Integrated Service Center

Open Enrollment FAQs

Last updated Friday, November 1, 2019

About Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment happens each year, and it’s the primary time when PEBB eligible employees can change medical and dental coverage, and/or add or remove dependents. It’s also the time when you must enroll/re-enroll in the Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) and/or Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) in order to be enrolled for the following calendar year.

If you’re covering a spouse or partner, you may also be required to re-attest to the spousal coverage premium surcharge during Open Enrollment. Look for notification from both the Health Care Authority (HCA) and Workday letting you know if this requirement applies to you.

If you’re in a Consumer-Directed Health Plan (CDHP) and are contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA), generally IRS limits increase on January 1 of each year. Open Enrollment is a good time to consider your HSA contribution for the coming year; however, you can change your HSA contributions at any time during the year.

Open Enrollment starts on November 1 and ends at 11:59 PM PST on November 30, 2019. Your most recently submitted enrollment will be processed at that time.

This year’s Benefits Fairs have concluded. If you were unable to attend, we encourage you to visit one, or all, of the following websites where you can compare plans and explore your benefit options for 2020:

In addition, you can always call plan providers directly with questions you have. You can find a list of phone numbers on the HCA’s Contact the Plans webpage.

The Public Benefits Board (PEBB) govern and sponsor the health benefits for UW employees. The UW is responsible for administering those benefits, however all plan changes, pricing and contracts are overseen directly by PEBB and the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA).

For an overview of benefit changes in 2020, read PEBB’s October For Your Benefit newsletter, sent to your email/home address in mid-October. Additionally, you can visit the HCA’s Open Enrollment webpage.

To learn about changes to premiums, you can visit the HCA’s Open Enrollment webpage. Additionally, you can review the HCA’s Plan Costs webpage for more information. Your PEBB medical premiums may change effective your first paycheck on January 10, 2020.

To learn more about what changes you can – or need to – make during Open Enrollment, we strongly recommend reviewing our Open Enrollment for 2020 page.

In most cases, Open Enrollment is optional. Action is required if you wish to enroll in a FSA or DCAP, and/or you have been notified that you need to re-attest to the spousal premium surcharge. If you take no action and don’t submit any changes during Open Enrollment, you and any currently enrolled dependents will continue to be enrolled in your current plans for 2020.

However, if you are currently enrolled in a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) and/or Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), you must re-enroll each year to continue participating, per IRS policy. If you take no action during Open Enrollment, you will not be enrolled in either program in 2020.

Additionally, if your spouse or state-registered domestic partner is enrolled under your PEBB medical in 2020, you may need to re-attest to the spouse/partner coverage premium surcharge during Open Enrollment. If you need to re-attest, you will receive a letter in mid- to late-October from the Health Care Authority (HCA) notifying you of this requirement. Additionally, you will receive notification emails from Workday during Open Enrollment if you need to attest to the spousal premium surcharge. If you are required to re-attest but do not submit your attestation through Workday by 11:59 pm on November 30, 2019, you will begin paying the monthly $50 premium surcharge on the first paycheck in January. See the HCA’s Spousal Coverage Surcharge webpage for more information about this $50 per month premium surcharge.

Open Enrollment changes made in Workday will go into effect on January 1, 2020. Premium changes based on Open Enrollment will take effect on January 1, 2020 and will be reflected on the January 10, 2020 paycheck.

Open Enrollment is the one time each year when you can make changes to your health plan elections, outside of a qualifying Life Event. If you do not finalize your elections in Workday by checking “I Agree” and selecting “Submit” by the deadline, your elections cannot be processed.

The deadline is firm, and there is no grace period. To ensure your enrollment goes into effect, submit your elections early so the ISC has enough time to contact you with questions or requests for additional documentation, if necessary.

The next Open Enrollment is from November 1 through November 30, 2020, with coverage effective January 1, 2021.

