Qualified Life Events

Certain events in your life may require that you make changes to your Medical, Dental, and/or Vision coverage, Flexible Spending Account(s) or Health Savings Account, and Life Insurance. With the exception of your 403(b) Retirement Plan (which can be changed anytime throughout the year), there are only two opportunities to make changes to your benefits:

  1. During the annual Open Enrollment period
  2. When you have a Qualified Life Event

A qualified life event is generally defined as a change in your status due to marriage, birth or adoption of a child(ren), death of a family member, divorce, loss or gain of insurance coverage by your spouse, or termination of your spouse's employment. Other events may also qualify.

Allowable Changes

For detailed guidelines on the allowable benefits changes for the various life events, please go to Change of Status.com.

 

Notify the Department of Human Resources

Immediately following your life event, send an email to benefitsu@smu.edu and include the following:

  • Your SMU ID #
  • General description of the event
  • Event effective date
  • Names of individuals affected by the event

An event will be opened for you in my.SMU.edu Employee Self Service > Benefits > Benefits Enrollment so you can make your elections.

You have 31 days from your event date to make allowable changes.

Dependent Eligibility Verification

SMU has contracted with UnifyHR to perform dependent eligibility verification for all dependents enrolled in the SMU Medical, Dental and /or Vision plans.  Shortly after you complete your life event enrollment, you will receive a mailing from UnifyHR requesting documentation to verify that each dependent is eligible for coverage.  Instructions, FAQ, and a detailed list of acceptable documentation will be included in the mailing.

We understand this process requires time and effort on your part and appreciate your assistance in maintaining plan compliance and managing healthcare costs by ensuring that only eligible dependents are enrolled.

Birth, Adoption and Legal Guardianship

Congratulations!

This is a busy time for you so be sure to make plans to enroll your child within the 31-day time period. Here are a few pointers...

  • If you have coverage with SMU and your spouse has coverage with his/her employer, decide if it makes sense to enroll the child in your coverage or your spouse's coverage.
    • If you decide to add the child to your SMU coverage send an email to benefitsu@smu.edu within 31 days of the date of your event. Please include the date of your event in your email.
    • Your child's coverage will be retroactive to the date of birth or adoption, or the date of establishment of legal guardianship.
  • Re-evaluate your insurance needs and make changes as appropriate.
  • Be sure to make any coverage changes and update your beneficiary designations for Basic and Supplemental Group Life and AD&D Insurance, as applicable.

  • You can update your 403(b) Retirement Plan beneficiary designations by signing in to your account at smu.trsretire.com. Click Account Information -> Beneficiary Information.

  • Review your tax withholding information and make any necessary changes via my.SMU.edu Self-Service. If you have any questions contact the Payroll Office at extension 8-2073.

Change in Employment Status

This category includes new employment, loss of employment or a significant change in hours for you or your spouse.

  • Determine what changes you should make to your SMU coverage or if you should cancel your SMU coverage and enroll in your spouse's employer plans, if applicable.
    • If you wish to add or cancel coverage, send an email to benefitsu@smu.edu within 31 days of the date of your event. Please include the date of your event in your email..

  • Review your tax withholding information and make any necessary changes via my.SMU.edu Self-Service. Please contact the Payroll Office at extension 8-2073 if you have any questions.

Change in Marital Status

If you are getting married, decide if it makes sense to add your spouse to your SMU coverage or if you should cancel your SMU coverage and enroll in your spouse's employer plans.

  • If you wish to add coverage, send an email to benefitsu@smu.edu within 31 days of the date of your event. Please include the date of your event in your email.

If you are divorced or your marriage is annulled, you must cancel your ex-spouse's coverage as of the date of the event (i.e., the date legal documents are signed). He/she has a right to continue coverage under COBRA.

  • When you are cancelling coverage, send an email to benefitsu@smu.edu within 31 days of the date of your event. Please include the date of your event in your email.

A few pointers...

  • Re-evaluate your other insurance needs and make changes as appropriate.

  • Be sure to update your beneficiary designations for Basic and Supplemental Group Life and AD&D Insurance, as applicable.

  • You can update your 403(b) Retirement Plan& beneficiary designations by signing in to your account at smu.trsretire.com. Click Account Information -> Beneficiary Information.

  • Review your tax withholding information and make any necessary changes via my.SMU.edu Self-Service. Please contact the Payroll Office at extension 8-2073 if you have any questions.

  • If you are changing your name you must provide a copy of your new Social Security card to the Benefits Office before your name can be changed in SMU systems. You must also provide a copy of your marriage license to your 403(b) investment company, or in the event of a divorce, a copy of the divorce decree or Qualified Domestic Relations Order.

Loss of Dependent Eligibility

At some point, dependent children will lose their eligibility for SMU benefits coverage due to age, student status, marriage, or full-time employment.

  • Coverage ends on the day the child no longer meets the SMU eligibility criteria, with the exception of loss of student status. In this case, the dependent child will retain coverage until the end of the month in which loss of student status occurred.
    • You must contact the Department of Human Resources immediately to arrange for cancellation of coverage for dependents who no longer meet the SMU eligibility criteria. Send an email to benefitsu@smu.edu prior to the date your dependent will become ineligible. Please include the date this will occur in your email.

  • Medical and dental coverage may be continued for up to 36 months under COBRA. However, COBRA coverage is quite expensive and it probably makes sense to look into purchasing an individual policy. You will find a link to the eHealthInsurance website by clicking on the COBRA link above. This website enables you to request premium quotes from different insurance companies for an individual medical policy.

  • If your child is a college student and loses dependent eligibility because he/she decides to take a semester off, and later reenrolls as a full-time student, you may reactivate his/her SMU coverage by contacting the Department of Human Resources within 31 days of his or her return to full-time student status.

Death of Spouse or Enrolled Dependent

Loss of a loved one is a sad reality that all of us must deal with at some point in our lives. There are several benefits-related issues that you should consider.

  • You will have to cancel your deceased dependent's coverage to avoid paying for coverage that is no longer needed.
    • Please send an email to benefitsu@smu.edu within 31 days of the date of your event. Please include the date of your event in your email.
  • Re-evaluate your insurance needs and make changes as appropriate.
    • Be sure to make any coverage changes and update your beneficiary designations for Basic and Supplemental Group Life and AD&D Insurance, as applicable.

Beneficiary Designations

You can update your 403(b) Retirement Plan beneficiary designations by signing in to your account at the Transamerica Retirement Solutions Website.  If you need assistance, please contact the Transamerica Customer Care Center at (800) 755-5801.

It is very important that you designate one or more beneficiaries for your Life Insurance. You will complete your designations via The Standard's Online Beneficiary Designation System. The Online Beneficiary Designation Guide will walk you through the process. You will need the Company Key: standardbendes. You will find helpful information in the Beneficiary Designation FAQ.

Tax Status

Review your tax withholding information and make any necessary changes via my.SMU.edu Self-Service. Please call the Payroll Office at extension 8-2073 if you have any questions.

Important: At times like this it is important that you take good care of yourself and your loved ones. Consider contacting SMU's Employee Assistance Program to speak with a counselor about how you and your family can best manage the transition following the death of someone close to you.