Faculty and staff with dependents: Do you have a child graduating from college, graduating from high school and not planning to enter college in the fall or taking more than one term off from full-time college? If so, that child will no longer qualify as a dependent for purposes of medical, dental and/or vision coverage. To ensure your child is not without coverage, contact Alaina Ericksen, (651) 962-6497, in the Benefits Office in the Human Resources Department.

Federal and state laws hold parents responsible for notifying the University of St. Thomas within 60 days of a “qualifying event.” For dependent children, qualifying events include attaining age 19, graduating from high school or college and not immediately continuing an education, or upon attaining age 25 even if the dependent is a full-time student. Note: Other events also require parents to take action, but this article addresses only the loss-of-dependent-status issue.

Within 14 days of notifying the Benefits Office of a child losing dependent status, COBRA papers that explain continuation rights will be mailed to the former dependent child. OptumHealth, UST’s COBRA administrator, will mail the paperwork to the last-known address. If there is an updated address, let the Benefits Office know.

Federal COBRA and state continuation laws allow children losing dependent status the opportunity to continue medical, dental and/or vision coverage for up to 36 months at their own cost. Failure to give the Benefits Office notice of a qualifying event within the 60-day time period allowed will result in the forfeiture of continuation rights for the child.

Note that there are a number of employee notification responsibilities. To learn more about other responsibilities go to the Human Resources Department’s COBRA web page or contact one of the Benefits Team members for a copy of the COBRA notice. This notice outlines various actions parents must take upon the occurrence of certain events

For more information call Ericksen, (651) 962-6497, Stephanie Monogue, (651) 962-6219, or Pete Ronza (651) 962-6521.