It’s that time of year again – Open Enrollment is just around the corner! We at Travisoft know as benefit administrators, it’s impossible to forget this time of year. You are busy entering new rates, sending out notifications, and answering more questions that you thought possible. But, what about your COBRA participants? Have your employers notified you of their Open Enrollment and new rates?
We know it gets hectic this season, so we wanted to send some tips to consider during Open Enrollment, and hopefully some ideas to make it a little smoother:
1. Update the Benefit Rates or structures for COBRA participants just as active Employees. “Any change made to the plan's terms that apply to similarly-situated active employees and their families will also apply to qualified beneficiaries receiving COBRA continuation coverage.” (Department of Labor FAQ's)
2. Send your COBRA participants, and those pending, an Open Enrollment notification. “Qualified beneficiaries must be allowed to make the same choices given to non-COBRA beneficiaries under the plan, such as during periods of open enrollment by the plan.” (Department of Labor FAQ's)
Your COBRA software should have an Open Enrollment template that you can send as a batch to participants. If you have a platform that allows for editing of the default letters, this is a great opportunity to customize your letters for the best communication to participants. Add information such as the new rates, the Open Enrollment period, contact information and more.
3. Notify COBRA Participants of a Rate Change. This is a great way to increase communication with participants. If they are notified of a Rate Change, that means fewer calls for you and for clients. With T-COBRAWEB, a rate-change notice can be automatically generated at the time a rate-change is made. Meaning, participants are always in the know.
4. Don’t forget about Coupons! If you use coupons for billing your clients, it’s important to send new coupons with the new information. Your COBRA software should have the ability when making a rate-change for you to elect to send the coupons. If you have a platform like T-COBRAWEB, you may have elected to have coupons only generate at the end of the plan year to eliminate confusion for participants.
5. Are you billing your clients for Open Enrollment? Processing Open Enrollment takes significant time, effort and diligence on your part. Consider all that you do: updating rates, generating and mailing correspondence, receiving enrollment forms, and answering unlimited questions. Using Client-Fee Invoicing, bill your clients per Open-Enrollment notification sent, and even add-on an annual fee for processing.
We hope these reminders and tips help you navigate the Open Enrollment waters a little more smoothly. If you need more automation in your Open Enrollment processes for COBRA participants, or for COBRA administration as a whole, request a demo of T-COBRAWEB.