Trees bloom outside the County`s Administrative Complex on 9th Street
Trees bloom outside the County`s Administrative Complex on 9th Street
County Home => Human Resources => Benefits => Benefits FAQs

Employee FAQs

  stethoscope  Employee FAQs

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985 mandates that employers that have with 20 or more employees and offer health coverage continue to offer employees benefits when they quit, are laid off or fired or have their work hours reduced. Additionally, benefits must be offered to the employee’s spouse and dependents. COBRA benefits apply to health care plans, dental plans, vision plans, prescription drug plans, etc. Benefits may continue for up to 18, 24, 29 or 36 months, depending on the cause for the loss of benefits.

If you are separating service with the County you will most likely be entitled to 18 months of continued coverage.
CDS Group Health administers our COBRA program for participants in the PPO and the HMO plans.
Your current health insurance coverage ends on your last day of work.
Terminated employees and their dependents (qualified beneficiaries) will be provided an election notice within 14 days of their termination date.
The initial premium payment must be made within 45 days after the date of the COBRA election (This is the date the Election Notice is post-marked, if mailed.) Payments must cover the period of coverage from the date of COBRA election retroactive to the date of the loss of coverage. Qualified Beneficiaries have 60 days beyond the date they receive their election notice to sign up for their health care coverage.
The COBRA continued health insurance begins following the date that the health coverage is terminated. The insurance is not activated until payment is received.
The rates effective July 1, 2013 are listed on the Medical- Dental Vision Webpage.

Normally, each qualified beneficiary may be required to pay the entire cost of continuation coverage. The amount a qualified beneficiary may be required to pay may not exceed 102 percent (or, in the case of an extension of continuation coverage due to a disability, 150 percent) of the cost to the group health plan (including both employer and employee contributions).
You will be notified by CDS Group Health on the process utilized to continue your health insurance program. After you make your first payment for continuation coverage, you will be required to make periodic payments for each subsequent coverage period. The periodic payments can be made on a monthly basis. Under the Plan, each of these periodic payments for continuation coverage is due on the 1st of the month for that coverage period. If you make a periodic payment on or before the first day of the coverage period to which it applies, your coverage under the Plan will continue for that coverage period without any break. The Plan will not send periodic notices of payments due for these coverage periods.
The contact person handling COBRA claims at CDS is Heather Woupio. (352-6906 or
Both the 457 and 401(a) plans are voluntary retirement plans that employees may utilize. Neither plan offers a matching contribution which means each plan is funded solely from employee contributions. The 457 plan has maintained a strong participation rate of nearly 70% for several years. The 401(a) plan is a supplemental plan and has limited enrollment opportunities which make it appealing for a smaller number of employees.
In accordance with NRS 287.440, the Board of County Commissioners established a Washoe County Deferred Compensation Committee in 1979 to administer the 457 plan. The powers of the Deferred Compensation Committee as established by NRS and conferred upon the Committee as approved by the Board include collecting deferred compensation, transmitting to depositories within the State, payment of deferred compensation to participants and contracting with a private entity for services necessary to the administration of the plan.
The Deferred Compensation Committee has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of participants with respect to plan administrators, fund offerings, account management, plan review for compliance, best practices and competitiveness, and is responsible for plan revisions and other necessary actions to meet those responsibilities.
On May 13, 2003, the Board of County Commissioners approved the current resolution regarding the Committee on Deferred Compensation Programs offered to Washoe County Employees under 26 U.S.C. § 401(a) and § 457. This resolution defines the six (6) voting members of the Committee and the group from which they are appointed, including who makes the appointment. Current Committee Members are as follows:

• Two (2) members are appointed by the WCEA Executive Board Darrell Craig, Committee Chairman Scottie Wallace, Committee Member

• One (1) member is appointed by the County Manager from the confidential/exempt/ management groups of employees Cynthia Washburn, Committee Secretary/Treasurer

• One (1) member is appointed by the President of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Deputies Association, such appointment to be from that Association or the Washoe County Sheriff’s Supervisory Deputies Association Scott Thomas, Committee Member

• One (1) member is appointed by the President of the Washoe County District Attorney Investigators’ Association from that Association Stephanie Shuman, Committee Member

