Mid-year 2020 Benefit Election Options

    As part of the nation’s response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outbreak (COVID19), the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service have issued guidance providing additional flexibility to employees in employer sponsored benefit programs. Under this guidance, the City’s LAwell Civilian Employee Benefits Program (LAwell Program) allows the following mid-year benefit election changes (effective June 15, 2020, and continuing for the remainder of 2020 or until the end of the COVID-19 outbreak period as declared by the federal government, whichever comes first):

 

Mid-year qualifying life event reporting window extension

  • An employee normally has thirty days to report a life event (such as a marriage, birth, or loss of dependent coverage) to make a change in coverage. The thirty-day reporting requirement has been temporarily waived. Any employee with a qualifying life event occurring on or after March 1, 2020, may report their qualifying life event and make changes to their benefit options. Find out more about qualifying life events here.

New or changed elections for a 2020 Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) or Dependent Care Reimbursement Account (DCRA) 

  • An employee not currently enrolled in an HCFSA or DCRA for 2020 may elect a new 2020 account beginning June 15, 2020. A qualifying life event is not needed for this election, but all new elections are irrevocable. Contributions made into your account may only be reimbursed for qualifying expenses incurred from the date of your election through March 15, 2021. 
  • Employees currently enrolled in an HCFSA or DCRA for 2020 may increase or decrease their election amounts. A qualifying life event is not needed to make a change. All changes are prospective and will be effective on the next applicable paycheck and continue through the remainder of the calendar year, subject to eligibility. To make a change effective for a specific paycheck, your request must be made by the corresponding deadline. 

Grace period for a HCFSA or DCRA

  • All employees enrolled in an HCFSA or DCRA for 2020 will now have from January 1, 2020 to March 15, 2021 to incur expenses. Reimbursement claims must be made by April 30, 2021. This change occurs automatically for all 2020 enrolled employees. No election is required.

To make a change permitted under this new federal guidance, please call the LAwell Program Benefits Services Center. These mid-year changes can only be made through the call center. Regular LAwell rules apply to all online election changes.

The LAwell Program Benefits Services Center
833-4LA-WELL, (833-452-9355)
Open Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm. 

Any qualifying life event (such as marriage, beginning or ending a domestic partnership, birth, adoption, divorce, death, or a loss or gain of spouse/domestic partner health coverage) that occurred on or after March 1, 2020, and was not previously used to perform mid-year elections is eligible for a reporting window extension.

The below illustrates the reporting window differences between the regular 30-day rule and the mid-year temporary waiver rule:

Regular 30-day reporting window

Mid-year temporary waiver reporting window

  • Marriage occurs on April 1, 2020.
  • The life event must be reported by April 30, 2020.
  • Coverage changes are effective the date the event is reported
  • Supporting documentation (if applicable) is due 60 days after the change is reported.
  • Marriage occurs on April 1, 2020.
  • The life event can be reported on any date in 2020.
  • Coverage changes are effective the date the event is reported
  • Supporting documentation (if applicable) is due 60 days after the change is reported.

No. If you already performed mid-year election changes through a qualifying life event, you cannot reuse that life event to make additional changes. You may, however, report a subsequent life event.

If your request is made by  Paycheck change is effective on
June 15, 2020 7/1/2020
June 29, 2020 7/15/20
July 27, 2020 8/12/20
August 10, 2020 8/26/20
August 24, 2020 9/9/20
September 7, 2020 9/23/20
September 21, 2020 10/7/20
October 5, 2020 10/21/20
October 19, 2020 11/4/20
November 2, 2020 11/18/20
November 16, 2020 12/2/20
November 30, 2020 12/16/20

If your dependent lost benefits coverage through their employer, then that is a "Loss of Coverage" life event. If the coverage loss occurred on or after March 1, 2020, and you have not already reported the Loss of Coverage event, you may report the life event through the new mid-year change option. 

Your election changes will be effective the date you report your event. All regular life event rules are still in effect. To keep your election changes you must provide supporting documentation to 1) prove the event and 2) verify any added dependents. Additional requirements and supporting documentation may apply to specific benefit changes. Any of these required actions must be completed within 60 days of the reporting date. 

 

Employees cannot exceed the 2020 maximum amounts.

Employees cannot reduce their election amount below their contribution balance or wageworks account balance. 

New mid-year change options can be made starting June 15, 2020, and continue for the remainder of 2020 or until the end of the COVID-19 outbreak period as declared by the federal government, whichever comes first.

Changes can only be made through the LAwell Benefits Services Center at 833-4LA-WELL, (833-452-9355). Open Monday through Friday 8:00am to 5:00pm. Regular LAwell rules apply to all online election changes.