Integrated Service Center

Open Enrollment

Last updated Tuesday, December 1, 2020

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment (November 1-30) is a once-a-year opportunity for PEBB benefits-eligible employees to enroll in or make changes to their health plan elections or enroll in a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) or the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP). Open Enrollment changes are made in Workday and go into effect the following January 1. Open Enrollment is the only time each year employees can change their benefits elections unless they experience a qualifying life event (such as marriage or the birth of a child).

During Open Enrollment, you can:

  • Enroll in or change your medical and/or dental coverage
  • Add or remove qualified dependents, including a spouse or state-registered domestic partner, to/from your health plans
    • To verify if someone qualifies as a dependent, visit Washington State Health Care Authority’s (HCA’s) How to Determine Eligibility webpage
  • Waive your medical coverage if you are covered by another employer-based group medical insurance, TRICARE, or Medicare
  • Enroll or re-enroll in optional pre-tax savings programs such a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) or the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP)
    • Per IRS policy, re-enrollment is required each year during Open Enrollment if you wish to contribute to these plans
  • Attest (respond) to the HCA’s spousal premium surcharge

For more information, visit the HCA’s Open Enrollment (PEBB) page.

Do *You* Need to Make Changes During Open Enrollment?

In most cases, participation in Open Enrollment is optional: if you are happy with your current elections, you do not need to make changes in Workday.

However, you are required to make changes during Open Enrollment if:

  1. You wish to continue your FSA and/or DCAP coverage: If you are currently enrolled in a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) or Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), you must re-enroll every year during Open Enrollment in order to continue participating in the following year.
  2. You have been notified that you need to attest/re-attest to the spousal premium surcharge: If you currently have a spouse or State-Registered Domestic Partner (SRDP) enrolled on your PEBB medical plan, you may need to re-attest to the PEBB-required $50 monthly premium surcharge each year.

Preparing for Open Enrollment

If you are a PEBB benefits-eligible employee who wishes to make changes to your health plans during Open Enrollment, follow these simple steps to prepare ahead of time:

1. Verify your address in Workday: The benefits options you are offered are actually based on your home address, specifically your zip code. Make sure your address is current so that you aren’t offered the wrong benefit plan options. Refer to the “Edit Home Contact Information” section of the Edit Personal Information User Guide for step-by-step guidance.

2. Prepare your dependent verification: If you are planning to add any dependents (including your spouse or State Registered Domestic Partner) to your medical or dental plans, state law requires that you submit valid dependent verification within Workday. Check out this list of what qualifies as valid dependent verification documentation. We strongly recommend scanning the document(s) you plan on attaching, and saving it to an easy-to-find location on a secure computer before November 1.

3. Contact insurance plan providers directly with any questions: If you have questions about networks, what each plan covers, and other benefit details, you can reach out to the providers ahead of time to determine if another plan is right for you and/or your family.

Benefit Changes You Can Make Anytime

There are several benefit changes you can make that don’t require you to wait until Open Enrollment:

Attest to the Tobacco Use Premium Surcharge
You can change your Tobacco Use Attestation at any time.

Contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA)
If you are currently enrolled in a Consumer-Directed Health Plan (CDHP) with an HSA, you can start/stop/change your HSA contributions at any time.

Enroll in Optional Retirement Plans
For the most part, once you enroll in a retirement plan, your choice is irrevocable (cannot be changed) for the duration of your uninterrupted service at the University. Hence, retirement plans are not a part of Open Enrollment in November.

However, employees can join two optional retirement plans at the University of Washington: UW VIP and Washington State’s Deferred Compensation Program (DCP). Employees can start or stop contributions to these two retirement plans at any time.

Enroll in Optional Life Insurance
You can enroll in, waive, or increase your optional life insurance through MetLife at any time. However, you’ll be subject to evidence of insurability (proof of good health) if you are enrolling or increasing your coverage more than 31 days after your initial eligibility date.

Enroll in Optional Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance
You can enroll in, waive, or change your optional long-term disability (LTD) insurance through The Standard at any time. However, you’ll be subject to evidence of insurability (proof of good health) if you are enrolling or decreasing your waiting period more than 31 days after your initial eligibility date.