Set up & Kick off Open Enrollment

Once you and your Advisor have prepared for Open Enrollment (OE), and your Advisor has let you know that they’ve completed your implementation or renewal on Maxwell, it’s time to set up your OE. Either you or your Advisor will take this step.

In this article, we'll review:

NOTE: Only Master Administrators have access to the OE tool. Standard Administrators cannot see the “Set up Open Enrollment” tab, and will not see the widget on the Admin dashboard. Learn more about Admin permissions here >

Set up Open Enrollment

Setting up Open Enrollment will follow several main steps:

  1. Provide OE dates
  2. Select the eligibility groups who should be included in the OE
  3. Select the products your employees should be able to shop for as part of this OE
  4. Indicate if any products should be a passive enrollment
  5. Review the OE Summary, including employees with warnings because they’re in another event
  6. Decide whether or not you want to keep the "Reminder Emails" setting defaulted to "ON." This means a reminder email will automatically send to any employees who are in the annual Open Enrollment event and haven’t checked out of shopping 2 business days before the Open Enrollment End Date.

    • You can turn the setting “OFF” if you don’t want the reminder emails to send at any time.
    • You can also turn this setting “ON” or “OFF” once your Open Enrollment setup is complete, even during OE. You can do this right in your Open Enrollment Summary.
    • Reminder emails will not send if this setting is turned “ON” with less than 2 business days left in Open Enrollment. If you extend Open Enrollment, it will send the employee an email again 2 business days before the new OE End Date, even if they've already received the email.
    • The reminder email is a standard Maxwell template and cannot be edited or customized. See a preview here>
    • You can check the "Communications Log" under Tools > Communications > Send > View Log to see who this email has been sent to.
  7. Do you have any OE notices that need to be signed off by employees that aren't related to a particular carrier or enrollment? You should make sure those are added as electronic forms in Maxwell and set the "Auto-Sending" setting to "ON." Learn more here >
  8. Complete OE setup once you’re a day away from the OE Start Date

See a walkthrough of the detailed steps below: 

Additional steps to take right before OE begins

Once you’ve set up OE, there are a few steps you’ll want to take right before OE begins:

  1. Under Settings > Preferences, make sure "Sandbox Mode" is disabled.

  2. Check to see if you have the "Employee Confirmation of Benefits" system notification on under Settings > Notifications. This will automatically send you a confirmation email after an employee has checked out of shopping in Maxwell. You may want to turn this setting off during annual OE, so you don't receive an email every time an employee confirms their benefits. Then, you turn it back on after annual OE is over. Learn more about notifications here.
  3. Also under Settings > Notifications, you may want to check that the help questions are correctly set up to field OE-related questions from employees. Your Advisor may be handling these questions, so check in with them on that.

Kick off Open Enrollment

There are also a few steps you’ll want to take to kick off Open Enrollment on the OE Start Date!

  1. If this is your first time running annual open enrollment through Maxwell, you may want to try the shopping experience for yourself, as an employee, as soon as your OE period begins. You can do this by logging into your employee account and running through Maxwell before you send an email to your employees. You can also see what any of your employees see at any time by clicking People > Active Employees > Log in as Employee.
  2. We recommend sending an email to employees on the annual OE Start Date when the products will be available for shopping. You can do this in Maxwell by taking the following steps:
    1. Click Email Employees from the Dashboard

    2. The tool will populate a distribution list of your employees who are included in the Open Enrollment event. The "Welcome & Annual Open Enrollment" template will automatically default (as long as your Advisor has made that template available to you). You may want to switch to the "Kick Off Annual Open Enrollment" if this is a renewal or your employees have been using Maxwell. You can edit the template before you send to employees. Whether you use our email templates or not, make sure you include the link to Maxwell Health, so employees know where to go to log in (! Read more on how to compose and send welcome emails to your employees through Maxwell.

      TIP: If using our Send Communications tool for the first time, ask your IT department or Network Administrator to whitelist Maxwell's dedicated IP for email. A whitelist is a list of email addresses or domain names from which an email blocking program will allow messages to be received.

FAQs and Troubleshooting
Answers to some common questions about setting up and kicking off open enrollment.

Q: I don’t understand what a passive enrollment is. Can you help me?
Certainly! Check out this article on passive vs. active enrollments.

Q: Do you support an OE with products for which the plan year has already started?  
Yes, an OE can include products with plan year effective dates that are up to 90 days in the past from the day you’re setting up OE. The plan year end date must also be at least 90 days away from the day you’re setting up OE.

Q: I’m trying to set up a passive OE for a product, but the previous product I’m looking for is not displaying. Why?
This may be because of the plan year dates on either product. Previous products will only display to map passively if their plan year end date is 90 days before or after the effective date of the new product. If you’re not sure when your plan year is for either product, check with your Advisor.

Q: How do I include employees who are currently listed under the warnings section of my Open Enrollment summary?
If you haven’t completed setup yet, there’s still time to get those employees included. See the options in this article.

Q: I started setting up an OE but haven’t completed it yet. Can I leave and come back?
Of course! Once you’ve saved a draft Open Enrollment, you can leave and come back before you complete it. When you log back in and go to the “Set up Open Enrollment” screen, you’ll be asked to pick up where you left off.

Q: I’m trying to set up OE, but it says I don’t have any products listed. What should I do? Get in touch with your Advisor. They may still be setting your products for implementation or renewal.

Q: What happens to products set up with a passive enrollment once I complete the setup?
If the employee either enrolled in or waived the previous product, a product with a passive enrollment will be set to a status of “Selected,” with their product options carried over to the new product.

Note: If an employee has an enrolled or waived product with a termination date (including a future termination date), it is not considered to be a previous product. The new product will set to a status of “Open.”

Q: What happens to products set up with an active enrollment once I complete the setup?
Generally speaking, products with active enrollments will be set to a status of "Open." Any products with an active enrollment that are pre-selected will be set to "Selected." These are products that have a full employer contribution or require 100% employee participation. After you complete OE setup, you can view the products on each employee's profile. You can also run the Enrollment Status Report to see across all employees. Note: Your Advisor determines which products are pre-selected when setting up your implementation or renewal. Please contact them if you have any questions about how that works.

Q: I completed OE setup and it looks like a product that is supposed to be linked in the shopping experience is set to a status of “Open” instead of “Selected.” What’s wrong?
Are you running an active enrollment for this product? If so, that’s why. An active enrollment will set the product to “Open.” This is the case even if the product should be set to “Selected” after the employee selects another product. The only exception to this is for HSA products with linking. These products will stay “Selected” after an employee selects the HSA-compatible medical plan. Note: Your Advisor sets linking rules to products when setting up your implementation or renewal. Please contact them if you have any questions about how that works.

Q: Why is an employee listed as excluded from the OE if their change event date is in the future, after the OE End Date?
All employees who have an open event date will be listed here, even if their event is in the future. If you’d like to include them in the OE, you can end the event and, if necessary, kick it off again after OE is over.
Note: You won’t be able to kick off a “new hire” event again in the future, but as a workaround, you can kick off an “Administrative Change,” open the relevant “Eligible Products” for shopping, and click Done on the event.

Q: What happens if there’s a new hire or change event once OE has been setup or started?
Please see this article on dual enrollment >

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