Washington University’s health plans are tax-qualified plans subject to regulations established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is this tax-favored plan status that allows university employees to pay for their health/dental insurance coverage on a pre-tax basis. In order to maintain the tax-qualified status of our plans and provide this tax-favored benefit to our employees, we are required to comply with IRS regulations regarding employees enrolling in or making changes to their health/dental benefits.

You have 31 days (62 days for birth and adoption) from the life event date to make changes to your health benefits. If you do not submit the appropriate paperwork within the 31-day deadline, you must wait until the annual open enrollment (in November) to make these changes and the effective date will be January 1.


What if I get married and I need to change my health insurance?

If you get married, you can add your spouse to your health/dental plans or if you wish to cancel health/dental coverage and be added to your spouse’s coverage, you can make these changes within 31 days from the date of marriage.

Visit the HRMS Life Event page to initiate the Life Event (marriage) within 31 days from the date of marriage.

Necessary Documentation
You will need to submit a copy of your marriage certificate (scan or legible picture) within 31 days from the marriage to the WashU Benefits Team at hr-benefitsmail@wustl.edu.


What if I have a baby/adopt a child?

You have 62 days from the birth or adoption to add your newborn/child to your health insurance (even if you already have family coverage), make changes to flexible spending accounts, health savings account and child life insurance. 

Click on the link below to initiate the Life Event (birth/adoption) within 31 days from the date of newborn’s birth or date you received custody of your adopted child: HRMS Life Event Page

Necessary Documentation
Birth of baby: Currently no documentation is required. Adoption papers (scan or legible picture) for adopted child, submit a copy of adoption papers within 62 days to the WashU Benefits Team at hr-benefitsmail@wustl.edu. Be sure to add the newborn/adopted child’s social security number on-line through Employee Self Service.

If it is past 31 days and less than 62 days, you must add the newborn/adopted child to your benefit plans by reaching out to the WashU Benefits Team at hr-benefitsmail@wustl.edu


What if I get divorced?

If your spouse is on your health/dental insurance through the university, your spouse will lose eligibility for health/dental insurance at the end of the month in which the divorce is final. If you were covered as a dependent on your ex-spouse’s health plan, you have 31 days from the date of loss of other coverage to enroll.

Click on the link below to initiate the Life Event (divorce) within 31 days from the date of divorce: HRMS Life Event Page

Necessary Documentation:
Copy (scan or legible picture) of the first and last page of divorce decree containing judge’s signature and date. You will need to submit a copy of the divorce decree within 31 days to the WashU Benefits Team, hr-benefitsmail@wustl.edu.

Note:  When you remove your ex-spouse from your health/dental insurance due to a divorce, your ex-spouse will be entitled to up to 36 months of coverage through COBRA


What if my Spouse/Domestic Partner has a change in employment?

If your spouse/domestic partner has a change in employment resulting in a loss of coverage, you may apply for health/dental insurance for yourself, your spouse/domestic partner and eligible children who lost coverage through your spouse/domestic partner.  If your spouse/domestic partner has a change in employment that results in them becoming eligible for health benefits, you may terminate your current health/dental coverage or remove covered dependents.

Click on the link below to initiate the Life Event (Spouse/Domestic Partner Employment Change):  HRMS Life Event Page

Necessary documentation
Copy of letter/document explaining spouse/domestic partner’s loss of health coverage or new coverage effective date (scan or legible picture). Submit a copy of documentation and effective date within 31 days to the WashU Benefits Team at hr-benefitsmail@wustl.edu.


What if my dependent child is no longer eligible for coverage?  Cancel dependent child or domestic partner child.

If your child is no longer eligible for coverage under your health plan as a result of attaining the maximum age for coverage of a child under the plan, the child will be removed from your coverage automatically at the end of the month in which the child attains the maximum age for coverage.  You will not need to submit any paperwork to remove the child in that situation

Click on the link below to initiate the Life Event (Cancel eligible child or domestic partner child):  HRMS Life Event Page

Necessary documentation
Submit a copy of the documentation (scan or legible picture) indicating that the child is now eligible for coverage and the effective date via email within 31 days to the WashU Benefits Team at hr-benefitsmail@wustl.edu.


What if my dependent child is now eligible for coverage?   Add dependent child or domestic partner child.

If your child is eligible for coverage under your current health plan due to loss of coverage under an employer sponsored health plan or other group health plan, you can add your  dependent child or domestic partner child to your health/dental coverage.

Click on the link below to initiate the Life Event (Add eligible child or domestic partner child):  HRMS Life Event Page

Necessary documentation
Submit a copy of the documentation (scan or legible picture) indicating that the child is now eligible for coverage and the effective date via email to the WashU Benefits Team, hr-benefitsmail@wustl.edu.


What if I am approved for Short Term Medical Disability?

Please review the Short Term Medical Disability page


What if my hours change from full-time to part-time, or vice versa?

If your change affects benefits eligibility, you will be notified via system generated email. You may enroll or cancel health/dental insurance due to a change in hours, as long as you make changes within 31 days of your change in hours.  If you miss your 31-day deadline, you must wait until open enrollment (in November) to enroll in or cancel your health/dental insurance.  You may add or delete eligible dependents as necessary.  You will receive a confirmation e-mail within 48 hours once your changes have been processed by the Benefits Department. 


What if I leave the university?

Please visit leaving the university for complete information.


What if I retire?

Please review the Washington University Retiree Benefits Summary Guide


What should I do if my spouse/domestic partner or dependent child dies?

If your spouse/domestic partner or dependent child dies, please contact the WashU Benefits Team at 314-935-2332 to determine the benefits available to you and the impact on your future benefits.


When should I consider changing my beneficiaries for life insurance and retirement savings?

When you get married, have a baby, get divorced or if your spouse/domestic partner or dependent child dies, you should consider updating your beneficiary elections for Life Insurance and the Retirement Savings Plan.

The Retirement Savings Plan requires that your spouse be listed as your beneficiary unless this right is waived by your spouse.  Update your beneficiary election by logging onto your TIAA-CREF (External Website) account

The Life Insurance Plan beneficiary can be updated by choosing the MetLife MyBenefits link below or go to the Insurance Summary page of HRMS/Employee Self Service/Benefits.
Metlife MyBenefits (External Website)