Making Changes During the Year: Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits

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Making Changes During the Year

Generally, after you make your medical, dental, vision, and flexible spending account elections, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations permit changing those elections only during the next open enrollment.  However, if you experience a qualifying event during the year and you notify the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits within 90 days of the event, you may change certain benefit plan elections before the next open enrollment.
 
Qualifying Events
If you have a qualifying event (i.e. a qualifying change in your employment or family status)  you may change your elections during the year.  In order to do so, you must provide documentation of the change in your employment or family status to the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits. Additionally, the change you make must be consistent with the change in your circumstances.

Please refer to our Qualifying Event Matrix for a detailed look at when you can change your benefits and what changes you can make:
 
 
Please note that Georgetown University does not grant any other exceptions whatsoever to the rule regarding making changes to your plan choices mid-year.

90 Day Rule
If you experience a qualifying event, you must contact the Office of Faculty & Staff Benefits in order to make changes to benefit plans subject to Open Enrollment rules within 90 days of the occurrence of the qualifying event. Even though you have 90 days to inform us of the change, we strongly encourage you to inform us of the change as soon as you possibly can, because the coverage effective date for adding a dependent or spouse will be retroactive back to the date of the event, as will the change in your premium, if applicable.
 
There is another compelling reason to notify us as soon as possible regarding the qualifying event.   There is an important exception to this "90 day" rule for the Flexible Spending Plans only. If you experience a qualifying event toward the end of the calendar year, you need to notify the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits of any changes to the Flexible Spending Account plan prior to the cutoff day for the last payroll run of the calendar year. This is because these changes affect your taxable income and must be reflected in the tax year for which the change applies.
 
If you have a qualifying event at the very end of a calendar year, and have no remaining paychecks left in that year, you will not be able to make any changes to your plan in that year, but can do so for the following calendar year.

Qualifying Events Documentation
When you experience a "qualifying event" and wish to make mid-year changes to your medical, dental, or flexible spending account, you must supply the Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits with documentation supporting the change you are requesting.
Generally speaking, your attesting to the qualifying event is not sufficient.  Rather, the documentation you provide should corroborate your request. 
 
For example,
 
  • If you are requesting to add your spouse to the plan because he lost his benefits due to termination of employment, you must bring in a letter from his employer terminating his employment.  This letter must also indicate when his benefits end.  However, an e-mail or letter from you informing us that he has terminated employment would be an example of documentation that would not suffice, because it does not corroborate your request.
  • For the birth of a baby, we will accept a birth certificate or the discharge paperwork from the hospital which indicates the birth of the child.
 
As a rule of thumb, you should supply us with documentation that already exists (i.e. a birth certificate, a spouse's offer letter from his new employer, etc) rather than create new documentation for the purposes of satisfying this requirement.
Office of Faculty and Staff Benefits · Georgetown University
37th & O St NW, Ground Floor, Healy Hall · Washington, DC 20057-1021
tel. (202) 687-2500 · fax. (202) 687-2389 ·
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