Changing Insurance for Life Events

In order to change your benefits outside of the annual enrollment period each fall the employee must:

  1. Experience an Applicable Qualifying Event (see details below), as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Changes based on financial reasons alone are not allowed under the current IRS regulations.
  2. Deadline: Submit the required forms to Human Resources within 31 days of the Applicable Qualifying Event.
  3. Provide the required documentation to verify the Applicable Qualifying Event. View a list of acceptable types of documentation for benefits changes.

What is an Applicable Qualifying Event?

Within the context of changing benefits, "Applicable" refers to a change that is directly related to the individual experiencing the qualifying event. These events are described on the tabs below.

Birth/Adoption

Changing Benefits

Within 31 days of the birth or adoption of your child, you may make these changes to your benefits:

  • Add your child to your medical, dental, or vision plan with coverage effective on the date of birth/adoption.
  • Enroll in a flexible spending account effective with the first full pay period following the date of birth/adoption.
  • Apply for child life insurance in the amount of $5,000 or $10,000 without medical evidence of insurability. You may also elect accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.
  • Change the beneficiary designation for your retirement plan and life insurance plan because of your change in family status. Beneficiary changes can be made at any time.

Preparing for Leave

If you plan to be away from work, you may want to consider these things as you prepare:

Making Additional Changes

  • Review your W-4 Tax Information to update your number of federal and state withholding allowances.
  • Calculate your net (take-home) pay, based on changes to your W-4 allowances using a paycheck calculator from Paycheck City.

Adult Children

Children Age 26 & Older

Your dependent children remain eligible for coverage on your insurance plans through the end of the month in which they turn age 26. Human Resources will automatically end your adult child's coverage at midnight on the last day of the month in which they turn age 26.

Child Gets Other Coverage

If an adult child acquires other medical insurance before they turn age 26, it is considered a qualifying event by the IRS and the employee may choose to end their OU plan coverage of the child. To do this, the employee must submit the Benefits Change Form (see below) to Human Resources within 31 days of when the child's other coverage begins. If this 31-day qualifying event window is missed, federal law requires the employee to keep coverage through the current plan year and the child's coverage can be dropped during the next open enrollment period.

Adult Children with Illness or Disability

Your child remains eligible for coverage if incapable of self-sustaining employment because of developmental disability, mental illness, mental disorder, or physical disability, and is chiefly dependent upon you for support and maintenance. If your child is 26 years or older at the time of your initial application for coverage, you must provide proof that your child meets these requirements within 31 days. Your child will then remain eligible for coverage as long as they continue to meet these conditions.

COBRA Continuing Coverage for Your Child

One coverage option for your child is under COBRA  continuation provisions. Dependent children who were canceled from their parents' plan can continue coverage for up to 36 months by paying the full cost.

To request COBRA instructions and application, notify Human Resources within 31 days from the date your child loses eligibility. Even though you have 60 days to make the COBRA election, it is recommended that you elect COBRA continuation coverage early to avoid a disruption in your child's coverage.

Marriage

Benefits Available

Within 31 days of your marriage date, you may make the following changes:
  • Add your spouse to your medical, dental, or vision plan with coverage effective on the first of the month following the date of your marriage.
  • Enroll in a flexible spending account or change the amount in your current account effective on the first of the month following the date of your marriage.
  • Add spouse life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.

Change Beneficiary Designation

Because of the change in your family status, you may wish to change the beneficiary designation for your retirement plan, AD&D, and life insurance using the forms below. Beneficiary changes may be made at any time.

Additional Changes

Notify HR of Your Divorce or Separation

You must contact HR within 31 days of your divorce or legal separation because this event will affect your spouse's continued eligibility for benefits.

Medical, Dental, Vision, and Spouse Life Coverage

When you become legally separated or divorced, your ex-spouse's eligibility to be continued as a dependent under your OU insurance changes as described below.

Medical, Dental, & Vision Insurance

Cancel Coverage: Cancel medical, dental, and vision coverage for your ex-spouse within 31 days by completing the Benefits Change forms below. If you do not submit the Benefits Change form within 31 days of your divorce or legal separation, the spouse coverage premium rate will continue to be deducted from your paycheck; even though your ex-spouse will no longer be covered. 

