Get It Right When Announcing a Dependent Audit at Open Enrollment
By Nick Freeman

An emerging trend is impacting Open Enrollment communications. More than ever before, employers are choosing a Dependent Audit vendor well in advance of Open Enrollment, then enlisting the help of that vendor to craft language informing employees of the future requirement to verify dependent eligibility.

Here are some tips on using OE to announce an upcoming Dependent Eligibility Verification project.

Open Enrollment Communication Tips

  1. Avoid the word audit. It’s a negative word and can draw attention away from the actual goal of the announcement, which is to have employees be aware and prepared for the letters at the project launch.
  2. Make it about compliance, not money. Employees are more likely to comply with an initiative related to compliance with the federal law ERISA than a message of reducing costs.
  3. Take a tone of “this is a common practice” – because it is.
  4. Mention birth certificates and marriage licenses. Without giving employees too much detail, it’s essential to get them thinking about the vital documents of their dependents. It also mutes any surprise when the letter arrives at their home and details what documents are required to submit for each dependent type.
  5. Mention that there will be a deadline. Employees need to know that procrastination has consequences.
  6. Mention that any unverified dependents will lose coverage.
  7. If your vendor allows it, provide the name and support number to field employee questions. Roughly 50% of clients do this to insulate HR from questions about a project 2-3 months in the future.
  8. Tell employees when to expect the first letters in the mail.

An example: “Our company is adopting the common Compliance practice of verifying the eligibility of dependents who receive benefits.  A few weeks after open enrollment, all employees covering dependents for Medical, Dental, Vision or Supplemental Life Insurance will receive a letter with instructions on how to submit documents to keep dependent(s) covered for coverage in 2019.  Documents to submit may include marriage licenses and birth certificates, and there will be a deadline.  Your instructions should arrive by mail in mid-December.”

For more best practices in Dependent Audits, including how to inform employees of a future dependent eligibility requirement, contact DSI.

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