New Guidelines for Health Insurance Benefits
The Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service have released new guidelines for the health insurance benefit administrations process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MCPS offers comprehensive health insurance benefits for permanent employees who work a minimum of 20 hours a week in their permanent positions. MCPS health insurance plans include medical, prescription, dental and vision insurance plans. New employees have 60 days from their date of hire to enroll in benefits. Current MCPS employees who experience qualifying life events—such as marriage, or the birth or adoption of a child— also have 60 days from the date of the qualifying event to add new dependents to their benefit plan. In addition, MCPS employees who are covered by a non-MCPS health insurance plan have 60 days to enroll in benefits should they lose their non-MCPS coverage. Employees who miss the enrollment deadline will have the opportunity to enroll during the annual Benefit Open Enrollment season typically conducted in October of each year.
As a result of the new guidelines, the following changes are in effect until further notice:
- Any employee who is eligible for health insurance benefits, but did not enroll during their 60-day enrollment period or during the Benefit Open Enrollment in October 2019, will be eligible to enroll in an MCPS health insurance plan. Employees can enroll their qualifying dependents at the same time by providing appropriate supporting documentation.
- Any employee who experienced a qualifying life event—such as marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, or loss of non-MCPS coverage—but did not enroll in the MCPS health insurance plans during their 60-day enrollment period or during the Benefit Open Enrollment in October 2019, will also be eligible to add any qualifying dependents by providing appropriate supporting documentation.
- Any employee who wishes to drop an existing dependent may do so by providing supporting documentation to show that the individual has coverage elsewhere, or by providing an affidavit.
- Employees are able to change their plan elections, such as changing from a CareFirst Point-Of-Service to CareFirst HMO plan, or switching from a Kaiser Permanente plan to a CareFirst plan. They can also add or drop qualifying dependents to their existing health insurance there by changing the coverage level.
- Employees may add or drop parts of their health insurance plan. For example, an employee who is currently enrolled only in a dental or vision insurance plan can now enroll in a medical and prescription plan.
MCPS employees should submit a completed MCPS Form 455-20 to enroll or change health insurance plan elections. MCPS retirees should submit a completed MCPS Form 455-22. Employees and retirees can email or call the Employee and Retiree Service Center (ERSC) at 301-517-8100 with questions. Comprehensive information regarding the MCPS health insurance plans is available on the ERSC website here. Additional details on the latest benefit guidelines are also available on the ERSC website here.