6 Steps to Employee Onboarding for Your Benefits Plan
By: Benefits by Design | Tuesday February 4, 2020Updated : Tuesday December 15, 2020
Enrolling employees in your company benefits plan may sound as simple as getting them to fill out some forms (and we try so hard to make it so). Still, there are a lot of considerations that make it an important topic for us to cover.
Improperly enrolling an employee, or forgetting to altogether, can negatively impact their coverage levels or leave them without coverage. Not to mention, failing to enroll an employee in your insurance plan can bring added stress for both you and your employee.
Ensure you’re getting it right with these six simple steps to enroll new employees in your benefits plan.
#1. Discuss the Benefits Plan Enrollment in Your Employee Onboarding Program
It’s normal to have a new employee go through an onboarding program. The onboarding program is where you provide them with the resources and tools they need for their new job. An employee onboarding program may include training materials, email set-up, and maybe even a welcome lunch!
As a part of that onboarding process, we strongly recommend providing a detailed overview of your company’s benefits package.
It is vital to discuss the employee benefits plan during onboarding and be available for questions. Discuss the enrollment process and state the importance of enrolling in the employee benefits plan on time to avoid the consequences of filing as a late applicant.
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#2. Set a Reminder for the Employee’s Eligibility Date
Most group insurance plans have an eligibility period that employees must meet before enrolling in the benefits plan. The eligibility period usually corresponds to any company probation period, which is handy for both the employee and the employer. It serves as a key milestone and a reminder about plan eligibility. As an example, a 3-month probation period for a new position is common, and so is a 3-month eligibility period. In this example, once an employee passes their probation, they become eligible for the group benefits plan!
Set a reminder in your calendar to prompt you when an employee becomes eligible for the plan. Once the employee reaches their eligibility date, the clock starts ticking.
That’s how long an employee has to enroll in your benefits plan once they’ve become eligible. After that, they may be considered a late applicant. If they are considered a late applicant, the employee may be required to submit medical evidence or back-pay premiums. As a result, their coverage could be partially affected or denied entirely.
#3. Provide the Employee with Forms and Resources
Once the employee is eligible, provide them with everything they need to enroll in their benefits plan in one package. Providing the employee with their forms increases the chances they’ll complete their documentation on time.
Protip: Consider taking advantage of technology through Online Enrollment processes, which streamlines benefits enrollment and administration.
#4. Be Available for Questions
As much as we try to make things as clear and straightforward as possible, the enrollment process isn’t always so cut-and-dry. One of the easiest and most effective things you can do as a Plan Administrator is to be available for questions, and knowledgeable enough to answer them.
#5. Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
Life is busy! We understand that enrolling in a benefits plan is likely not top-of-mind, but it should be! Once an employee hits that eligibility date, there’s only a 31-day window to enroll on time. If you notice that time is slipping by, ensure you’re following up with employees to complete their applications.
#6. Communicate Consistently
Your employee is officially enrolled in your benefits plan and has a good understanding of their coverage.
But your job’s not done. Now comes the most important part — consistent communication! To confidently say that you’ve onboarded an employee and set them up with your benefits plan, you’ve got to keep talking about it. Remind them of their coverage, how to process claims and where to do it, and share materials and resources.
If you follow these six simple steps for getting employees enrolled and utilizing their benefits plan, you’ll be well on your way to a happier, healthier, and more knowledgeable workplace.