• One (1) member is appointed by the Chief Administrative Judge of the Second Judicial District Court from the Judicial/Probation/Other Court or District Attorney groups Cindy Fladager, Committee Vice-Chair
The Committee has conducted record-keeper and administrator searches in 2005, 2010 and will once again conduct a provider search in 2015. During these search projects the Committee has not found any compelling evidence that there are any advantages for our employees in adding a second provider. A single provider also minimizes confusion for plan participants and creates pricing advantages due to the economies of scale that are created.
The Committee adopted a written Statement of Investment Policies and Guidelines at their August 12, 2004 meeting. This Statement establishes criteria for funds offered within the 457 and 401(a) plans as well as the criteria for eliminating investment options. The policy is reviewed annually and assists in meeting the fiduciary responsibility of the Committee to act in the best interest of all plan participants. As stated in the guidelines, “the Committee will evaluate fund performance at least annually. Performance results will be evaluated using comparisons with the guidelines, pertinent market indices and appropriate peer groups of managers. When necessary, fund performance will be reviewed more frequently.” Evaluation is focused on long-term performance, though interim qualitative factors may influence a decision to add or remove a fund.
Enrollment periods are established by Federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Codes. For the 457 plan, eligible employees can enroll at any time. For the 401(a) plan, employees are eligible to participate after one (1) year of employment with the County and then have a 90 day window in which to enroll. After the 90 day period ends, the employee is not eligible to enroll in the 401(a) plan for the remainder of his/her employment with Washoe County.
The Roth Provision was added to the 457 Deferred Compensation program in May 2011. This feature enables you to contribute after-tax money from your paycheck to your 457 retirement plan account. The Roth option offers alternative tax benefits. Unlike traditional before-tax contributions, the Roth feature lets you save and invest with after-tax dollars. Because Roth contributions have already been taxed, Roth contributions and earnings can grow tax free.
Participants are eligible to take loans from the deferred compensation plans. The minimum loan amount is $1,000 and the minimum loan term is 12 months. For more information contact MassMutual at 800-255-2464.
Participants in the 457 plan may elect to have any portion of their account balance transferred to a defined benefit governmental plan (PERS) at any time during their employment. However, 401(a) dollars cannot be used to purchase service credits while still actively employed. For more information on purchasing “time” go to the PERS website at and contact MassMutual at 800-255-2464 to request the form to transfer the funds.
You can start your retirement savings with as little as $10 per pay period, so starting sooner rather than later is easy. You can start or stop your contributions to the 457 at any time.
Contact your local MassMutual Account Representative at 855-553-2177. You should also set up a personal account on the MassMutual website to view information on your investments and have access to educational tools:
This supplement benefit works in conjunction with the HMO Plan and is provided only to HMO participants. The GAP was added as a result of health insurance negotiations to offset plan design changes that helped the County meet budget needs in FY 2010/2011. The cost of the GAP Plan is covered by the County for all employees and retirees, and is available on a voluntary basis for dependents.
If your dependents are covered under your HMO, you may also purchase GAP coverage for them. You may enroll dependents during the annual Open Enrollment period (mid-May through mid-June for a July 1 effective date) by meeting with an American Fidelity representative, or anytime during the year with a qualifying event. Rates can be found on the Human Resources website and premiums are collected pre-tax through payroll deduction. To enroll your dependents outside of the Open Enrollment period (with a qualifying event), contact American Fidelity at 829-1313.
Just as with your health plans, dependents can only be dropped during Open Enrollment or with a qualifying event. To delete a dependent, you must contact American Fidelity directly. Dependent GAP coverage is privately purchased insurance and it is the responsibility of the employee to maintain the integrity of that policy. Calling Health Benefits to delete a dependent from your health insurance plan will not automatically delete them from your GAP Plan.
A list of qualifying events can be found under the “Eligibility Quick Reference” link on the Medical-Dental-Vision page of the Human Resources website:
The GAP is administered by American Fidelity Assurance (AFA) who also administers our Flexible Spending and Health Savings Accounts.
The following out-of-pocket expenses are covered:

