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Benefits Cafeteria Plan For State of Florida Employees and Retirees

Simply defined, a cafeteria plan is a program employers can use to offer a variety of benefits (like options on a cafeteria menu) to employees who use pretax payroll dollars to pay for the benefits they select. Employees have more take-home pay, and employers save FICA taxes.

Cafeteria plans have specific enrollment requirements under the Internal Revenue Code that employees must follow in exchange for pretax savings. Choose your plans carefully. Once enrolled, you must remain in the selected plans unless you have a qualifying status change (QSC) event during the year.

Getting married or divorced? Having a baby or adopting? Is your spouse changing jobs? For many major life QSC events, you may be allowed to enroll in or cancel your insurance coverage within 60 days of the life event. If you miss the 60-day window, you must wait until you experience another life event or until the next open enrollment to make a change.

Cafeteria plans also have specific dependent eligibility requirements. For example, you can enroll your legal spouse but not your domestic partner or fiancé(e). You can also enroll your children, legally adopted children, and legally appointed foster children. To cover stepchildren, you must be married to their parent. To cover grandchildren over the age of 18 months, nieces, nephews, and other children, you must be the legally appointed guardian.

If dependent eligibility changes, you must notify People First within 60 days of the change. For example, if you and your spouse divorce, you must send a copy of the divorce decree to People First within 60 days of the divorce. By following this timeline, you will not have to repay the state for claims an ineligible dependent incurred or pay COBRA premiums to cover that ineligible dependent. If you’re in the spouse program, you won’t have to pay back premiums for underpaid months (up to $165 per month). Enjoy the pretax benefits of a cafeteria plan, but make sure you understand your responsibilities. Visit or call People First to learn about your options.

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