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Are insurance coverage changes allowed during the school year?

Q: After signing up for family insurance coverage, my husband took a new job that offers him insurance. Can I make changes in my coverage during the school year?

A: Group health insurance differs from insurance you purchase individually, such as homeowner or automobile policies. A contract between the insurer and your school employer establishes rules for enrollment and coverage and almost certainly limits changes once you enroll. Coverage can probably be changed for events such as divorce, child birth, adoption, death, and employment changes. In the absence of such events there are probably time limits on when employees can enroll or make changes. Most employers provide a "window" once a year for changes and prevent changes at any other time.

Your UniServ Director (UD) can help you review whether your husband's new job qualifies as an event allowing a change in coverage, and assist you with paperwork or communicating with the school benefits representatives.

Group insurance is a valuable (and expensive) employment benefit. So it pays to track it carefully. You should regularly review information on your plan, coverage and premium on your pay check or record of automatic deposit. Follow up with the school benefits office if you have any questions. Get a certificate of coverage if you or a member of your family changes insurance. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) limits exclusions for preexisting conditions with proof of continuous coverage. Another federal law, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), allows you to continue group coverage at your own expense if you face loss of coverage because of death, divorce, or cessation of employment. 

I am pleased the Association can help you review your insurance coverage. Please follow up with your UniServ Director.


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