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About the Optional LTD to Employee-Paid LTD Conversion

Last updated Thursday, October 21, 2021

Per Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) policy, beginning January 2022, all benefits-eligible UW employees will be automatically enrolled in Employee-Paid Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance (previously called “Optional LTD”).

How Will This Change Impact Me?

If you ARE NOT currently enrolled in an Employee-Paid (Optional) LTD insurance plan…

  • Effective January 1, 2022, you will be automatically enrolled in an Employee-Paid LTD plan that covers 60% of your salary (with a maximum benefit of $10,000/month) with a 90-day waiting period. If you wish to keep that coverage level, you do not need to take any action in Workday for the automatic enrollment to occur.
  • You will start seeing LTD premium deductions on your January 25, 2022 paycheck.

If you ARE currently enrolled in an Employee-Paid (Optional) LTD insurance plan…

  • The HCA is replacing the 90- 120- 180- 240- 300- and 360-day waiting periods (the amount of time an employee would wait for disability payments to begin) with 60% and 50% coverage rates, both with a 90-day waiting period. Effective January 1, your current plan will automatically be adjusted to the new 60% coverage and 90-day waiting period rate. If you wish to keep that coverage level, you do not need to take any action in Workday for the automatic enrollment to occur.
  • You will see any difference in LTD premium costs reflected on your January 25, 2022 paycheck.

Previously, eligible employees needed to take additional steps to enroll in Employee-Paid LTD coverage and, if they missed their original enrollment window when they were first hired, they also needed to submit proof of good health to apply. However, employees will not need to submit proof of good health to be automatically enrolled on January 1, and even employees who were previously denied Employee-Paid LTD coverage will also now be automatically enrolled.

Can I Opt Out or Choose Less Coverage?

Yes. During November and December 2021, you will be able to log into Workday and opt out of Employee-Paid LTD insurance entirely, or choose a 50% coverage plan at a lower cost, effective January 1, 2022; we will share how-to guidance on this page for making these changes starting November 1.

After January 1, 2022, you can still reduce or decline Employee-Paid LTD insurance at any time. Changes will be effective the 1st of the month following your election; changes to your premium costs will be reflected on the following pay period’s following month’s paycheck. (For example, changes made in January will be effective on your February 25 paycheck.)

Note that, if you later decide to opt in or increase your coverage, you will need to provide evidence of insurability (which includes authorizing your health practitioner to release your medical records to the plan provider, The Standard) and be approved by the insurer.

Other Common Questions

The HCA has already begun sharing information about the Employee-Paid LTD insurance changes and November/December enrollment change opportunity, most recently in their For Your Benefit (PDF) October 12 newsletter. Additionally, in early October, the HCA mailed a letter to employees currently enrolled in Employee-Paid (Optional) LTD about the changes they’ll see to their plan.

Lastly, information about LTD changes will be shared with staff and faculty in the UW Insider newsletter throughout November and December. UWHR will also send all benefits-eligible employees reminder notifications in December.

LTD premium amounts are based on an employee’s salary and retirement plan.

Visit the Employee-Paid LTD Premium Calculator on The Standard’s website to determine your estimated premium.

Visit the HCA’s Long-term disability insurance premiums page for additional details.

All eligible UW employees already receive Employer-Paid (Basic) LTD coverage at no cost, paid for by the UW, which pays a maximum of $240/month.

If you wish to view your current Employee-Paid (Optional) LTD coverage:

  1. Log into Workday via the Sign In To Workday link at the top of this page
  2. In Workday, select the Benefits worklet
  3. Select Benefit Elections as of Date and enter today’s date

Is this the same thing as WA Cares Fund?

No. The WA Cares Fund is Washington State’s new long-term care insurance benefit. Long Term Disability insurance is not the same as Long Term Care insurance... though changes to both go into effect on January 1, 2022.

Employees will start to see WA Cares Fund deductions on their January 10, 2022 paycheck; Employee-Paid LTD deductions will first appear on their January 25, 2022 paycheck.