Enrollment

Timing

When to Enroll

Once you’ve selected the plan that’s best for you, begin the enrollment process by logging into STARS Employee Self-Service >> Benefit Details. (Click button below) Carefully consider the benefit options available to you and your dependent(s) as there are only three opportunities to select your coverage or make changes to your benefits.

*STARS Employee Self-Service will only open on Harris County Network

1. WHEN YOU’RE HIRED
Benefits begin on the first day of the pay period following 75 days of continuous employment as a Regular Position Employee unless a County policy in effect at the time specifies a different period. Click below to learn more about enrolling in benefits as a new employee.

2. DURING OPEN ENROLLMENT
This is a great time to review benefits and make any needed updates. You can change your benefit choices, add and/or drop dependents, purchase or discontinue optional life insurance or optional long-term disability, and enroll or disenroll in a flexible spending account.

For the 2021-2022 plan year, the Open Enrollment period is January 1 – 31, 2021. Visit the STARS site (https://stars-hr.hctx.net/) and log into your Employee Self-Service portal, then Benefit Details to begin. If you are adding dependents, please have your necessary documentation on hand to upload.

  • Dependents added during Open Enrollment will be covered beginning February 27, 2021.
  • Dependents dropped during Open Enrollment will be covered through February 26, 2021.
  • If you don’t make any changes, your current benefits will stay the same. If you do make plan and optional benefits changes during Open Enrollment, they will take effect March 1, 2021.

If this is your first time to enroll in the optional long-term disability program, or if you are electing to enroll or increase your optional term life insurance amount, you will receive an “Evidence of Insurability” form from BlueCross BlueShield of Texas after March 1, 2021 when the new Plan year goes into effect. You will be required to complete this form and mail it back directly to BlueCross BlueShield of Texas and they will make the determination of whether or not you are eligible for these programs.

3. AFTER QUALIFIED LIFE EVENTS
Life happens, and your benefits plan has the flexibility to adjust with you. When you experience a qualified life event, log into STARS Employee Self-Service >> Benefits Details to submit your change request within the same calendar year the event takes place unless otherwise noted. Please note that STARS is only accessible within the Harris County network.

The following are qualified life events that allow you to make changes to your benefits:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce – must submit changes within 60 days to avoid forfeiture of COBRA rights
  • Birth
  • Adoption or placement of a foster child
  • Death
  • Spouse and/or dependent gains or loses coverage through employment or other insurance provider
  • Significant change in the financial terms of health benefits provided through a spouse’s employer or another carrier
  • Unpaid leave of absence taken by employee or spouse
  • Changing a dependent care provider or having a significant increase or decrease in provider payment
  • Change in Medicare or Medicaid eligibility status
  • Loss of State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), but not gain of SCHIP benefits

All Regular Position employees are required to enroll in the Harris County health plan. Those allowed to voluntarily waive include:

  • Retired military members who are currently covered by TRICARE.
  • New employees covered by Medicare. Please obtain the voluntary waiver form from your Benefit Coordinator.
  • Visit Resources to obtain the voluntary waiver form. This form must be completed and returned to benefits@bmd.hctx.net every open enrollment cycle to continue waiving your benefits.
  • For new employees, this form must be received before your benefits become effective otherwise your next opportunity to waive will be during open enrollment.

Coverage for Newborns

Cigna provides automatic coverage for newborns of mothers insured by the plan for the first 31 days from the date of birth. For your newborn to remain covered beyond 31 days, you must add him/her to the plan. If you add your newborn to your plan after 31 days, coverage will not be retroactive to the date of birth, and you will be responsible for the medical claims incurred during the uncovered period.