When to Enroll
Once you’ve selected the plan that’s best for you, complete the corresponding enrollment forms online or get them from the Benefits Coordinator for your department.
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.
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 an insurance policy in effect at the time specifies a different period.
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 2020-2021 plan year, the Open Enrollment period is January 1 – 31, 2020. Please ask your Benefits Coordinator for your department’s specific deadline. In order to finalize your benefit choices, you must sign your confirmation form and return it to your Benefits Coordinator with the necessary documentation
- If you don’t make any changes, your current benefits will stay the same. If you do make changes during Open Enrollment, they will take effect March 1, 2020.
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 Dearborn National after March 1, 2020 when the new Plan year goes into effect. You will be required to complete this form and mail it back directly to Dearborn National 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, simply login to the employee self-service portal at the STARS site 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:
- Divorce – must submit changes within 60 days to avoid forfeiture of COBRA rights
- Adoption or placement of a foster child
- 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.
Coverage for Newborns
Newborns, including grandchildren, must be added to your plan within 31 days of the date of birth. If you add your newborn to your plan after 31 days, you will be responsible for the medical claims accrued during the uncovered period.