Maximum In-Hospital Benefit: • Up to $1,000 per hospital confinement

Maximum Out-patient Benefit: • Treatment in a hospital emergency room • Out-patient surgery in a hospital out-patient facility or free-standing out-patient surgery center • Diagnostic testing in a hospital out-patient facility or MRI facility • Up to $200 for treatment of the same or related conditions unless separated by a period of 90 consecutive days (then a new out-patient benefit will be payable)

Physician Out-patient Treatment Benefit: • Treatment in a hospital out-patient clinic, free-standing emergency care clinic or physician’s office • Up to $25 per treatment; $125 maximum per family per calendar year (non-routine care excluded)
Forms are available on the Employee Benefit Forms page of the Human Resources website: Forms can also be obtained from your department’s Human Resources representative.

Please note that the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act does require that information submitted on this claim form is protected and only disclosed as necessary to process your claim. Employers, plan sponsors and providers are subject to ensuring that your data is private and secure.
In the upper right hand corner of the reimbursement form, there is a place to enter an account number, although account numbers are not assigned until after the first claim is received. This field should be left blank on the first claim submission.
Dr. Office Visit: • A copy of the bill, OR • An EOB (Explanation of Benefits), OR • Office notes

Note: Routine care is not reimbursable under the GAP Plan.

Out-Patient Hospital: • A copy of the hospital bill

In-Patient Hospital: • A copy of the EOB • A copy of the hospital bill

Note: There is no limit to the number of hospitalization benefits payable. Each hospitalization benefit is payable on its own. There is a limit for the out-patient benefit if the treatment is for the same condition within a 90-day period.
Sign up for “My Hometown Benefits” at to view all of your claims and print EOBs.
Claims can be sent to American Fidelity by fax or by mail. The advantage to a fax is that it is a faster delivery. A follow up phone call is not required but is welcome to ensure your claim has been received. If faxing, please allow 48 hours for the system to process the fax.

American Fidelity Assurance Company Medical/Supplement Department Attn: Benefits Division P O Box 25160 Oklahoma City, OK 73125-0160 Fax: 1-800-818-3453
To follow up on a fax (after 48 hours to allow processing time): 1-800-662-1113 For any other plan or claim questions, contact the local American Fidelity office at 829-1313.
Employees can visit and request an online account once they have submitted their first claim. This is a very useful tool for reviewing flex plans and any outstanding claims, and we encourage all GAP participants to avail themselves of this convenient resource.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s) are another option when it comes to conventional health insurance. It is a tax-free savings account that gives you the power to decide how to pay for your medical care. You can pay for qualified medical expenses now or save for future medical expenses—all while earning interest on your money! Tax-free withdrawals can be made by the employee to pay for qualified medical expenses incurred by the employee, spouse, children or other dependents.
In order to obtain an HSA, you must have a qualifying High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). An HDHP has a lower premium than conventional health plans, but has a high deductible that must be reached before the plan starts paying. Prescription drugs must be paid at contract price until the deductible is met. HSA’s help pay for the medical expenses not covered by your HDHP— tax- free.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA’s) allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars to an account managed by your employer. This money can be used for health care spending, but anything left over at the end of the year is forfeited.

HSA’s allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars into an account that is owned and managed by you, the employee. The money is used for health care expenses, but unlike an FSA, the unspent amount can remain in the account year after year and is stays with you in the event you terminate from your employer.
Yes. In order to qualify for an HSA, the IRS dictates that the employee must be enrolled in a qualified HDHP. IRS regulations for 2014 require the HDHP to have a minimum deductible of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for families. The premium for an HDHP generally costs less than a traditional health care plan, so the money that you save can be put in your HSA. You own and control the money in your HSA and decisions on how to spend the money are made by you.
You will need to consider your options carefully, and we encourage you to attend one of the many HSA training sessions that will be held throughout the Open Enrollment period.
Although it is not a requirement, Washoe County has agreed to fund 70% of the $2,500 annual calendar year HDHP deductible ($1,750) in FY 14/15 to help encourage participation. This will be a pro-rated amount that will be contributed each pay period ($67.31). This becomes your money and you may keep any County contributions when you change jobs or retire.
The IRS has set contribution limits of $3,300 for individuals and $6,550 for families for 2014. The County’s HSA will be administered by American Fidelity, and employees can make pre-tax payroll deductions every pay period. The following are the HDHP employee/employer (EE/ER) contribution limits for FY 2014/15:

