Dependent eligibility audit to help CSU control benefit plan costs

As the cost of providing health coverage continues to rise for businesses of all sizes, Colorado State is taking steps to manage its benefit plan expenditures for faculty, administrative professionals and other non-classified staff.

In a series of employee forums held last spring, three-quarters of participants supported the University conducting a Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit to ensure that anyone listed as a dependent on a medical plan meets all qualifying requirements. (Taking into account “neutral” responses, more than 90 percent were in favor of or did not oppose such an audit.)

As a result, a mandatory audit of faculty, administrative professionals and other non-classified employees with covered dependents will take place between January 22 and March 7. CSU has contracted with an independent firm to conduct the audit.

The audit is designed to control costs for employees and their qualifying dependents by identifying ineligible dependents currently receiving benefits from the University’s health plans.

“Paying claims and premiums for ineligible dependents may increase plan costs for all employees, and reduce future benefits for employees,” explained Lynn Johnson, vice president for University operations.

While the State of Colorado and the University of Colorado have performed similar audits, this is the first time CSU has done so, according to Diana Prieto, associate vice president for human capital and chief human resource officer.

“The general industry standard for those dependents found to be ineligible as a result of a dependent audit can range from 2 percent to 20 percent,” said CSU’s Total Rewards Officer Teri Suhr. “Our benefits consultants in Denver believe 2 percent to 4 percent is a more comfortable range for our plan size.”

While that might not sound like much, Suhr added that the savings can add up quickly. Based on a 2 percent to 4 percent saving, CSU might save between $400,000 and $800,000, she said.

Detailed information about the audit is available at the CSU Human Resources website.

How the Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit will work

  1. Faculty, administrative professionals and other non-classified staff with dependents covered by a Colorado State University benefit plan should have already received an email announcing the mandatory audit.
  2. Beginning Monday, January 22, those employees will also receive an initial letter to their mailing address with instructions on how to complete the audit process.
  3. The process requires employees to complete an online affidavit and submit verification documents for each covered dependent.
  4. The deadline to complete the verification process is Wednesday, March 7.
  5. Additional communication will be sent via phone, email and postal mail until the employee completes the audit process. All communication will be generated by the independent health-care audit firm conducting the audit on behalf of the University.
  6. If an employee does not complete the audit by the deadline, covered dependents will be removed from all CSU benefit plans as of March 31, 2018, and may not be re-enrolled until the next open enrollment period or with a mid-year qualified life event.

Questions? Contact the Dependent Eligibility Center at 1-866-691-6551, Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday 6 a.m.-3 p.m., Mountain Standard Time.