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Because you pay for many of your benefits with before-tax dollars, the IRS does not allow you to change your benefit elections during the year (outside of annual enrollment) unless you experience a “qualifying life event.” Qualifying life events include but are not limited to:

  • Marriage, divorce, legal separation or annulment

  • Birth, adoption or placement for adoption of a child

  • Gain or loss of coverage through your spouse’s employer (does not include loss due to failure to pay premiums on a timely basis)

  • A child’s gain or loss of eligibility status

  • Death of a spouse or dependent child

  • A change in work schedule that affects benefits eligibility

  • Open enrollment or qualifying for a special enrollment period (SEP) through the Health Insurance Marketplace (voluntarily giving up coverage or losing it for failure to pay premiums doesn’t qualify as a SEP)

  • A qualified medical child support order

  • Eligibility for Medicare 


You have 60 days from the date of a qualifying life event to make changes to your coverage by logging onto Benefit Express. Any benefit changes you make must be consistent with the life event. Remember: To add a dependent following a qualifying life event, you must provide documentation supporting the dependent’s eligibility; for example, a copy of the birth certificate, marriage certificate or adoption documents).


If you miss this deadline, you will not be able to change your coverage and will have to wait until the next annual enrollment to make changes.

Special enrollment period

In addition to the qualifying life events described above, there are limited situations in which you can elect coverage. For example, if you lose coverage under another plan, you may elect comparable coverage within 60 days of the qualifying event. Employee Benefit Services can provide additional information about changing coverage following a qualifying life event.

Changing your benefits/coverage

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