Status of Benefit Programs upon Separation of Employment

The following is a brief summary of the benefit programs available to University employees and what happens to such coverage at separation of employment.

Coverage Cancellation Dates

Individuals who are enrolled in a University sponsored benefit plan at the time of termination are covered through the end of the same month for most benefit plans. The only exception to this is tuition benefits.  Tuition benefits cease at the end of the study term in which termination occurs.

Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

HEALTH, DENTAL & VISION BENEFITS

Under provisions of the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA), an employee may elect to temporarily continue coverage in the health, dental, or vision University-sponsored plan in which he or she was enrolled at the time of separation of employment. Coverage for separated employees is identical to that for active employees. An employee’s dependents may also elect continued coverage under COBRA.

FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNT (FSA) BENEFITS

Under COBRA provisions, if an individual is unable to claim his or her health care FSA balance by the time of separation of employment, he or she may continue to pay contributions on an after-tax basis for the remainder of the calendar year.  This allows the individual to remain eligible to file claims against his or her account and potentially recover the contributions he or she has already made that year, including services received after the date of separation through the end of the calendar year.

If an individual does not elect to continue his or her health care FSA under COBRA, claims may only be reimbursed for dates of service through the end of the month in which the termination occurs.

COBRA continuation provisions do not apply to the dependent care FSA.

Relocation of Residence Outside Illinois. 

An employee or eligible family member who has HMO coverage and moves his or her permanent address out of Illinois may switch to a PPO plan at the time of the move. 

Changes in Family Status

A COBRA participant may add or drop coverage for an eligible family member provided the Benefits Division receives a completed Benefits Change Form PDF Document within 31 day from the day of the change in employment or family status (birth or adoption of child, divorce, marriage, and change in spouse employment or coverage).  Individuals cannot change plans due to a family status change.

Open Enrollment

Once an individual is covered by a health care plan under COBRA, he or she has the opportunity to change health care plans for a family member during the University’s annual Open Enrollment period held each fall. The Benefits Division will notify participants of Open Enrollment dates as well as premium rates and plan changes for the next year.

Conversion

Once COBRA coverage ends, an individual may explore options to convert health insurance coverage to an individual policy by contacting the sponsoring insurance company within 31 days from the date coverage terminates.