MetLife Advantages

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Benefits Manager

Metlife MotherChild

MetLife Advantages

By now most of us are aware that our life insurance company changed to MetLife during the last Open Enrollment, but are you aware that if you are enrolled in MetLife life insurance through Green River – as an eligible employee – you have access to free services for support, planning and protection when you need it most?

MetLife Advantages” is a comprehensive suite of valuable services that offers free product services to you and your family, such as will preparation and estate resolution services.

The services are offered by third-party vendors, but free for those enrolled in MetLife.*

Find out more about the program here, MetLife Advantages Program. Scroll down and click on the green “Sign in to MyBenefits” link.   (Note: you do not need to sign in –just click on the “Group Life Insurance” tab at the top of the page, then click on the “MetLife Advantages link).

*Note: some services require that you be enrolled in “supplemental” life insurance (more than just the employer-paid basic coverage) in order to utilize the particular resource.


Medical FSA and DCAP Reminders

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Benefits Manager

Discretionary Health Savings Account (HSA) Employee Contributions

Federal regulations do not allow dual enrollment in a CDHP/HSA and a medical FSA. Employees who change to a Consumer Directed Health Plan (CDHP) with an HSA for the upcoming year and had a medical FSA in the previous year must have a $0 balance in the FSA as of December 31 to receive the employer contribution and make discretionary employee contributions to the HSA.

In January, agencies were notified of employees who had changed to a CDHP/HSA during open enrollment and still had a medical FSA balance. We requested that any discretionary HSA deductions entered into the payroll system be removed until after the medical FSA grace period.

This is a reminder that beginning April 1 employers may activate the discretionary employee contribution to the HSA for these employees. In addition, at the end of April, the employee will receive the employer contribution to their HSA for January, February, March and April. Employees enrolled as a single subscriber will receive a deposit of $233.36 ($58.34 x 4 months) and employees enrolled with at least one family member on the account will receive a deposit of $466.68 ($116.67 x 4 months). If employees earned the $125 Wellness incentive during 2016, this will be included in the deposit at the end of April.

2016 Medical Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) and Dependent Care Assistance Program (DCAP) Claims Submission Deadline is March 31, 2017

The deadline to submit claims against your 2016 medical FSA and DCAP is March 31, 2017. All claims must be received by Navia Benefits Solutions no later than March 31, 2017.

Claims may be submitted online at or by completing the 2016 medical FSA and DCAP claim form. The form may be faxed (425-451-7002 or toll-free 1-866-535-9227); emailed (; or mailed (Navia Benefit Solutions, PO Box 53250, Bellevue, WA 98015-3250).

If Navia Benefit Solutions does not receive your claim by March 31, 2017, the medical FSA or DCAP account will be closed and any balance remaining will be forfeited to the plan administrator, the Health Care Authority. Once the money is forfeited, you will not be able to claim it.

If you would like to confirm the balance in your 2016 medical FSA or DCAP account, contact Navia Benefit Solutions at 1-800-669-3539 or 425-452-3500 or log into your account from their website (

Kaiser Permanente Acquisition is Complete

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordonkaiser-permanente
Kaiser Permanente’s acquisition of Group Health Cooperative became final February 1, and with that, Group Health is now part of the largest integrated health system in the nation. While Group Health will now be part of Kaiser Permanente, it’s important to remember:

  • The plan you’ve selected won’t change. Your premiums, benefits, and costs will stay the same in 2017. So will your member number.
  • You can keep your doctors. You and your family will continue to receive care from the doctors and care teams you count on.
  • You can still get care at the locations you visit now. The name on the buildings will change, but the same convenient clinics — with doctors’ offices, lab, pharmacy, and X-ray usually under one roof — will continue to serve you. The same goes for online services, including the mobile app, your electronic health record and secure messaging with your doctor.

Group Health members can expect to receive a letter from Kaiser Permanente in March with new ID cards (but with the same member number). Your existing Group Health card is still valid; continue to use it until you receive your new Kaiser card.

Sheryl F. Gordon
Benefits Manager
Extension 2600

PEBB Health Coverage Changes

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon, Benefits ManagerInsurance1095

The Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB) program is instituting several changes next year, beginning January 1, 2017. The changes will include:

  • New life insurance benefits and premiums
  • Medical plan benefits – including Telehealth or “virtual” office visits!
  • Uniform Medical Plan (UMP) Plus expanded into new counties
  • Medical plan premiums
  • Individual contribution amounts for health savings accounts (HSA)
  • Optional long-term disability (LTD) insurance premiums
  • PEBB Program rules and policies

Check out the following flyer to find out more details about the above changes:

PEBB Health Coverage Changes 2017

*And don’t forget that open enrollment for MetLife starts November 1, 2016.

MetLife and PEBB Life Insurance

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon

MetLife is the PEBB Program’s new life insurance carrier in 2017

The Health Care Authority (HCA) recently partnered with MetLife to provide increased life insurance benefits to eligible Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program members starting January 1, 2017.

Concurrent with the PEBB Program’s open enrollment, MetLife will hold a special, one-time open enrollment opportunity that will allow many PEBB Program subscribers to enroll in or increase their supplemental life insurance or supplemental accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance from November 1-30, 2016.