EE/ER total contribution cannot exceed $3,300 per plan year:

ER limit = $1,750

EE limit = $1,550

If EE is 55 years or older they can contribute an additional 1,000 per plan year:

ER limit = $1,750

EE limit = $2,550

If EE plus family, EE/ER limit cannot exceed $6,550 per plan year:

ER limit= $1,750

EE limit = $4,800

If EE plus family and EE is 55 or older, they can contribute an additional 1,000 per plan year:

ER limit = $1,750

EE limit = $5,800
You are not required to contribute to the HSA; however; it is a good way to save pre-tax dollars for medical expenses incurred in the future. You can change/stop your contribution as often as you like via the Life and Work Events Tab in ESS.
CDS Group Health is the claims administrator for the self-funded HDHP. You can go to their secure website to review your claim status and other information:
Yes, the plans utilize the same network of providers and hospitals You will still receive contract pricing from contracts in place with our prescription benefit provider, network of doctors and other providers, and ancillary services.
We are able to credit participants in the current self-funded PPO plan with deductible amounts satisfied prior to July 1; therefore any deductible met in 2014 will apply to the HDHP enrollment for July 1, 2014.
Since you are covered as individual employees by Washoe County you will have a separate $2,500 annual deductible if both enroll in the HSA/HDHP. It may be more cost effective for one spouse to enroll in the HSA/HDHP with the $2,500 deductible (include other eligible dependents if applicable) and the other spouse to enroll in the current PPO plan. Monies from the employee with the HSA account can be used for out-of pocket medical expenses for family members regardless of whether or not they are on the same health plan.
Participants in the self-funded PPO plan will receive credit for OOP dollars satisfied prior to July for 2014. In the example above, you would only need to meet the remaining $2,000 OOP maximum.
Yes. All employees, regardless of which medical plan they are enrolled in, participate in the same self-funded dental and vision insurance plans. You can pay for your portion of dental (other than cosmetic) and vision services from your HSA or your limited purpose FSA.
This type of plan still allows you to participate in an HSA, and simply limits your FSA reimbursements to dental and vision expenses only.
You will need to spend all your FSA money by June 30, 2012 in order to contribute and have contributions made to your HSA account. While you can still enroll in a limited purpose FSA if you are participating in the HSA/HDHP, that FSA is for vision and dental expenses only. You will still be able to have a dependent reimbursement account.
No, the IRS does not allow you to have an HSA if your spouse’s FSA or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) can pay for any of your medical expenses before your HDHP deductible is met.
In 2010, Health Care Reform Law extended health plan eligibility to children of the covered employee until the child turns 26 years of age, so you can cover your 25 year-old on your HDHP medical plan. However, the HSA is subject to IRS rules and guidelines, and since their definition of dependent is “up to age 24 if a full-time student,” you are not able to use your HSA funds to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses for that dependent, even though they may be covered on your HDHP for medical expenses.
No. At this time, the HSA/HDHP option is for active County employees only. Upon retirement, you will need to convert to one of the other health plans offered through the County’s Retirement Health Benefits Program, or procure your own private insurance.
No. At this time, the HSA/HDHP option is for active County employees only. Upon retirement, you will need to convert to one of the other health plans offered through the County’s Retirement Health Benefits Program, or procure your own private insurance.
You will be. While the County will deposit any pre-tax payroll deductions you decide to contribute, and American Fidelity is the custodian, it is your responsibility to keep track of your deposits and expenditures and keep all of your receipts (necessary if the IRS audits you). It is also your responsibility to adhere to the regulations governing HSA’s and payment of qualified medical expenses. American Fidelity does allow the option to scan receipts into their system and will save them for you should you ever be audited.
