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When can I add dependents to my plan and what is a Qualifying Event?

If enrolled in a group sponsored insurance plan you may hear your HR or benefits department say that you need to have a qualifying event to make changes to your plan, including adding or removing a spouse or child(ren) from your plan.

Qualifying events can include:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • Birth
  • Death
  • Change in insurance status (loss of coverage under a spouse, for example)
  • Change in job status (moving part time to full time, for example)

When a qualifying event (QE) occurs, your have 30 days to notify your employer and make necessary changes to your plan.

The need to have a QE to make changes to your plan stems from how premiums are withheld from your paycheck. Many employers utilize a Premium Only Plan (POP)/Section 125 plan to withhold premiums. A Section 125 plan helps to lower the employee’s taxable income but comes with some restrictions, the need for QE’s in order to make plan changes is one of those restrictions.


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