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2021 ICHRA annual notice requirement and open enrollment period

Employers providing an Individual Coverage HRA must distribute a required annual “Notice to Employees” at least 90 days before the start of a 2021 ICHRA plan year. Plan sponsors must know when the notice is due and how it coordinates with the 2021 open enrollment period, special enrollment periods, and substantiation of coverage.

health Insurance

All employers providing an Individual Coverage HRA to employees must distribute the 2021 ICHRA Annual Notice to Employees at least 90 days before the new plan year begins.


All employee health benefit plans operate on an annual basis, usually January 1 to December 31. Before the start of each plan year, participants in these employer-sponsored plans are given the chance to make changes to their benefits package. For the most part, this is conducted internally with employees selecting from the options available within the overall plan.

When an employer provides an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement, there is an additional part of this annual routine: the employee’s selection of an individual coverage health plan on the open market or exchange.

2021 Open enrollment period

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare) restricts the marketing of health plans that meet its minimum essential coverage (MEC) requirements to an open enrollment period of only six weeks ear the end of each year. It’s meant to coordinate with most employers’ calendar-year benefit plans.

For 2021 plans, the open enrollment period is November 1, 2020, through December 15, 2020.

When an individual does not acquire or make changes to existing health insurance by the end of open enrollment, he or she is unable to do so until the next open enrollment period (unless a qualifying life event opens a special enrollment period for them).

2021 ICHRA annual notice

That is why the 90-day “Notice to Employees” is so important that the Department of Labor (DOL) requires employers that provide an ICHRA to distribute the notice every year in a timely manner.

To make sure employees know it is time to review their current individual health coverage and consider what, if any, changes they might want to make, sponsors of an ICHRA must distribute a written Notice to Employees no later than 90 days before the first day of a new plan year.

For an ICHRA with a plan year beginning January 1, 2021, the annual Notice to Employees must be received by plan participants by October 3, 2020.

2021 ICHRA non-calendar year plans

The 90-day Notice to Employees is required for any 2021 plan year. Here are the due dates for February 1 to December 1, 2021.

ICHRA 90-day Notice to Employees Schedule

For a plan year beginning on Deliver to employees by
February 1, 2021 November 3, 2020
March 1, 2020 December 2, 2020
April 1, 2021 January 2, 2021
May 1, 2021 February 1, 2021
June 1, 2021 March 3, 2021
July 1, 2021 April 2, 2021
August 1, 2021 May 3, 2021
September 1, 2021 June 3, 2021
October 1, 2021 July 3, 2021
November 1, 2021 August 3, 2021
December 1, 2021   September 2, 2021

Calculating notice due date

For companies with a non-calendar plan year that does not begin on the first of a month, you can easily calculate the date with an online calculator like the one at timeanddate.com.

Annual SEP

When an employer sponsors an ICHRA on a non-calendar plan year, the employees qualify for a 60-day special enrollment period that begins 60 days before the triggering event, in this case, the last day of the previous plan year.

The Notice to Employees must be given to employees at least 90 days prior to the start of the plan year to allow time for them to secure individual health coverage for the coming year.

Preparing the notice

The ICHRA annual Notice to Employees must contain current information for the new plan year. It can be distributed in a manner that ensures every eligible plan participant receives a copy and knows its importance. Electronic distribution is permitted (see: How to meet IRS rules on electronic distribution of the plan document SPD).

Continuing plans

If the employer already has an ICHRA (2020 plan year) and there will be no changes to the plan for the 2021 plan year, they may be able to simply modify the dates on the 2020 notice for 2021. Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or to set up a free, no-obligation plan design consultation.

Changes to 2021 ICHRA

In most cases, the sponsor will make changes to the ICHRA terms for the next plan year. For example, to the amount of the benefit or employee group classifications. Contact us today for the easiest way to make these changes to your plan document package.

New plans

For employers wanting to provide an ICHRA for the first time, our Core ICHRA plan document package has everything an employer needs to establish a basic IRS- and DOL-compliant plan for a one-time fee of $199.

Substantiation of Coverage

Employees must provide substantiation of coverage prior to the start of each plan year and substantiation of continuing coverage with each reimbursement request. Read ICHRA substantiation of coverage (Individual Coverage HRA) to learn more.

All-inclusive Core ICHRA plan document package

The easiest way to make sure the required annual notice and other documents are prepared as stipulated by the IRS and DOL is to order the Core ICHRA plan document package from Core Documents.

Everything listed here is included and customized for your plan and your company:

  • IRS-required Plan Document
  • DOL-required Summary Plan Description (SPD)
  • ICHRA Notice to Employees (90-day notice)
  • Election form
  • Substantiation of Coverage form
  • Substantiation of Continuing Coverage affidavit
  • Claim form
  • and more . . .

Core IC-HRA Plan Document package for Individual Coverage HRAs just $199

Deluxe Binder Version

Health Insurance YOUR WAY

No two people have the same health coverage needs. That’s why one-size-fits-all group health plans are often a less effective solution for most of us.

With the new ICHRA, businesses can now return health coverage choice to employees. It’s all about having health insurance your way.

$199 one-time fee in PDF via email*

$249 one-time fee in PDF email* + Deluxe Binder via USPS

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*Basic plan design

No annual fee — Core Documents does not require an annual renewal fee to maintain your plan document package. A plan document only needs to be updated when there are changes in the plan or in the law that make it necessary. We will notify you when there are sufficient changes in the Code to require amending and restating your Plan and ask that you keep us informed when there is a change to your plan.  You can amend and update your plan document anytime, at a discounted fee and only when necessary, which is the most cost-effective way to maintain it.

Fast Service — Most orders placed by 3 PM are returned via email the same day, Monday through Friday. Weekend orders are sent out Monday morning. Plan document packages are processed in the order received. During our busiest months (December, January, and February), the rush order fee (see order form) marks your document to be processed immediately.

Refund Policy — Goods and services provided by Core Documents, Inc. are non-refundable upon receipt. Orders canceled prior to shipping are subject to a fee to cover the cost of goods and services provided during the review, draft, and preparation of your order.

The Trusted Source of Affordable Benefit Plan Documents for over 20 Years.

Core Documents is the country’s leading provider of cost-effective, tax-saving benefit plan documents for Section 125 Cafeteria plans and Health Reimbursement Arrangements. The Trusted Source since 1997, thousands of satisfied agents and employer groups nationwide rely upon Core Documents for free plan design consulting services, plan document updates, ERISA Wrap SPDs, and administration services.