Question: I am submitting this question on behalf of a client: Can an employer require that an employee enrollment form be completed by a certain date, and if it is not completed by the specified date it is an assumed waiver of coverage? What is the employer liability?
Our Response: Yes – you may tell your client that, as an employer, they can implement an internal administrative procedure, requiring an employee to complete an initial enrollment form within a specified time frame. Most employers do provide materials to a newly-eligible employee and allow for a period of at least 15 days to make election. We would recommend including this with materials provided at time of initial enrollment and be consistent in applying this to all eligible employees. If an employee does not make an election in this time frame, the employer can either enroll the employee in a default option (self-only) or consider this a waiver of coverage – and the employee would be required to wait for the next annual enrollment period or a special enrollment opportunity. Please make sure that you check with the client’s carrier to determine the last date the carrier will accept enrollment applications for this purpose, prior to an employee being considered a “late enrollee” .
In terms of a special enrollment, be advised an employee does have within 30 days from the qualifying event to make an election.