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Frequently Asked Questions

Eligible Employees

The term “eligible employee” includes only:
Full-time and part-time State employees who receive their compensation through means of a State warrant drawn upon the State Treasury. (For purposes of the HCRA and the DCRA, part-time employees may be excluded from participation by IRS rules. Part-time employees should consult their tax advisor before enrolling in the HCRA or the DCRA.) Members of the Legislature and the Lieutenant Governor during their term of office.

Exclusions - You are not eligible for coverage if you are classified on the State of Alabama’s records as an employee employed on a seasonal, temporary, intermittent, emergency or contract basis.

Eligible Dependents

Includes your spouse or any other person that you claim for Federal Income Tax purposes.

Open Enrollment

Annual Open Enrollment is held in November for coverages to be effective January 1 of each year. Open enrollment applies to eligible employees who wish to change coverages, add coverages, or delete coverages.

New Employees

New employees may enroll within 90 days of employment, with coverage effective the first day of the month following the receipt of the enrollment.

HCRA Deduction Amounts

The minimum acceptable HCRA deduction is $5.00 per family per pay period.
The maximum acceptable HCRA deduction is $106.25 when the Flex Board gives $50 sign up bonus.

New employees enrolling in the HCRA, after the plan year has started, must have a minimum contribution of $120 annually with the maximum contribution being $2,550 annually.

DCRA Deduction Amounts

The amount that can be set aside in a DCRA is determined by the Tax Code, as follows:

  • If single, head of household, or married filing a joint return, the minimum is $10.00 per month. The maximum is the smallest of $416 per month, the participant’s earned income, or the earned income of the participant’s spouse.
  • If married filing separately, the minimum is $5.00 and the maximum is $208 per month.
  • In the case of a spouse who is a full-time student at an educational institution or who is physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself, such spouse shall be deemed to have earned income of not less than $200 per month if the participant has one dependent, and $400 per month if the participant has two or more dependents.
  • New employees enrolling in the DCRA, after the plan year has started, must have a minimum contribution of $120 annually with the maximum contribution being $5,000 annually.

Status Changes

Once an employee enrolls, the election remains in effect until January 1of the following year (the Plan Year), under IRS regulations, unless the employee has a qualifying change in status. This means that you may not change your insurance coverage or participation except when you are permitted due to an eligible change in status or during Open Enrollment. The change in your election must be consistent with the change in your status.

Changes in status include:

  • Addition of dependent(s) through marriage, birth or adoption of a child, legal custody or placement for adoption;
  • Loss of dependent(s) through divorce, annulment, legal separation, death of a spouse or other dependent, or loss of legal custody;
  • Unpaid leave of absence for you or your spouse;
  • Dependent’s loss of coverage due to age or student’s status;
  • Change of residence or worksite of employee, spouse or dependent;
  • Compliance with Issuance of family relations judgment, decree or order (i.e. QMCSO);
  • Medicare or Medicaid entitlement of employee, spouse or dependent;
  • Taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act;
  • To make changes in IRC Section 401 (k) and 401 (m) elective and after-tax deferrals as permitted by those sections;
  • HIPAA Special Enrollment events;
  • Significant change in medical benefits or premiums.

If a qualifying change in status occurs, the employee must submit a Revoke Election Form certifying the status change. This form must be submitted to the Flexible Employees’ Benefits Board within 30 days of the event.

If you are not enrolled, but you want to enroll following a change in your status, complete the Salary Reduction Agreement, and send it to the Flexible Employees’ Benefits Board within 30 days of the event. Attach a letter explaining your status change.

Approved changes are effective the first of the month following receipt of the forms by the Flexible Employees’ Benefits Board.

Termination of Election

Your election to participate terminates on the earliest of the following dates:

  • On the last day of the month in which employment terminates. Employment is deemed terminated on the last day of active work. A terminated employee or an employee returning from a leave of absence without pay may reenroll upon return to active status.
  • When this plan is discontinued.
  • On the last day of the month for which contributions have been paid.
  • For the HCRA and the DCRA, on December 31 of each Plan Year.

HCRA Reimbursement Methods

There are 2 methods of reimbursement under the HCRA.

  • The Flexible Spending Card
    The Flexible Spending Card utilizes the Visa network. If you doctor, dentist or hospital accepts Visa as payment then you can “swipe” your copays and deductibles. You must save all receipts and validate by submitting receipts for purchases such as glasses and contacts. The IRS requires that BCBS validate each Flexible Spending Card transaction. If BCBS cannot substantiate a charge by reviewing your health claims file then they will send you correspondence asking for the receipt. You are required to provide receipts when you are asked. Failure to provide a receipt or provide a receipt in a timely manner will result in the deactivation of your Flexible Spending Card and the funds in your HCRA will not be available to you until you reimbursement the amount in question to your account. While this method is popular for reimbursement it is not for everybody.
  • The Manual method of reimbursement
    This method of reimbursement is mandatory if you are covered under a second insurance plan other than their State Employees’ Health Plan. You will attach your receipts for out-of-pocket expenses to a claim form that can be mailed or faxed to BCBS for reimbursement. This method allows the secondary insurance to pay and then you file any amount that is left over. This method is also used by employees who are saving their contribution amount for one particular procedure.

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