COVID-19: Essential Information

3.2 Benefit Changes


Health, Dental, Vision and Flexible Spending Accounts

In accordance with IRS regulations, changes such as adding or dropping coverage for an employee or dependent can only be made at certain times: 1) the initial eligibility period (the 30 days after an employee is first hired or the 30 days after an employee first moves into a benefits-eligible employment status), 2) the yearly open enrollment period, and 3) within 30 days of a change in family status (as defined by the IRS). The most common permissible changes-in-family status include marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, change in a spouse's employment status affecting benefits eligibility, open enrollment in a spouse's benefit plan, and dependent reaching age 26. For a complete list contact Human Resources. To be allowed, the desired benefit change must also be consistent with the reason for the change (for example, in case of a divorce a spouse could be dropped, in case of a birth the baby could be added).

Please note that it is the employee's responsibility to notify Human Resources within 30 days of a change in family status. Failure to promptly notify Human Resources of a family status change that could affect benefits can have serious consequences. For example, not notifying Human Resources of a new dependent will mean that the new family member cannot be added until next open enrollment period. IRS regulations do not allow a change in an employee's pre-tax health or dental premium later than 30 days after a change in family status, even if the family status event means that an employee or dependent is no longer eligible for coverage under the terms of the medical or dental plan. This means that an employee could be required to pay premiums until the next open enrollment period for coverage that s/he or a dependent does not have. Furthermore, under COBRA regulations, late notification to Human Resources could result in an otherwise eligible former plan participant not being offered COBRA continuation coverage in the health, dental, or vision plans or health flexible spending account.

Employees are financially responsible for any claims paid by insurance based on false information. Willful failure to notify Human Resources of a change in status affecting eligibility may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Retirement Plans

Employees are able to make an election change (to start, stop, or modify contributions) in the Voluntary Retirement Plan at the beginning of any pay period.