2018 Benelect Guide

The purpose of this guide (print or view pdf version) is to provide you with an overview of Benelect - the flexible benefits program at CWRU. This is not intended to be a comprehensive description of the benefit plans. Details of individual benefit plans are provided in legal plan documents and contracts that govern the operation of the program. Specific coverage information is contained in the individual summary plan descriptions available from Benefits Administration (320 Crawford Hall). Employees are responsible for selecting and using their benefits prudently and in the most cost-effective manner. Under no circumstances are the statements contained in these policies to be considered a contract of employment, an obligation, or guarantee on the part of the university. Please call 216-368-6964 or e-mail AskHR@case.edu with any questions, comments, or concerns that you may have.

Benelect Overview

Benelect is a flexible benefits program that offers both you and the university a number of advantages. One of the most important advantages is that Benelect offers you choice. You can choose the type of coverage you want, the number of people you want to cover, or you can choose no coverage.

Since faculty and staff choose only the benefits they need, the university can control fringe benefit costs more effectively. And, by providing choices, Benelect does a better job of meeting the diverse needs of staff and faculty.

Benelect also helps you save taxes. By paying for insurance premiums and putting money into spending accounts on a pre-tax basis, you pay less in Social Security, federal and state income taxes. Using your pre-tax dollars to pay for your benefits and/or spending account deposits will not affect coverage for pay-related benefits such as personal life insurance, LTD coverage, or retirement plan contributions. Those benefits will continue to be calculated from your gross pay.

Employer Costs

The university contributes varying amounts of money towards the purchase of selected benefits. The shared percentages are based on the number of hours worked per week and Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employment status:

Your Qualifying Members

For some Benelect benefits, coverage is available not just for you, but for qualifying family members as well. Qualifying family members are:

  • Your spouse or equivalent (domestic partner),
  • Children under age 26.
  • Unmarried children of any age if they are mentally or physically incapable of supporting themselves.

Proof of dependency is required for family members (Dependent Verification Document Requirements [pdf]). Proof of domestic partnership through notarized affidavit is required for spousal equivalent (Affidavit of Domestic Partnership/ Acknowledgment of Domestic Partnership [pdf]). Children who have reached age 26 are eligible for COBRA coverage if they are currently covered through Benelect. Detailed information can be obtained from Benefits Administration.

Benefits Eligibility

Open Enrollment-Your benefits begin January 1 of the New Year and remain in effect for the whole calendar year.

New Hires-Your benefits begin when employment is started if the start date is on the first business day of the month; otherwise, benefits begin on the first day of the month following the month in which employment is started.

Making Changes due to Life Events

The benefit choices you make are in effect for one calendar year and may be changed only during the annual enrollment period to take effect for the following year. The exception to this Internal Revenue Service regulation is a change in family or job status, which allows you to make the appropriate benefit changes mid-year by notifying Benefits Administration within 30 days of the change. Qualifying life event changes are:

  • Marriage or divorce (equivalent for domestic partner),
  • Birth or adoption of your child,
  • Death of your family members,
  • Change in your employment status, i.e., from part-time to full-time work,
  • Gain of insurance through your spouse's (equivalent's) employment, and
  • Loss of your spouse's (equivalent's) medical, dental and/or vision coverage.

These changes in family or job status must be reported to Benefits Administration within 30 days after the life event change occurred along with appropriate documentation. Only changes that are on account of and correspond with the documented family or job status event can be made. For example, if the documentation you provide is for the birth of a child, the addition may increase the level of coverage (category) to employee plus children or family or allow you to start a dependent care flexible spending account; however you cannot decrease the level of coverage, opt out, add/delete other dependents, stop your contribution to a dependent care flexible spending account or change carriers because a decrease would not be consistent with the reason for the change. Print the 2017 Benelect Change of Status form.

Important exceptions - to family and job status benefit changes are:

  • You can change your dental and vision coverage level (category), but you cannot opt out of the plan.
  • If your spouse (equivalent) loses dental and/or vision coverage through his/her employer, you may opt into the dental and/or vision plans.
  • You may change your level of coverage (category) if you meet the criteria, but you may not change health coverage carriers.
Future Retirees

When you retire from CWRU, you can choose one of the medical plans offered (Traditional, PPO or HMO) and/or continue dental coverage that best fits your post-retirement needs. A retiree may change plans at retirement only if the plan they have will not work where they are going to reside. If you have used a local HMO while actively employed at the university and are planning to leave the Cleveland area, for example, you might want to choose the traditional indemnity plan. Once you've retired, you can change your medical or dental option only during the university's open enrollment period unless there is a qualifying change of status event.