Group Employee Benefit Plans/Denial of Open Enrollment
My friend's employer is threatening to withhold open enrollment packets from those employees that do not attend the open enrollment meetings. She asked me if this was okay. I advised her that the employer would be able to discipline her for not attending if it was a mandatory meeting but they would have to provide her with an open enrollment packet to review and allow her to enroll into the benefits program. Do you have a law that would address this or have this in writing anywhere? We are in Seattle, WA.
There is no law on this in writing. Your friend does not want to miss out on open enrollment because many insurance companies will not allow one to enroll if they miss the open enrollment period. If she receives the packet late and is not enrolled on time she will not have insurance. The employer responsibility is to have a meeting each year and offer insurance to the employees. If the employee does not wish to attend and accept the insurance offer the company has satisfied their requirement.
If she misses the meeting she will have to now go to HR or your benefits manager to get a packet and see if they will allow her to sign up at that time. We have our insurance meeting as a company in fact it is next week and we sign the employees up at the meeting.
We are told we (A) have to have an open enrollment meeting every year (B) have to furnish materials and explain the insurance plan and choices if any (c) collect and send in the insurance forms after they are properly filled out. This is the employer's responsibility. Tracking down employees to give them packets because the do not wish to attend a meeting given for their benefit is not required.
If there is a medical reason she cannot attend she should let them know ahead of time and see if she can enroll before the meeting. If there is no good reason she cannot attend she should attend the insurance meeting, it is only once a year.