Open Enrollment

Last updated Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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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) 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 premium surcharge applies to you

Do You HAVE TO Submit Changes in Workday During Open Enrollment?

  • Happy with your current health benefits elections?
    If neither #1 or 2 below apply to you, you do not need to submit Open Enrollment changes in Workday – simply disregard the Open Enrollment action item on your Workday homepage and in your Workday “My Tasks” inbox –  it will disappear on December 1!

You are required to make changes during Open Enrollment if (and only if):

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

Preparing for Open Enrollment

You can always review your current benefit plans in Workday by selecting Menu > Apps > Benefits > Benefits Elections as of Date and entering today’s date in the field.

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 in Workday is current so you aren’t offered the wrong benefit plan options.

2. Research health plans now: Neither the ISC, UWHR, nor administrators in your department can provide advice on which health care plan you should choose. If you are wondering which plan is best for you, compare plans and explore your benefit options before Open Enrollment starts by visiting one, or all, of the following resources:

  • The Whole U’s UW Benefits Fairs – we encourage everyone to attend one of the upcoming in-person Benefits Fairs held during the month of October to learn more about UW benefits and talk directly to plan providers
  • The HCA’s Compare Medical Plans webpage – the Medical Benefits Comparison Tool can be especially useful
  • The HCA’s Contact the Plans webpage – provides a list of phone numbers so you can call plan providers directly with any remaining questions

3. Prepare your proof-of-relationship documents: 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 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.

4. Review Frequently Asked Questions: Chances are good that some (or maybe all!) of your Open Enrollment-related questions are answered on this page, as well as on the Open Enrollment FAQs page.

How to Make Changes During Open Enrollment

Refer to the Open Enrollment User Guide, linked below, for step-by-step instructions on making your changes in Workday.

Go to the Open Enrollment User Guide

Benefit Changes You Can Make Anytime

There are several benefit changes you can make that, given the necessary circumstances, don’t require you to wait until Open Enrollment:

  • Attest to the Tobacco Use Premium Surcharge
  • Manage your Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions
  • 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.