With health plans now focused on finalizing their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) documents, the pressure is on to get materials in members’ hands by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) September 30 deadline.

Finalizing these documents and getting them in the mail comes with a number of challenges, and any kink in the process can create a domino effect that could delay delivery timelines. The last domino in this chain is the print and fulfillment component.

Because health plans across the country are all trying to meet the same strict September deadline, print dates are scheduled with printers well in advance. But if documents aren’t ready by the scheduled date, the printer could skip the plan and push it to the back of the line. It could take the plan days or weeks to get back on the print schedule. In some cases, the plan may need to find a new printer to print their materials on time.

With that in mind, it’s important to establish a contingency plan in case something goes wrong. Below are three things to consider when establishing a back-up plan for printing and mailing your ANOC and EOC materials:

1. The window for standard mail delivery

Per USPS published guidelines, Standard Mail typically takes 3-9 days to deliver materials to members within the continental US. As such, plans should have materials assembled and in the mail no later than September 17 in order to meet the September 30 deadline. If the plan misses this mailing deadline, their contingency plan should set guidelines for mailing materials via First-Class, which in the case of the ANOC package would likely mean Priority Mail or Priority-Express Mail due to package weight.

2. The accessibility of other vendors

While plans can typically get back on the schedule of their contracted printer if they miss their initial print date, it’s not always guaranteed. It’s important to have a list of other vendors available in the event that this occurs. This can also be helpful in the event of a natural disaster or catastrophic failure that may impact the printer. In addition to having contingency plans for printers, health plans should also have back-up plans for their fulfillment and lettershop vendors.

3. The availability of third-party partners

For health plans that struggle to establish and execute a contingency plan, consider having a single vendor manage the entire ANOC and EOC print and fulfillment process. The vendors will typically have a network of print shops and lettershops that they can leverage if printing is delayed for any reason. They can also help push materials through assembly and mailing to secure the best postage rate.

Our latest offering, CodyPrint™, can streamline print and fulfillment for health plans to ensure they meet the critical production and delivery timelines this September. The CodySoft® Collateral Management Module® can also streamline the review and approval of plan documents. When paired together with CodyPrint’s print and fulfillment, translation and 508 remediation capabilities, these offerings provide health plans with a single-source, A-to-Z solution for the design, distribution and compliance tracking of important member communication materials. Contact us today to learn more.