Onboarding employees into your company’s benefits plan might seem as straightforward as completing a few forms—and we strive to simplify it as much as possible. However, the process is nuanced and critical, with potential pitfalls such as improperly enrolling an employee or missing their enrollment, which could lead to inadequate coverage or no coverage at all, causing stress for both the employer and the employee.

To ensure a smooth enrollment process, follow these six steps:

Integrate Benefits Discussion in Onboarding Program: Incorporate a thorough introduction to your company’s benefits package during the employee onboarding program. An employee onboarding program may include training materials, email set-up, and maybe even a welcome lunch! This should be a part of providing new hires with all the necessary resources and tools for their role, ensuring they understand the importance of timely benefits enrollment to avoid the repercussions of late applicants.

Monitor Eligibility Dates: Group insurance plans typically have an eligibility period linked to the company’s probation period. Setting a reminder for when an employee becomes eligible. Once the employee reaches their eligibility date, the clock starts ticking. For example, after a common 3-month probation period—can help manage timely enrollments.

Employees have 31 days from becoming eligible to enroll, otherwise they will become late applicants. 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.

Supply Necessary Forms and Being Available to Questions: Once eligibility is confirmed, provide employees with all the necessary forms and information to enroll. Utilizing online enrollment can streamline this process. Then remember to offer support for queries as the enrollment process can sometimes be complex.

Persistent Follow-ups: Given the busy nature of work and life, it’s essential to regularly follow up with employees within their 31-day eligibility window to ensure they complete their enrollment.

Maintain Open Communication: Even after enrollment, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Continually inform employees about their coverage details, claim processes, and any other pertinent information to ensure they fully utilize their benefits.

Adhering to these steps not only facilitates the smooth enrollment of employees into your benefits plan but also contributes to creating an informed, healthy, and satisfied workforce.