Some of the benefit changes for 2017 include:

  • Employer-paid, basic life insurance for employees will increase from $25,000 in 2016 to $35,000 in 2017. Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance will remain at $5,000. This increase is at no cost to the employee;
  • Many PEBB members will be able to enroll in or increase their amount of life insurance during MetLife’s Open Enrollment (up to $500,000) without health questions and/or medical exams;
  • Eligible employees can apply for amounts over $500,000 up to $1,000,000 with health questions and/or medical exams;
  • Also changes in supplemental life insurance options for children and for retirees.You will receive much more information in your PEBB Program “For Your Benefit” newsletter which PEBB will send out on September 13th to all PEBB Program members.

You will receive much more information in your PEBB Program “For Your Benefit” newsletter which PEBB will send out on September 13th to all PEBB Program members


Summary of Benefits and Coverage

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon



You call it your Summary of Benefits and Coverage!

Need to know what’s covered under your health plan and what services may not be, what’s included in your plan’s “out-of-pocket” limit, or what your overall deductible is?

You can find all that and more in your plan’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage. Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (SBC’s) are required under the federal Affordable Care Act to help plan members understand plan benefits and medical terms.

The PEBB Program and/or medical plans provide SBCs, or notice of how to get one, at different times throughout the year (like when you apply for coverage, renew your plan, or request an SBC). SBCs are available (upon request) in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, and Navajo.

You can find your Plan’s Summary of Benefits and Coverage here:

Summaries of Benefits and Coverage

Summaries of Benefits and Coverage aren’t the only useful tool when comparing plans; PEBB also offers a handy side-by-side Medical benefits comparison tool for researching your plan options.


Common Myths & Misconceptions about FMLA at Green River College

Posted on behalf of Sheryl Gordon



Myth #1 – FMLA (Family & Medical Leave) is a separate “paid” leave.FMLA2

  • No, FMLA is unpaid leave; FMLA is a “designation” not a leave type. When approved, FMLA provides up to 480 hours or about three (3) months of job-protected (unpaid) leave, but employees must use their own appropriate leave type in order to continue being paid while out on FMLA. Shared leave may also be an option.

Myth #2 – The employer can’t ask for any medical information.

  • Wrong – FMLA regulations allow employers to get sufficient proof of the medical need in order to be able to make an FMLA determination.

Myth #3 – It’s okay for me to talk about my coworker’s FMLA or email details about the medical condition to my fellow employees.

  • So wrong – Employees who go on medical leave are protected by confidentiality laws to prevent the nature of their or their families’ medical condition from being disclosed.  You should not convey specifics of other employees’ (or their families’) medical conditions to others at work, even if the affected employee is disclosing the information to others at work. It is not okay to use Green River College email or any other college resources to pass along confidential medical information.

Myth #4 – My coworker shared with me that she is on approved FMLA leave for a serious medical condition, but I saw her shopping at Costco yesterday. Isn’t that a violation or abuse of FMLA?

  • There is no “stay-at-home” policy associated with the receipt of leave benefits at Green River. The answer to this question is going to depend on whether the employee is unable to do her job, but capable of stopping at a store and running an errand. In other words are her actions inconsistent with the medical reason she took FMLA, and only the employee’s doctor can determine what her limitations or restrictions are.

Myth #5 – My supervisor can decide that it’s too much of a hardship on our department for me to be gone, and the college can deny my FMLA request for leave.

  • Wrong – Under the FMLA you cannot be denied FMLA leave if
    • (1) you are an eligible employee
    • (2) of a covered employer
    • (3) requesting leave for a reason covered by FMLA
    • (4) you have provided sufficient information for your employer to determine that you have made a request for medical leave that is covered by FMLA
    • (5) the request has been made thirty days prior to the required leave (or as soon as reasonably possible if thirty days’ notice cannot be provided) and
    • (6) you have not already exhausted your protected leave for the current FMLA period.

Myth #6 – Holidays don’t count towards my FMLA (480-hour) entitlement while I’m gone on approved leave.

  • Wrong –if you’re gone an entire week during which a holiday falls, the holiday counts as part of your FMLA 480-hour designation. If you worked part of that week, the holiday will not count towards your 480-hour FMLA entitlement.


Myth #7 – I can use FMLA just to spend time with my eligible family member when she/he is sick:

  • Wrong – FMLA to care for a family member means that your presence is required to care for your family member. In the medical certification, your doctor must specify what care you are providing to your family member and why your absence to perform that care is necessary during your working hours.

Myth #8 – I can take FMLA to care for my elderly grandparents.

  • In most cases, no. The FMLA does not recognize grandparents as immediate family members for FMLA purposes and Green River’s FMLA policy does not include them either. Unless your grandparent acted in loco parentis (had legal responsibility to take on some of the functions of a parent), they will not be considered a family member for FMLA purposes.

Myth #9 – I just use my FMLA “intermittently” and so I don’t need to let my supervisor know when I’m going to be gone.

  • Wrong – Unless your supervisor has agreed otherwise, you must follow the appropriate sick leave notification process each day during “intermittent” FMLA use and report your absence to your supervisor. You should never include any medical facts or describe physical events; just specify you will be out for FMLA approved reasons.

Myth #10 – I was approved for FMLA to care for my seriously ill family member who passed away. My FMLA will continue throughout my “grieving” period.

  • No, even though the employee will experience a period of grieving unless there is a qualifying event that makes the employee eligible for FMLA, the “Care for a Family Member” FMLA ends with the passing of the relative. The employee may be eligible for several days of paid bereavement leave however.


You can read more about FMLA at Green River College in our Policy HR 13 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and at