Medical/Dental Insurance Open Enrollment
As a Western Washington University employee who is eligible for Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB) benefits, you are allowed to change your medical and dental plan during the annual open enrollment period. The State's healthcare open enrollment period typically runs the entire month of November each year with specific dates announced by the Health Care Authority in mid-summer.
During this time you may also enroll or re-enroll in a flexible spending account, or FSA - unless you elect a consumer-directed health plan with a health savings program (CDHP-HSA). You may also enroll or re-enroll in the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP). These are optional, pre-tax savings programs.
Medical and dental plan benefits and premiums change each year. Open enrollment is a good time to evaluate your health insurance plans and decide if they are meeting your needs or whether you should make a change.
Some situations in life may be considered a "qualifying event" which may trigger a Special Open Enrollment opportunity, allowing you to make changes to your insurance plans outside of the usual annual open enrollment.
If you are satisfied with your current medical and dental plan and it will be offered the next year, you do not need to do anything and your plan elections will remain the same. However, you must change your plan enrollment if any of the following circumstances happen to you:
- You wish to reinstate previously waived medical coverage for yourself of your eligible dependents.
- You need to remove dependent(s) from your coverage because your dependent child's eligibility changed based on their birth date within the year.
- You have eligible dependents not previously enrolled that are to be added without proof of previous coverage. Note: You will need to provide documents that prove their eligibility.
- You wish to change your Section 125 medical premium deduction election from pre-tax to post-tax or vice versa.
- You need to choose a different medical and/or dental plan because your plan will no longer be offered next year.
- You moved during the year and your health plan is not available in your new area.
NOTE: Per WAC 182-12-262, you are required to notify WWU of changes in dependent eligibility within 60 days of the date in which your dependent is no longer eligible.
On July 25th, 2012, the State's PEBB voted to approve changes to state employees' monthly premiums and cost sharing in 2013. Cost sharing refers to the member's annual deductible, annual out-of-pocket limit, coinsurance, or co-pay. All changes took effect January 1st, 2013.
- Monthly premiums decreased for the two Uniform Medical Plans (Classic and CDHP).
- Monthly premiums increased for the three Group Health Plans (Classic, Value and CDHP).
- No changes were made to covered benefits in medical, dental, life, and long-term disability plans for 2013.
- The following changes were made to employee cost-sharing:
- Group Health increased the emergency room co-pays from $150 to $250 in the Classic and Value Plans
Two PEBB programs can save you pre-tax dollars - the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP).
It is important to note that whether you are a current or new participant, you must re-enroll each year if you continue participating in either of these programs.
The Flexible Spending Account allows you to take untaxed salary and place it in a health care savings account to pay for eligible un-reimbursed medical and dental expenses such as co-pays, deductible, and approved services not covered by your insurance plan. NOTE: you cannot enroll in an FSA if you enroll in a consumer-directed health plan with a health savings account (CDHP-HSA). Learn more here.
The Dependent Care Assistance Program allows employees to take a deduction from pay for eligible dependent care expenses before taxes are calculated. Learn more here.
Beginning on the first day of open enrollment, Western employees can use the PEBB's online portal, E-Coverage, to change insurance plans or providers. E-Coverage has several advantages:
- You can access plan enrollment information at any time.
- The system provides instant confirmation when you make changes to your coverage.
- You may print your forms to keep documentation for your records.
- The PEBB will mail confirmation of your enrollment within two or three weeks.
To add or reinstate a dependent who is not currently enrolled on your insurance plan, you must submit a completed Employee Enrollment/Change form by midnight on the last day of open enrollment. Valid dependent documentation must be included with the form for the requested changes to be processed.
You cannot enroll a dependent online, but you can use the PEBB E-Coverage service to review your current coverage.