Think Twice Before Offering Special Enrollment Due to COVID-19

Some big insurance companies and eleven state insurance exchanges announced limited special enrollment to help more people get insurance coverage. Should you do the same? It could be tempting to say yes when one of your employees, who previously waived coverage, comes to you asking to enroll. Keep the following information in mind, and don’t do anything without discussing with your account manager.

  • Cafeteria plan elections are irrevocable during the plan year unless there is a qualifying event. The National Health Emergency is not a qualifying event.
  • An employee who opted out of the plan at the beginning of the plan year can’t enroll and expect to have pre-tax contributions.
  • If you still want to let the employee enroll, can your payroll system handle after-tax premiums?
  • Your stop-loss vendor might not like this. The vendor’s consent is vital.
  • If you offer a window of enrollment, what if it isn’t long enough? You’re back to square one with new decisions to make.

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About the Author

Sue Thomas

Posted in: Employee Benefits, Human Resources

Posted by Sue Thomas

Director, Contracts & Compliance. Sue has more than 30 years of intensive, hands-on experience working with a wide variety of employee benefit plans. As the Director of Contracts and Compliance, Sue is responsible for the management of all BSG® client contracts, including insured contracts, service contracts, and self-insured contracts as well as ensuring that these materials comply with all applicable state and federal benefit regulations. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Sue has completed the RHU program, six CEBS courses and holds a Life and Health agent license.