eCOBRA | Open Enrollment FAQs

What is Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment is the period of time during which employees and COBRA participants select their health care benefits (such as medical, dental, vision or flex) for the upcoming plan year. Usually, Open Enrollment is held one to two months before the desired effective date (typically the date your group renews its coverage). Employers should allow ample time to prepare and communicate health care changes as well as collect any required forms.

How do I communicate Open Enrollment to COBRA participants?

An Open Enrollment packet should be mailed to each COBRA participants’ home address by 1st class mail using a mailing method called Certificate of Mailing.  You can obtain a Certificate of Mailing Form from your local Post Office. The packet should contain everything a participant will need to make an informed coverage decision and election including: coverage effective date, election options, election form(s), coverage summary, cost, deadline to return forms and an explanation of consequences for failing to respond to the Open Enrollment Notice.

Does Healthcare Reform change notice requirements for Open Enrollment processing?

Yes. The Plan Administrator (Employer) should review recent changes under Healthcare Reform and review required employee disclosures. Some of the new disclosures are:  Grandfather Plan Notice, Lifetime Limits Notice, Patient Protection Notice, Dependent Coverage Age Change Notice, and Prohibition on Preexisting Conditions Notice. Employers should review the Plan and determine what notices are required under Healthcare Reform. Employers should contact their insurance agent or insurance carrier for more information.

Who is required to provide the Open Enrollment packet?

The Plan Administrator (Employer) is responsible for communicating rights under Open Enrollment to active staff as well as COBRA participants.

Can eCOBRA process Open Enrollment packets for us?

Yes. As an added service, eCOBRA can handle Open Enrollment packet to COBRA participants on your behalf. By outsourcing COBRA administration to eCOBRA, you will no longer take the legal responsibility for administration or require the knowledge necessary for administration.  The additional cost to outsource this task is $15 per packet and includes collecting the elections and sending them to you. The Plan Administrator (Employer) is responsible for providing all materials/forms for mailing.  Contact our office if you are interested in outsourcing this COBRA administration requirement.




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