American Fidelity uses First Fidelity Bank, N.A. which has had FDIC insurance since July 1, 1981.
If you try to use your debit card for an expense that exceeds the available balance, your card will simply be declined at the time of purchase.
American Fidelity will send you a debit card to pay for your qualifying expenses. Funds are also accessible through an online payment request or by completing a payment request form.
The monthly account maintenance fee is $2 per month; however, Washoe County is paying the maintenance costs for employees in FY 12/13.
The expenditure will be taxed, and for individuals who are not disabled or over age 65, subject to a 10% tax penalty. It is your responsibility to report this information on your income taxes.
You are responsible for that decision, and therefore should familiarize yourself with what qualified medical expenses are (at least as partially defined in IRS publication 502). Also, keep your receipts in case you need to defend your expenditures or decisions during an audit.
Yes. The unused balance in an HSA automatically rolls over year after year.
Yes, if the expenses are qualified medical expenses.
In most cases, no. You can only use your HSA to pay health insurance premiums if you are collecting federal or state unemployment benefits, or if you have COBRA continuation coverage through a former employer.
Yes, if you have tax-qualified long-term care insurance. However, the amount considered a qualified medical expense depends on your age. See IRS Publication 502 for the amounts deductible by age.
You can continue to use your account tax-free for out-of-pocket health expenses. When you enroll in Medicare, you can use your account to pay Medicare premiums, deductibles, co-pays and coinsurance under any part of Medicare. If you have retiree health benefits through your former employer, you can also use your account to pay for your share of retiree medical insurance premiums. The one expense you cannot use your account for is to purchase Medicare supplemental insurance.
No. However, you are allowed to make a one-time transfer from an IRA to an HSA. You are also allowed to rollover funds from an Archer MSA or an existing HSA to a new HSA. We recommend that you seek advice from a financial expert before making any transfers or rollovers.
Yes, as long as you have not obtained services from these clinics/facilities within 90 days of establishing the HSA, then you are eligible to participate in the HSA. This ruling was issued through a recent clarification from the U.S. Treasury Department.
The County provides $20,000 of life and accidental death & dismemberment insurance for all benefited-employees, as well as a $1,000 benefit for those beneficiaries who are covered under your health insurance plan. The $20,000 benefit does drop to $13,000 at age 65, and once again to $7,000 at age 70.
The County provides this benefit for as long as you are covered under one of our health insurance plans.
The County provides a $1,000 of life insurance for dependents who are carried on the participant’s health insurance plan. In the event a dependent dies while on the participant’s insurance, the participant would receive $1,000 in life insurance.
You can name anyone as your beneficiary, regardless of your relationship. However, if you name a minor, the life insurance company will typically place the benefit in a Trust until that minor turns 18 years of age.
Yes. You may name as many primary beneficiaries as you want, as long as you indicate the desired percentage of distribution. For example, if you name two children, you may want to show that each of them is entitled to 50% of the benefit. You may also list contingent beneficiaries as well.
Your contingent beneficiary comes into play only in the event that the primary beneficiary has predeceased them.
No, not unless they are eligible to enroll onto the retiree insurance. In that case, they would have the $1,000 life insurance benefit for as long as they remain on the plan.
Additional life insurance may be purchased through Western Insurance Specialties and the premiums are deducted every pay period on a post-tax basis. Please contact Western Insurance Specialties at 775-826-2333 for more information and monthly rates.
Washoe County Employee Benefits is located within the Human Resources Department at the County Administration Complex, 1001 East Ninth Street, Building A, Room A220, and the contact information for the benefits team is as follows:

