When Can You Enroll in or Change Health Plans?


Times when you can enroll in or make changes to your medical, dental, and vision coverage elections fall into 3 categories:

1. Enrolling at Retirement

At retirement, you may choose to continue your medical plan coverage through an ACERA-sponsored plan. You can cover yourself and your eligible dependents, if they were covered under a medical plan prior to your retirement date. You must make this election within 30 days of your retirement date. If you decline coverage, you cannot enroll in an ACERA-Sponsored plan until open enrollment. Enrollment forms for medical, dental, and vision coverage are included in your retirement application package.

A retirement specialist will review your options with you prior to retirement during your ready-to-retire counseling session. If you’re not going to attend a counseling session, you can call ACERA and ask for the healthcare unit for help with enrollment.

2. Enrolling During Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is your annual opportunity to consider your benefit needs and options and to make changes, if needed. You can change plans and add or drop coverage for you and/or your eligible dependents.

Open Enrollment Periods and Plan Years

Healthcare Plans Open Enrollment Period Plan Year
  • Kaiser Permanente HMO California
  • Kaiser Permanente Senior Advantage California (Medicare)
  • UnitedHealthcare SignatureValue HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare SignatureValue Advantage HMO
  • Delta Dental
  • Vision Service Plan (VSP)
Nov 1 – Nov 30 The following
Feb 1 – Jan 31
  • Via Benefits Non-Medicare Plans
Nov 1 – Dec 15 The following
Jan 1 – Dec 31
  • Via Benefits Medicare Plans
Oct 15 – Dec 7 The following
Jan 1 – Dec 31

3. Enrolling or Making Plan Changes Outside of Open Enrollment

In general, you cannot change your benefit elections or add dependent coverage outside of ACERA’s annual open enrollment period, unless you experience a status change event or special enrollment event.

Status Change Events (Qualifying Events)

  • Marriage or divorce, or commencement or termination of a domestic partnership (Affidavit of Domestic Partnership required)
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Death of a dependent
  • Loss of a child’s eligibility for dependent coverage (e.g., child marries or reaches the maximum age for coverage)
  • Need to cover a child due to a Qualified Medical Child Support Order (QMCSO)
  • Change in retiree/spouse/dependent’s employment status, work schedule, or residence that affects their eligibility for benefits (e.g., moving your residence outside of your medical plan’s service area)
  • Entitlement or loss of entitlement to Medicare or Medi‑Cal/Medicaid or SCHIP coverage (you have 60 days to make a change with this one)
  • Certain changes in the cost of coverage, composition of coverage or curtailment of coverage of the retiree or spouse’s plan
  • Changes consistent with special enrollment rights and FMLA leaves

You need to notify ACERA in writing within 30 days of a status change event. ACERA will determine if your change request is permitted. If so, changes become effective on the first day of the month following the event date.

Cancelling Coverage 

You may cancel medical plan coverage at any time during the year, for any reason. Plan coverage is cancelled automatically if you or your enrolled dependents no longer meet the plan’s enrollment eligibility criteria. If coverage is cancelled, you will be allowed to continue coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). If you cancel your medical plan coverage, you cannot re-enroll yourself or your eligible dependents in an ACERA-sponsored plan until the next open enrollment period.

Requesting Cancellation of Coverage 

You need to request your coverage cancellation in writing to ACERA. Your written request should specify which plan you want to cancel and for whom you are cancelling coverage (i.e., yourself and/or your dependents). Typically, the effective date of cancellation is on the first of the month following ACERA’s receipt of your written cancellation request. However, if ACERA receives the request after its monthly payroll close date, cancellation will be effective the second month following your written notification. There is no retroactive cancellation of coverage.