The annual PEBB Open Enrollment window for medical, dental, FSA and DCAP closes prior to midnight PST on November 30. Per state law, this deadline is firm and no late enrollments can be accepted. If you have a qualifying Life Event, you may be eligible to make benefits changes; please refer to the Life Events webpage to see if you qualify. If you believe that an employer error has been made, you can review the HCA’s PEBB Appeals page or contact the ISC for instructions.

Making Your Selections in Workday

Starting November 1, PEBB benefits-eligible employees who want to make changes to their current elections should log into Workday, select the Inbox, then select the Open Enrollment Change item.

Be sure to follow along with the ISC’s step-by-step guides while making your selections in Workday – the Open Enrollment User Guide and our Open Enrollment how-to videos are available to help you avoid common pitfalls.

Unless you check I Agree and select Submit, any changes you make will not be saved by Workday and will therefore not be submitted for Open Enrollment.

If you do not submit your enrollment changes by the deadline, any edits will not be processed, and your changes will be lost. Your next opportunity to make election changes will be if you have a qualifying Life Event or during the next annual Open Enrollment, which will occur in November 2020.

During Open Enrollment, you may submit as many changes to your Open Enrollment elections as you’d like, but the most recent elections submitted in Workday by 11:59 pm on November 30 will be considered final. Refer to the Change Your Open Enrollment Elections section of the Open Enrollment User Guide to make changes after you have submitted the first time.

Once you’ve checked “I Agree” and selected “Submit” for your Open Enrollment changes, your Open Enrollment event will disappear from your Workday Inbox and you will receive an email from Workday letting you know that your Open Enrollment submission has been received.

You can review your selections in Workday at any time during the month of November by selecting the Benefits worklet and then selecting View My Open Enrollment Submission.

If, after reviewing your Open Enrollment submission you wish to make additional changes or need to add attachments to your Open Enrollment elections, follow the guidance in the Change Your Open Enrollment Elections section of the Open Enrollment User Guide to change your health plan elections.

If you do not see the Change Open Enrollment link within the Benefits worklet, check your Workday Inbox for your Open Enrollment event, as you may not have successfully submitted your elections. The Change Open Enrollment button will not appear in the Benefits worklet until after you submit your Open Enrollment elections for the first time.

After you have submitted your enrollment in Workday, a Print option will be provided on the final page. We strongly recommend printing your confirmation as a record of your coverage elections.

Additionally, you will receive an email from Workday titled “Your Open Enrollment Submission Has Been Received” letting you know that your Open Enrollment changes have been received.

You can review your Open Enrollment submission whenever you’d like during Open Enrollment – once your initial changes are submitted, you can go to the Benefits worklet and then select the View My Open Enrollment Submission button.

Additionally, after Open Enrollment is over, you will be able to view your 2020 benefit elections in Workday by going to the Benefits worklet and selecting the Benefits Elections as of Date button. In the date field, use 1/1/2020 to see your benefits that will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

Enrolling Dependents

For a complete list of qualified dependents as defined by PEBB, please review the Dependent Eligibility section of the Health Care Authority’s How to Determine Eligibility page. Please note that parents are not considered eligible dependents.

When benefits-eligible employees enroll their dependents in medical or dental insurance, documentation verifying their relationship is required. Per Health Care Authority (HCA) policy, only certain types of documents qualify as valid “dependent verification.” Please carefully review the list of what qualifies as dependent verification before attaching any documents in Workday.

During Open Enrollment, you will have the opportunity to attach your documents just before selecting “I Agree” and “Submit.” For step-by-step guidance, see step 17 (“Attach Dependent Verification Documentation”) of the Open Enrollment User Guide.

Refer to the below table for scenario-specific guidance.

Scenario Required Action
Your dependents are currently enrolled on your medical and/or dental plan(s) and you are not changing your medical and/or dental plan(s) during Open Enrollment. You do not need to attach dependent verification documentation.
Your dependents are currently enrolled on your medical and/or dental plan(s) and you are changing your medical and/or dental plan(s) during Open Enrollment. You do not need to attach dependent verification documentation.
You are changing your medical and/or dental plan(s) during Open Enrollment, and need to enroll dependents who are not enrolled on your current medical and/or dental plan(s). You do need to attach dependent verification documentation.
During Open Enrollment, you will be enrolling in a medical plan for the first time – for example, you had previously waived your medical coverage – and need to enroll dependents. You do need to attach dependent verification documentation.
During Open Enrollment, you will be enrolling dependents who, at one point in the past, were enrolled on your medical and/or dental plan(s), but are not enrolled on your medical and/or dental plan(s) during the current year. You do need to attach dependent verification documentation.