• Kristie Harmon, Benefits Specialist, 775-328-2079,

• Sue Sabourin, Benefits Manager, 775-328-2088,
Coverage becomes effective on the 91st day of continuous full-time or permanent part-time employment. You must complete an Enrollment Form within 31 days of your effective date. If the Enrollment Form is not completed on a timely basis, you will be enrolled with employee-only coverage in the Self-funded PPO medical plan as of your effective date and will not be allowed to change plans or add dependents until the ensuing Open Enrollment period.
Every year, mid-May through mid-June, the County holds an Open Enrollment period during which time you can make any changes to your health insurance plan without qualifying event restrictions. This is the perfect opportunity to review all your health insurance options to make sure you and your family are appropriately covered.
Washoe County pays 100% of the employee premium; however, you should refer to your specific collective bargaining unit as they may have negotiated separate employee contributions to the health fund. Through collective bargaining, the County has also agreed to pay 50% of the enrolled dependent’s premium. Employees are responsible for the remaining premium for their enrolled dependents.
Current insurance rates can be found under the Benefits section on the Medical-Dental-Vision webpage
You must complete a new enrollment form in its entirety, as it replaces all previous forms, and return it to Human Resources along with any applicable documentation.

Under the new Health Care Reform Bill, you may cover your child/children to age 26. They do not have to be a full-time student, living with you, and/or dependent upon your financial support.

If you are adding a domestic partner, you must do so within 31 days of filing the declaration of domestic partnership, or during the annual Open Enrollment period.

You may add your new baby within 31 days of the birth by submitting a new Enrollment Form and a copy of the live birth confirmation to Human Resources.

Please see the “Quick Reference Sheet” (link below) for more information on adding or deleting dependents.
As a result of the Health Care Reform Act, dependent children may now continue on your health insurance until age 26.
Yes, this is considered a “qualifying event” and they must be added within 31 days of the loss of coverage. You must also submit an updated Enrollment Form to Human Resources along with documentation from the previous insurance company that indicates their last day of coverage.
Yes, this is considered a “qualifying event” and the employee must remove the dependent(s) within 31 days of the effective date of the new insurance. An employee must submit an updated Enrollment Form and documentation from the spouse’s new employer or insurance company that indicates the effective date of his/her coverage to Human Resources.
You may change health plans for any reason during the annual Open Enrollment period by logging onto ESS and completing the online enrollment process.
The out-of-pocket maximum is based on a calendar year; however, plan design changes are effective at the beginning of the fiscal year (July 1, 2011). In the case where an individual on the PPO Plan has met the existing $1,500 maximum (by June 30, 2011), they would be responsible for paying 20% of new charges up to another $1,500 before the insurance would pay 100% of covered charges.

Note: The out-of-pocket maximum does not include your deductible or co-payments.
With the introduction of online Open Enrollment in FY 12/13, you must now review and certify your existing benefits via ESS even if you are not making any changes. You are strongly encouraged to attend one of the annual Open Enrollment meetings or review the Open Enrollment information posted on the website to be sure you understand any changes occurring at the beginning of each new fiscal year (July 1).
If you are on the Self-funded Plan, go to Enter your provider’s name and click search. Or you may contact Universal Health Care directly at 775-356-1159.

If you are on the HMO, go to Click on provider directory, choose HMO Plan, enter the provider’s name and click search. Or you may contact Hometown Health Customer Service at 775-982-3232.
• Self-funded PPO: Saint Mary’s, Northern Nevada Medical Center and Carson-Tahoe

• Hometown Health’s HMO: Renown Regional Medical Center
If you are on the HMO, you must receive care only from the physicians, hospitals and other health care providers that have contracted to provide services for Hometown Health.

If you are on the Self-funded PPO, you will receive a better rate if you use contracted providers, but you do have flexibility.
The GAP Plan was first introduced in FY 10/11 and is available in conjunction with the Hometown Health HMO Plan only. Washoe County pays the cost of the GAP plan for all employees enrolled in the HMO; however, it is an elective coverage for dependents and employees are responsible for those premiums. Provided by American Fidelity, the GAP Plan is designed to reimburse the following out-of-pocket expenses up to:

• $1,000 per inpatient hospital confinement

• $200 for certain outpatient services

• $25 for non-routine doctors visits (limit of $125 per family per year)

For more information about the GAP Plan, or to enroll or delete a dependent, you must contact American Fidelity directly at 775-829-1313. Dependent coverage is not administered through Washoe County Health Benefits.
Yes. By visiting one of the websites below, you can identify which drugs are available on your specific plan, how much they cost, and the applicable co-payment:

• Self-funded PPO: (or call 1-800-638-5796)

• HMO: (or call 775-982-3232)
For a full description of what services meet the definition of preventative and routine medical care, please refer to your plan summary or contact your plan administrator directly:

• Self-funded PPO participants may contact CDS Customer Service at 775-352-6900.

• HMO participants may contact their Customer Service at 775-982-3232.
If you are on the self-funded PPO, you may contact CDS Group Health at 775-352-6900 to request new cards.