Coverage Ends: Medical, dental, and vision coverage end on the last day of the month that includes the end date of the pay period in which the separation becomes legal or your divorce is final.

If You Want to Keep Child Coverage: When you cancel ex-spouse coverage, coverage for your children will remain unchanged. 

Life Insurance and AD&D

When you are divorced, spouse life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage cannot be continued on your ex-spouse, nor can they continue the coverage under COBRA. You will need to cancel these policies within 31 days by completing the Benefits Change forms below.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Divorce is considered a significant change in family status by the IRS and qualifies for a change in a healthcare or dependent daycare flexible spending account. You must make your election change no later than 31 days after the date of your divorce or legal separation using the Benefits Change forms below.

COBRA Continuing Coverage for Your Ex-Spouse

COBRA Continuation Coverage

Your ex-spouse may continue group medical and dental coverage under state and federal continuation provisions, commonly referred to as COBRA. Generally, group coverage may be continued until your ex-spouse is covered under another group insurance for a maximum of 36 months.

To request COBRA instructions and an application, notify Human Resources as soon as possible. Even though your ex-spouse have 60 days to make the COBRA election, it is recommended that they elect COBRA continuation coverage early to avoid a disruption in their coverage.

Change Beneficiary Designation

Because of the change in your family status, you may wish to change the beneficiary designation for your retirement plan, AD&D, and life insurance using the forms below. Beneficiary changes may be made at any time.

Additional Changes

Gain or Loss of Coverage for the Employee, Spouse, or Dependent

Benefits Available

Loss of Coverage

If you, your spouse, or your dependent loses other insurance coverage, you may add OU insurance coverage within 31 days of the date of the coverage loss by completing the Benefits Change forms below. Coverage is effective the first of the month following the date of coverage loss. 

Gain of Coverage

If you, your spouse, or your dependent gains other insurance coverage, you may cancel OU coverage within 31 days of the date of the coverage gain by completing the Benefits Change forms below. If you fail to cancel OU coverage, the medical insurance premium amount will continue to be deducted from your paycheck and the OU coverage will continue.

Flexible Spending Accounts

Your spouse's gain or loss of other insurance coverage is considered a significant change in status by the IRS and qualifies for a change in a healthcare or dependent daycare flexible spending account. You must make your election change no later
than 31 days after the date of your spouse's gain or loss of coverage using the Benefits Change forms below.

Additional Changes

Death

You must notify HR of the death of a spouse or dependent within 31 days.

Changing Benefits

You will need to cancel insurance coverage for your dependent within 31 days of their death. If you do not cancel coverage within 31 days, the premium amount will continue to be deducted from your paycheck. To cancel coverage, complete the Benefits Change forms below.

Flexible Spending Accounts

The death of a dependent is considered a significant change in family status by the IRS and qualifies for a change in a healthcare or dependent daycare flexible spending account. You must make your election change no later than 31 days after the date of your divorce or legal separation using the Benefits Change forms below.

Change Beneficiary Designation

Because of the change in your family status, you may wish to change the beneficiary designation for your retirement plan, AD&D, and life insurance using the forms below. Beneficiary changes may be made at any time.

Additional Changes

When does coverage begin?

Except for coverage of a newborn or adopted child, changes in coverage will begin the first day of the month following the qualifying event. Coverage for a newborn is effective on the child's date of birth, or in the case of an adopted child, on the date of placement. The premium for coverage of a newborn or adopted child is due in the birth month if the child is born on the 1st of the month, or in the case of an adoption, if the date of placement is the 1st of the month. Otherwise, the premium is not due until the following month.

Consider This

You may also need to change your benefits if one of the following happens:

Contact HR

  • Norman, HR Benefits
    (405) 325-1826, NEL 205
  • HSC, HR Employee Service Center
    (405) 271-2180, SCB 118
  • Tulsa, HR
    (918) 660-3192, Rm 2C11

More HR Contact Information