Tuesday, 26 March 2019 15:21

Open Enrollment is March 25 - April 12

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Open Enrollment for the 2019 - 2020 Plan Year is from March 25 - April 12, 2019. The changes you make will be effective on May 1, 2019.

During Open Enrollment, visit Employee Self Service (ESS) at portal.houstontx.gov to:

  • Enroll or make changes to your medical, dental, vision or supplemental plans
  • Waive coverage
  • Re-enroll in the Healthcare Flexible Spending Account
  • Add or drop dependents
  • Elect voluntary life insurance
  • Designate beneficiaries

If you do not want make any changes, you do not have to log in to Employee Self Service (ESS) and your current benefits will remain in effect for the new Plan Year. You must re-enroll in the Healthcare Flexible Spending Account each year.

ESS makes electing and updating your benefits simple and personal. The application is secure, and your information will be protected, whether you are at home, at work, or using a public computer, like at the library. You must have an active password. If you need to reset your password, contact the HITS client service center at 832-394-4487 or houstontx.service-now.com.

ESS will be unavailable for maintenance April 8 at noon through April 9 at 8 a.m. 

What's new? 

  • Contribution rates are increasing in medical plans, except for the Employee Only tier in the Limited Network Plan.
  • Employees in the Limited Network Plan and Employee Only tier get free coverage.
  • The monthly tobacco user premium is increasing from $25 to $35.
  • Medical deductibles for the Limited Network and Open Access Plans are increasing.
  • Prescription deductibles in the Limited Network Plan are increasing.
  • Maximum inpatient copayment in the Limited Network Plan is increasing.
  • Maximum Out-of-Pocket is increasing in all three plans to align with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
  • The following procedures will be covered if medically necessary:Bariatric surgery; Reduction mammaplasty (breast reduction surgery); and Varicose vein surgery
  • New detailed Benefits Confirmation page with a summary of all your benefit elections, dependents and beneficiaries.
  • New two-step process for verification of new dependents. Supporting documents for dependents must be presented before you can elect their benefits.


Resource Links:

Read more details about your plan contributions and benefits features with these online resources: 

Things to note:

Evidence of Insurability (EOI) form:

Remember, you must complete an Evidence of Insurability form to apply for voluntary life insurance. No deductions will be taken from your paycheck until you have been approved by Dearborn National. If you do not receive notification from Dearborn within 30 days, contact them directly at 800-348-4512.

Supporting documents for newly added dependents:

If you are adding a new dependent, you will need to provide supporting documents to be verified by the Benefits Division before you can enroll them in benefits. You must submit supporting documentation by April 12, 2019. If your documentation is not received before the deadline, your dependent will not be added for coverage. There will be no exceptions. Don't wait until the last minute.

Your eligible dependents are your: 

  • Legal spouse
  • Natural, adopted or step children to age 26
  • Children to age 26, over whom you have legal guardianship or legal foster care
  • Grandchildren to age 25, if they qualify as your dependents for federal income-tax purposes and live with you. Step-grandchildren are not eligible
  • Disabled dependents over age 26. The dependent must be dependent on you for more than 50 percent of financial support, disabled and covered before age 26, and approved for coverage after age 26
  • Dependents (spouse or children) for whom a court order has been issued requiring the employee to provide healthcare coverage, provided HR benefits receives the court order within 31 days of event

Supporting Documents

Benefits Contact Information: 

Phone: 832-393-6000
Email: benefits@houstontx.gov
Website: cityofhoustonbenefits.org


Read 412 times Last modified on Thursday, 28 March 2019 16:07