For those on the HMO, you may contact Hometown Health at 775-982-3232.
The HMO Medicare Advantage Plan was added to the Washoe County Retiree Health Benefits Program in FY 10/11. The coverage is provided through Senior Care Plus, and is available only to those retirees and their dependents with both Medicare parts A and B. This plan is a great option for those retirees who are receiving only a partial premium benefit from Washoe County and/or who are covering dependents. Please note that enrollment occurs only on the first of each month.
You may contact the Enrollment Specialist at Senior Care Plus at 775-982-3282.
We strongly encourage all employees to attend Open Enrollment meetings which are scheduled each year mid-May through mid-June. If for some reason you cannot attend one of these informative meetings, you may call 775-328-2079 to set up an appointment with our Benefits Specialist, Kristie Harmon.
Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the federal government since 1965 that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans who are:

• Age 65 years and older • Under age 65 on Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or diagnosed with certain diseases including End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and Lou Gehrig's Disease (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS) The original program included: • Part A – Hospital Care. Part A is premium-free for most people. • Part B – Doctor and Outpatient Care. Part B requires a monthly premium.

In 2006, the program was expanded to include: • Part D – Prescription Drug Coverage. Part D is optional and requires a monthly premium.
You are eligible for Medicare if you are 65 or older and you OR your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years. When an individual who has not paid Medicare taxes applies for Medicare (assuming the spouse has), they simply provide their spouse’s information in addition to their own.

Federal employees began paying the Medicare payroll tax in 1983 and all newly hired state and local employees (including Washoe County) began doing so in 1986. Thus, most government employees and retirees are now eligible.
• Lowers your monthly premium • Lowers your out-of-pocket costs over time by eliminating, or greatly reducing, co-insurance/co-payments.
Hospitals and community mental health centers are paid a set amount of money (called the payment rate) to give some outpatient services to people with Medicare. The payment rate includes: • Medicare’s payment amount for the service you receive • Your yearly Medicare Part B deductible ($147 in 2013), if you haven’t already paid it for the year. This amount can change each year. • Your co-payment amount or co-insurance The payment rate is not the same for all hospitals and community mental health centers. The payment rate for a hospital or community mental health center is a national rate adjusted to reflect what people are paid to work in hospitals in the area where you get services. Each January 1, Medicare updates the payment rates to keep up with changes in the cost of providing services.
Typically, Part A costs nothing, but because Part B can vary from year to year, you should always consult directly with Medicare for your personal premium quotes.
Depending on your original hire date with the County, enrollment in Medicare may or may not be required, and the decision to elect or reject Medicare may impact the way your claims are paid. We strongly encourage all retirees who are eligible for Medicare to take Parts A and B. If you are uncertain about whether or not to elect Medicare coverage, please feel free to contact our office.
Yes. If you notify us upon receiving your Medicare identification card and providing us with a copy, it may lower your premium rate. In addition, we will notify CDS Group Health or Hometown Health which could alleviate issues relating to the payment of claims.
No, the Washoe County Plans are equal to or better than Medicare Part D.
Yes. Retiree insurance is not considered “creditable” coverage by Medicare. If you do not enroll in Part B at age 65 and but decide to enroll later, you will be subject to a late enrollment fee of 10% for each 12-month period beyond your original Part B eligibility date.
Yes. The Medicare Advantage Plan was added to the Washoe County Retiree Health Benefits Program in July, 2010. Coverage is provided through Senior Care Plus and is available to those retirees and their dependents with both Medicare parts A and B. This HMO plan is a great option for those retirees who are receiving only a partial premium benefit from Washoe County or who are covering dependents, as premiums are considerably lower. Please note that enrollment occurs only on the first of each month.
Information is available on the Medicare website or you can contact the local Social Security Office at 1-888-808-5481; 1170 Harvard Way, Reno, NV 89502.
No, because the County’s insurance is creditable coverage. Medicare provides an 8-month Special Enrollment Period in which you can sign up for Parts A and B after your employment ends. If you enroll after the 8-month period, you will face late enrollment penalties.
You are eligible to enroll in Medicare A and B if your spouse has paid Medicare taxes for at least ten years.
Yes. Part A is available at no cost, and employees and retirees both should always take advantage of this coverage as soon as you are eligible.
No, because the County’s insurance is creditable coverage. Medicare provides an 8-month Special Enrollment Period in which you can sign up for Part B after your employment ends. If you enroll after the 8-month period, you will face late enrollment penalties.
You can either contact the Medicare’s customer service at 800-633-4227, or you can access one of their premium or eligibility tools on their website:
If you did not sign up when you were first eligible because you are still working and covered under the County’s group plan, you can enroll anytime. After your employment ends, you can enroll anytime during the 8-month Special Enrollment Period or during Medicare’s regular Open Enrollment Period which runs from January – March each year for a July 1st effective date.

