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Unread 06-21-2002, 11:27 AM
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Default Annual Open Enrollment Period - Section 125

I am interested in finding out what other employer's policies are about accepting enrollment forms after the close of the annual open enrollment period.

This year our annual open enrollment period ran 5/13/02 through 6/14/02. Our plan year starts 7/1/02. We have 5,000 benefit eligible employees in a pre-tax section 125 plan.

We have publicized in all of our communications that no enrollment forms would be accepted after 6/14/02 and we would like to stand firm on this, however there are always a few who don't take care of business as they should and ask (sometimes demand) for an exception to be made. Has anyone been legally challenged on not accepting late enrollment forms?

Any comments on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Unread 06-25-2002, 04:39 AM
Don D
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Default RE: Annual Open Enrollment Period - Section 125

I don't see how they could challenge your published open enr dates if your practice has been to observe those dates. but, I would tend to be more worried about all the others who would challenge your letting him submit after the close date. It would open quite a can of worms. We stick with the published dates and allow no exceptions. It runs for a month and that's time for the worst procrastinator to either take care of business or miss the train. x:-)
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Unread 06-25-2002, 06:29 AM
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Default RE: Annual Open Enrollment Period - Section 125

I agree. There are some plans that will not allow you to make exceptions for late enrollees. We also started doing this with 401(k)every January and July. We publicize and publicize and there are still a few who think they can come up after the deadline and still be let in. I advised our benefits speciaist last year not to let them join the plan and make them wait another 6 months with no exceptions. Guess what? They got in the plan well ahead of the deadline this time!

You are absolutely right. If you allow some people to do this, then you will have to allow every straggler there is to join late and you have a paperwork nightmare!
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Unread 06-25-2002, 07:47 AM
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Default RE: Annual Open Enrollment Period - Section 125

I have helped the new employees get in after the enrollmemnt deadline, and they really use their health benefits a lot - especially dental. It is the long time employees who cause the most headaches when they want to "save" money, drop their coverage, and when something happens - they come to me and insist
on getting back in. Some times we can do it ...for example, one female employee dropped her coverage, then became pregnant - that was a lot of work on my part to get her back in. Most of the time, the employee has to wait until next enrollment.
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Unread 06-25-2002, 11:17 AM
Lori B
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Default RE: Annual Open Enrollment Period - Section 125

I agree about making ees stick to deadlines; however, be careful. Many health plan documents (at least for fully insured plans) provide a 30-day grace period for various enrollments. Our group carrier allows this grace period to run from 30 days after the close of our annual open enrollment window. It would seem that a disgruntled ee could make a claim that you aren't following your plan document if you don't abide by the 30-day grace period. Having said that, I don't advertise this at all.

do you ever feel like you will start wiping their noses and tieing their shoe laces next? It is so hard to get people to fill out the simplest of forms sometimes....
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Unread 06-25-2002, 11:19 AM
Lori B
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Default RE: Annual Open Enrollment Period - Section 125


One more point: 125 enrollment can never be late. It would appear that the latecomers who slide in within the 30-day grace period would be paying their premiums post tax since they blew a most unforgiving deadline for 125.
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