Benefits eligibility and enrollment

Benefit earning employees

Benefit-eligible employees are those employees who work full- or part-time in a regular or limited duration position and whose standard hours are at least 20 hours per week.

Some temporary positions also provide benefits, including limited duration appointments that exceed six months and have standard hours of 20 or more per week; and grant, trainee, and unclassified positions that are defined to include benefits.

Some benefits for part-time employees are pro-rated based on the number of hours worked.

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance is offered to limited duration appointments that are 6 months or less and have standard hours of 30 or more per week.

Benefit earning employees may participate in

  • Health insurance 
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Short term disability insurance*
  • Long term disability insurance*
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Health care savings plan
  • Deferred compensation
  • Bus card program
  • Employee assistance program
  • MERSC
  • Minnesota Benefits Association
  • PERA
  • HealthWorks

*Employees must have standard hours of 30 or more per week to be eligible for short- and long-term disability benefits. Trainee positions are excluded from short and long term disability benefits.

Non-benefit earning employees may participate in

  • Deferred compensation (as long as check is large enough for the deduction to be taken)
  • Bus card program (depends on employee status)
  • Employee assistance program
  • MERSC
  • Minnesota Benefits Association
  • PERA (mandatory when employee earns more than $5,100 in any calendar year)
  • HealthWorks
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When your insurance takes effect

Health, dental, vision, life and disability insurance start the first of the month after your first day of work or after the first day you start earning benefits. For example, if your first day of work is February 15, your insurance starts March 1. Flexible spending accounts start the date you sign up for them.

If your hours decrease

If your hours decrease to below 30 standard hours per week

You are no longer eligible for short and/or long term disability insurance and cannot continue coverage at your own expense. You may still qualify for a monthly disability benefit if your disability began while covered by the plan.

If your hours decrease to below 20 standard hours per week

You may need to make changes to continue some benefits and you will lose access to others.

Impact on health, dental, vision, and life insurance

Under federal law (known as COBRA) and Minnesota state law, you have the right to continue health, dental, vision, and/or life insurance through the county’s group insurance program. You will receive continuation material from 121 Benefits, the county’s COBRA administrator. You need to respond to the offer from 121 Benefits to continue these benefits for up to 18 months at your own expense. Learn more about COBRA.

Impact on long- and short-term disability insurance

You are no longer eligible for short and/or long term disability insurance and cannot continue coverage at your own expense. You may still qualify for a monthly disability benefit if your disability began while covered by the plan.

Impact on your commuting and flexible spending accounts

  • MetroPass, Go-To cards, parking, and van pool programs: You may continue to participate.
  • Dependent care assistance: You may no longer participate in this program. If you are enrolled in this program, any expenses incurred prior to your benefit termination date may continue to be submitted to the plan through the end of the calendar year if you are working, looking for work, or attending school on a full-time basis.
  • Health care expense account: You may no longer participate in this program. If you are enrolled, your contributions will stop on the date your work hours were reduced. You may request reimbursement for claims incurred before the date your work hours were reduced, up to the end of the plan year. Claims incurred after this date are not eligible for reimbursement unless you submit a check on a biweekly basis for remainder of the year.

Impact on retirement savings

  • You may continue to contribute to your deferred compensation plan(s). Remember — you may adjust the amount of your contribution(s) through APEX.
  • You may continue to contribute a percentage to Public Employees Retirement Association.
  • If you qualify and are enrolled in the 1% Supplemental Retirement plan, you will continue to contribute 1% of your salary.

Impact on time off and pay

  • Holiday pay: you are not eligible to receive holiday pay. If you have deferred holiday time accrued, you may use it subject to your department’s policy.
  • Paid vacation, sick leave and paid time off (PTO): accrual of these hours stops on the day your standard hours decrease to less than 20 hours per week. Any unused leave balances you have at the time you change work hours are available for you to use, subject to vacation/sick leave and PTO policies.
  • Stability pay: you are not eligible to receive stability pay.
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