Please note: if your active employment ends and you do not enroll during the Special Enrollment Period you may have to pay a higher premium for late enrollment.
No. Regardless of your insurance coverage, you must enroll in Medicare within the 8-month Special Enrollment Period immediately following termination of your employment.
Yes, you currently retain the same benefit provided by contract. However, the actual benefit plan design is subject to future changes that may take place during labor negotiations with the bargaining units. Upon retirement, employees hired prior to 97/98 are not required to enroll in Medicare but are strongly encouraged to do so. If Medicare is primary to your Washoe County Health Plan, it helps defray future claims costs, which in turn helps to keep premium rates down. Increased premiums impact plan design which could result in increased out-of-pocket expenses to employees and retirees.
The HMO Medicare Advantage Plan was added to the Washoe County Retiree Health Benefits Program in FY 10/11. The coverage is provided through Senior Care Plus, and is available only to those retirees and their dependents with both Medicare parts A and B. This plan is a great option for those retirees who are receiving only a partial premium benefit from Washoe County and/or who are covering dependents. Please note that enrollment occurs only on the first of each month.
You may contact the Enrollment Specialist at Senior Care Plus at 775-982-3282.
Established in 1990, OBRA is an acronym for Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The primary purpose of this 457 deferred compensation plan is to provide a retirement alternative to Social Security for all non-benefited part-time, seasonal and temporary employees. In addition, this plan permits those same employees of Washoe County to enter into an agreement which will provide for deferral of payment of a portion of their current compensation until death, retirement, severance from employment, or other event, in accordance with the provisions of Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Established under the Internal Revenue Code section 457, deferred compensation plans are tax deferred, supplemental retirement plans. Contributions to 457 plans are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deferral.
OBRA requires that all state and local governmental employees be covered by social security or an employer retirement plan.
Yes. Your employer will automatically deduct the required 7.5% of gross salary to provide you, as a non-benefited part time, seasonal or temporary employee, with a defined contribution plan in lieu of social security coverage.
Contributions will be directed to the General (Declared Rate) Account. The General Account provides safety of principle and a competitive rate of return.
No. Your employer will make the necessary adjustments on your W-2 form, lowering your gross wages by the amount that you contributed in each tax year.
All distributions will be taxed as “ordinary income.” Taxes are payable on amounts distributed to you in the year of receipt.
Assets in the plan may be withdrawn upon termination of employment, regardless of age.
No. There are no penalties or early withdrawal provisions applicable to the plan.
Payout options include lump sum or designated amount on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis.
Quarterly statements will be mailed approximately ten days after the end of each quarter.
You can call MassMutual’s participant services call center at 1-800-255-2464 or go to MassMutual website at
Yes. Notify MassMutual's customer service center at 1-800-255-2464.
There are no charges or fees for participation in the plan.
If you become a full-time employee, all contributions to the OBRA account cease. At this point, you may either transfer the value of your OBRA account to the voluntary 457 plan available to full-time employees, or you may simply leave the funds in your OBRA account. If you choose to leave the funds in the OBRA, please bear in mind that the funds cannot be withdrawn until you separate employment from Washoe County.
When you separate employment with Washoe County, you have several options. You can either leave the funds in the account, accruing interest; you can roll the funds over to another qualified plan; or, you can withdraw the funds in their entirety. If you choose to withdraw, you will be responsible for the applicable taxes on the earnings.

Benefits - Quick Reference Sheet

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