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BerniePortal Announces New Passive, Automatic Open Enrollment Feature

BerniePortal Announces New Passive, Automatic Open Enrollment Feature

BerniePortal announced on Sept. 24, 2020, the addition of passive open enrollment, a new feature that enhances open enrollment capabilities for employers, admins, and employees. Otherwise known as auto-enrollment, the function is available to use beginning in October 2020—just in time for the 2021 enrollment period. Here’s what you need to know.


What is Passive Open Enrollment?

Passive enrollment is a benefits enrollment strategy that employers use to simplify benefits enrollment and maintain benefits participation. Employers using a passive open enrollment strategy simply roll over each employee's benefit elections from the previous enrollment period.

On the other hand, active enrollment requires employees to engage in the full enrollment process each year. These workers individually select each of their benefits for the subsequent year versus simply signing off on the same benefits from the previous year. 

Both methods have their pros and cons. But, for employers facing a time crunch—either from employees forgetting to enroll or deferring to their employers—passive enrollment can save time and effort in the short- and long-term.


How Does BerniePortal’s New Passive Open Enrollment Feature Work?

When it’s time for organizations to close open enrollment, a new Auto-Enrollment modal will appear for admins. This modal prompts users to match each plan from the prior offer to a plan and coverage tier from the current offer.

Once the Auto-Enrollment configurations are set and open enrollment is closed, employees who didn’t log in to BerniePortal to make active elections will be enrolled in the plans set in the Auto-Enrollment configuration. This offers significant benefits for HR and admins, including: 

  1. Time savings
  2. Compliance confidence
  3. Higher benefits plan participation

The function will be available for admins to use beginning in October 2020. Watch the full announcement here.


Auto Enrollment FAQs

What if an employer is offering new benefit types at renewal?

If a new benefit type is in the Current Offer and it was not offered in the Prior Offer, the Prior Offer coverage tier column will only have one row, “None”. The only auto-enrollment option for the Current Offer plan(s) will be “Waive”.

Why is "Waive" often the only option that appears in the auto enrollment settings for the Current Offer plan and coverage tier?

“Waive” is the only option for someone who had “Waived” the Prior Offer plan. “Waive” may also be the only option available if at least one of the premium settings have changed from the Prior Offer plan to the Current Offer plan.

Once enrollment is closed, can admins go back and change the auto-enrollment settings?


What if admins close open enrollment but aren't presented with the auto-enrollment modal?

In this case, all employees logged in to BerniePortal and made active elections for that renewal group. In other words, there were no employees to auto-enroll in plans so there is no need to configure auto-enrollment settings.

What if users can't see the “auto-enrollment settings” option under the actions gear in the Benefits | Open Enrollment area?

This means that all employees logged into BerniePortal and made active elections for that renewal group.

Are admins required to use auto-enrollment when it goes live?

No. Admins can insist that all employees log in and make active elections.

Can admins auto-enroll new hires or employees who have experienced a qualifying event?

No. Auto-enrollment is only available for open enrollment.


What Else Should Employers and HR Know About Open Enrollment 2021?

Q4 is just around the corner, meaning open enrollment is rapidly approaching for many employers. Along with implementing passive open enrollment, employers should consider following seven key steps to prepare for 2021 benefits administration. 

In addition, HR teams can take a free, comprehensive BernieU course to learn the ins and outs of the enrollment process. Even better, the program has been approved for continuing education credits for SHRM and HRCI accreditations.

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