Open Enrollment

Last updated Friday, September 22, 2023

What is Open Enrollment?

Open Enrollment takes place November 1-30, and 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 the Washington State Health Care Authority’s (HCA’s) Are My Dependents Eligible? 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 as 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 whether or not the HCA’s Spousal Coverage Surcharge applies to you

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 will be required to make changes during Open Enrollment if either of these apply to you:

  • You wish to continue your FSA and/or DCAP coverage: If you are currently enrolled in a Medical or Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) or the Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), you must re-enroll every year during Open Enrollment in order to continue participating in the following year.
  • You have been notified 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 attest or re-attest to whether or not the PEBB-required $50 monthly premium surcharge applies to you.

If you do not want or need to make Open Enrollment changes, you can simply disregard the “Open Enrollment” action item which can be found on your Workday homepage and in your Workday Inbox starting on November 1 – it will disappear from your Workday account on December 1, after Open Enrollment ends.

Preparing for Open Enrollment

At some point before November, if you are a PEBB benefits-eligible employee who wishes to make changes to your health plans during Open Enrollment, we recommend following 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 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 proof-of-relationship documents: If you are planning to add any dependents (including children, your spouse or State Registered Domestic Partner) to your medical or dental plans, state law requires you submit, within Workday, valid dependent verification documents that demonstrate proof of your relationship. 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, directly 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 which, given the necessary circumstances, don’t require you to wait until Open Enrollment:

  • Attest to the Tobacco Use Premium Surcharge
  • Contribute to a Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • Enroll in Optional Retirement Plans
  • Enroll in Optional Life Insurance
  • Reduce or opt out of Employee-Paid Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance

Visit the Benefit Changes You Can Make Year-Round page for details.

What is "PEBB"?

As you research your Open Enrollment options, you'll most likely come across the acronym "PEBB," which stands for Public Employees Benefits Board.

PEBB is a benefits program managed by the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA). The PEBB program purchases and coordinates insurance benefits for eligible public employees and retirees, including UW employees.