Please note that, if you are enrolling a spouse, in addition to attaching your dependent verification documentation, you must also provide your date of marriage before submitting your Open Enrollment elections. You’ll enter your marriage date as part of attaching your documents – in the Comments field, you can enter the date in MM/DD/YYYY format. Refer to step 17 of the Open Enrollment User Guide.

If you realize that you have forgotten your dependent verification (for newly-added dependents) or you forgot to include your date of marriage (for newly-added spouses) – or if you receive notification from the ISC requesting you submit or resubmit your required dependent verification – refer to the Change Your Open Enrollment Elections section of the Open Enrollment User Guide. You will need to reopen your Open Enrollment elections in Workday, attach your dependent verification and/or add a comment, and then resubmit (don’t forget to check “I Agree” and select “Submit,” or your edits will not be submitted).

Your documentation must be attached in Workday. If you haven’t provided the required dependent verification for newly added dependents by 11:59 pm on November 30, these dependents cannot be enrolled for 2020.

PEBB prohibits an employee of any state agency, such as the University of Washington, to be dual-enrolled at the same agency or to be covered for medical or for dental at more than one state agency.

If your spouse or child is PEBB benefits-eligible and works at the UW, they may choose to waive their PEBB medical coverage, and you can then enroll her/him as your dependent for medical. Alternatively, you may each enroll independently for PEBB medical, in which case neither of you would be covered as a dependent.

Note that PEBB dental coverage cannot be waived by employees. Therefore, if your PEBB benefits-eligible spouse or child also works at the UW, you would never enroll them as a dependent on your dental plan.

HSA, FSA/DCAP, Optional Life, and Optional LTD

To learn about Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), see UWHR’s How Consumer-Directed Health Plans Work webpage.

To learn about Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), see UWHR’s FSA: Tax Savings for Medical Costs webpage.

Health Savings Accounts are only available to employees participating in a Consumer-Directed Health Plan (CDHP).

Flexible Spending Arrangements are available to all eligible employees who do not participate in the CDHP. Per IRS policy, employees must re-enroll in the FSA every year to continue contributing in the following year.

To learn more about eligibility for Consumer-Directed Health Plans (CDHPs) and/or Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), please see the UWHR’s How Consumer-Directed Health Plans Work webpage. Additionally, you can visit the Health Care Authority’s webpage on Health Plans with Health Savings Accounts. Please contact a tax advisor with additional questions about your eligibility based on your own tax situation and if you have any questions about tax implications.

Refer to the HCA’s Health Plans with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) webpage for assistance determining your annual limits. This page includes information about employer contributions, individual and family limits, and catch-up limits.

When calculating how much you want to contribute, be sure to include the employer contribution, SmartHealth wellness incentive (if applicable), and all other possible contributions. Use the HealthEquity HSA contribution calculator as a reference to help determine your contributions.

Note that, if your pre-tax HSA contributions exceed allowable IRS limits, you may be subject to penalty and taxes on any excess.

Please contact a tax advisor with additional questions about contribution amounts based upon your own tax situation and if you have any questions about tax implications.

You can establish your HSA contributions during Open Enrollment in Workday. For step-by-step guidance, see step 13  (“Contribute to a Health Savings Account”) of the Open Enrollment User Guide. After Open Enrollment closes, if you are newly enrolled in the CDHP, you may make further changes to your HSA elections in Workday on or after January 1, 2020 by following the steps outlined in the Change HSA Contributions User Guide.

