuss their options. Be straightforward and informative so that the employee has all the information they need. 

Generally, an employee who misses enrollment will need to wait until the following year to enroll in a new plan or make changes to their employer-sponsored health plan. Depending on when your open enrollment period ends, the employee may be eligible to enroll in a public healthcare plan through’s Marketplace.

If employees neglect to elect or enroll in benefits, they may still be eligible for a special enrollment period. Special enrollment periods can occur at any point during the year and are triggered by particular life events. These events include:

  • Marriage

  • Divorce

  • Birth of a child

  • Adoption

  • Death of a spouse

  • A dependent reaches the age of 26

  • A dependent gains new insurance

If an employee falls under any of the above life events, they would be considered eligible to enroll in a new group health plan. They will be allowed 30 days to enroll or change any of their benefit elections. 

Of course, it’s better to help all employees meet the open enrollment deadline in the first place. 


How to Follow Up with Benefits Partners

Work with benefits partners—such as brokers and carriers—to determine what went well and what didn't. This feedback—and the relevant enrollment data—will help you create more effective measures in the future. 

For example, ask your benefits partners if there are areas in which you can better control costs, such as outsourcing or streamlining any excess procedures.

Be sure you work with these partners to stay up to date on all laws and regulations that may have changed. You will need to understand these changes to remain compliant.

Ask for general feedback as well. With considerable insight into the industry as a whole, brokers can offer a unique perspective that can help you identify any oversights that need to be addressed. 

Broker partners may also have information about what other companies in your industry are doing. Ask about the industry standards, and use your partners' insights to your advantage. 


Additional Resources

You can also stay informed, educated, and up-to-date with open enrollment and other important topics by using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop-shop for HR industry news

  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance

  • HR Guides—essential pillars, covering an extensive list of comprehensive HR topics

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit

  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics 

BernieU Course The Ultimate Guide to Benefits Administration and Open Enrollment

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