Changes to Healthcare Benefits

Normally, changes to benefits occur during open enrollment. However, significant life events can affect an employee's benefits or benefit eligibility, creating a need for change at other times during the year. Examples of such qualifying life events include marriage, divorce, birth, adoption or changing employment status from full-time to part-time.

Most benefits changes are effective the first of the month after the appropriate completed forms are received and processed by HR.

Qualifying Events

Employment Status Changes

An employee's employment status can change from full-time to part-time, part-time to full-time, at the end of employment, due to retirement, or because of a leave of absence.

Possible changes that can occur due to an employment status change include:

  • Health or dental plan termination when employment changes from full-time to part-time, part-time to full-time or at the end of employment
  • Enrollment in health or dental plans for employees appointed at less than 100% who waived health and/or dental insurance when their appointment is increased to 100%
  • Continuation of benefits through retiree health or dental plans if eligible the retiree meets the 10-70-10 eligibility rule
  • Cost of insurance benefit increased to 100% for employees on unpaid leave of absence

Employees on FMLA may be eligible for continued employer contributions. Employees on unpaid leave of absence can cancel health or dental plans and reinstate coverage when returning from leave or transfer coverage if their spouse is employed by the university and enrolled in a health or dental plan.

Family Status Changes

Spouse and dependent changes include marriage, legal separation, divorce, birth, adoption or a dependent reaching the age of 26.

Possible changes that can occur due to a family status change include:

  • Dependents can be added or deleted from health or dental plans
  • The annual flex benefit plan healthcare election can be increased or decreased in the case of marriage, divorce, birth, adoption or death
  • The annual dependent care flex benefit plan election can be increased or decreased

HIPAA Changes

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act allows employees to enroll in coverage or add dependents to their existing health and dental plans if the change is consistent with a qualifying event and the following requirements are met:

  • Employees have 31 days from their benefits-eligible appointment dates to enroll in health and dental plans when they are hired.
  • Employees have 31 days from the birth date or the date the child is placed in the home for adoption to add a new child to health and dental plans.
  • Employees have 31 days from the date of a marriage to add a spouse to health and dental plans.

Employees can enroll or enroll their dependents in coverage at a later date if one of the following are true:

  • Waived coverage as new employees 
  • Neglected to enroll within 31 days of their benefits eligibility dates
  • Chose not to cover their dependents
  • Neglected to enroll new dependents within 31 days of the qualifying event date

AND one of these qualifying events occurs:

  • Eligibility for COBRA coverage ceases
  • Employee and/or dependent ceases to be eligible for other coverage, and coverage is not voluntarily cancelled
  • Employer contributions for other coverage ceases
  • Employee is court-ordered to provide coverage for a dependent

To be eligible for enrollment, request the appropriate form from the HR Expert, completed and return within 31 days after the date of the qualifying event to:

University of Arkansas
Human Resources
1125 W Maple Street 
222 Administration Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Fax: 479-575-6971

Effective Date of Coverage

Health and dental plan coverage will be effective as listed below as long as the 31 day enrollment period requirement is met:

  • Coverage retroactive to date of birth or date child placed in home for adoption
  • Coverage for a new spouse effective the first day of the month following the date completed forms are received by HR
  • Coverage for enrollment or added dependents due to a HIPAA qualifying event begins the first day of the month following the date completed forms are received by HR

Your actual rights and benefits are governed by the official medical, dental and vision plan descriptions.

Add or Remove Dependents

Adding Dependents

Dependents can be added to medical, dental or vision plans during the open enrollment period or within 31 days of an eligible qualifying event.

During an open enrollment period, employees can enroll or add dependents to their health or dental plan without a qualifying event. The University of Arkansas System Office  determines if and when open enrollment periods will occur.

Eligible qualifying events for health and dental insurance are marriage, birth, placement in the home for adoption, loss of eligibility for other coverage and employer contributions for other coverage ceasing. Eligible qualifying events for vision insurance are marriage, birth and placement in the home for adoption. If you are more than 31 days from a qualifying event date, you may not be able to add your dependent to your health or dental plans until the next open enrollment period. Contact an HR Expert for assistance with late enrollments.

See the section above for the effective dates of coverage for particular qualifying events.

Note: Employees who are covering at least one child on a health or dental plan are encouraged to add new dependents within 31 days of birth. Eligible qualifying events for vision insurance are marriage, birth or placement in the home for adoption. Because the employee is enrolled in a family plan, there is no additional cost, no need to add dependents during open enrollment, and dependents are covered.

Enrollment Forms

Return your completed enrollment forms and required documentation within 31 days of your qualifying event to:

Human Resources
1125 W Maple Street
222 Administration Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Fax: 479-575-6971

Removing Dependents

Dependents can only be removed from vision insurance during open enrollment or when they become ineligible for coverage due to divorce for ex-spouses and step-children or children turning age 26.

If you are paying your health and dental insurance premiums with after-tax dollars, you do not need a qualifying event to delete a dependent. Complete the enrollment forms below.

If you are paying your health and dental insurance premiums with tax-exempt dollars, you can only remove dependents during open enrollment or within 31 days of a qualifying event.

Drop Coverage Forms

Return your completed forms and other required documentation within 31 days of your qualifying event to:

Human Resources
1125 W Maple Street
222 Administration Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Fax: 479-575-6971