If you are enrolled in a Consumer-Directed Health Plan (CDHP), the IRS allows you to increase, decrease, start or stop HSA contributions any time during the year. Contribution changes generally go into effect as of the following pay cycle. For step-by-step guidance on how to make changes in Workday, see the Change HSA Contributions User Guide.

Workday is configured to determine a per-paycheck contribution amount that aligns with your service period, whether 12 months or shorter. You can enter an annual amount or per-paycheck amount in Workday and the deduction will adjust accordingly.

Refer to step 15 (“Contribute to an FSA and/or DCAP”) of the Open Enrollment User Guide for more details.

If you currently have a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) or a Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP), per IRS policy, you must re-enroll during Open Enrollment every year in order to contribute for the following year. FSA and DCAP enrollments for 2020 must be submitted in Workday by 11:59 pm on November 30, 2019.

Optional life insurance changes can be made anytime during the year, subject to review by MetLife, and are not part of Open Enrollment. Optional life insurance is administered by MetLife, not the ISC.

If you are adding the optional life insurance benefit for the first time after your initial 31-day eligibility period, or if you are enhancing your coverage, you will need to provide a Statement of Health to MetLife. You can submit your enrollment or make any changes on MetLife’s MyBenefits web portal.

For more information, visit the Health Care Authority’s (HCA’s) Life Insurance webpage.

Optional long-term disability (LTD) insurance changes can be made anytime during the year, subject to review by The Standard, and are not part of Open Enrollment.

In order to enroll, change or waive this benefit, you must fill out and submit a Long Term Disability (LTD) Enrollment/Change Form (PDF) to the ISC. To enroll in optional long-term disability outside your initial eligibility period, or to decrease your waiting period, you will also need to submit an Evidence of Insurability form (PDF) to The Standard at their address on page 2 of the form.

For more information, visit the Health Care Authority’s (HCA’s) Long-Term Disability Insurance webpage.

Other FAQs

If you have a Life Event during Open Enrollment, before you can participate in Open Enrollment, you must first complete your Life Event-related enrollment changes in Workday. Please refer to the Life Event page for guidance about making changes specific to your Life Event.

Once your benefits elections for your Life Event have been submitted and approved, decide whether or not you need to participate in Open Enrollment. Visit the Open Enrollment for 2020 page to help you decide.

Note that any Life Event-related changes you make go into effect for the current calendar year; Open Enrollment changes you make go into effect starting on January 1 of the upcoming calendar year.

For employees whose first 31 days of becoming eligible for PEBB benefits overlaps with Open Enrollment, you must complete and submit your Health Newly Eligible enrollment in your Workday inbox before you will be able to access your Open Enrollment action item in your Workday inbox.

Your Health Newly Eligible enrollment provides coverage through December 31, 2019. Open Enrollment changes go into effect on January 1, 2020. If you do not make any changes during Open Enrollment, the elections you made during your Health Newly Eligible enrollment will carry forward into 2020. However, please keep in mind:

  • If you want to make changes effective January 1, 2020, you will need to submit your election/change through the Open Enrollment action item in your Workday Inbox.
  • If you cover a spouse/partner, you may need to re-attest to the premium surcharge during Open Enrollment – keep an eye out for a notification from Workday if this applies to you.
  • If you wish to contribute to an FSA or DCAP in 2020, you will need to re-enroll during Open Enrollment. The IRS requires re-enrollment in FSA and/or DCAP each calendar year.

If you do want or need to participate in Open Enrollment, your elections must be submitted through Workday by 11:59 pm on November 30, 2019.

Please refer to the ISC’s Open Enrollment for 2020 webpage for additional information and resources.

HCA My Account is no longer available to University of Washington (UW) employees. Any actions that were necessary in My Account can now be done via Workday.

After Open Enrollment closes and submissions have been approved, you will be able to view your confirmation statement which summarizes your 2020 plan elections. Your confirmation statement will be ready in Workday in early December.

If you are not a tobacco user, you can change your Tobacco Use Attestation by following the step-by-step guidance in the Change Tobacco Use Attestation User Guide. Once you submit your change, your tobacco attestation will be effective the first of the month following your submission.