Insurance Benefits

Open Enrollment: Making Changes to your Plan

Open enrollment runs from November 1-30 and is your opportunity to make changes to your health plan benefits. All changes made during 2024 open enrollment became effective January 1, 2025.

Please check your Western email in November for more information about open enrollment.

If you are a new employee, please look for your Benefits Eligibility Notice, or benefit task in PageUp to determine whether you qualify for benefits and when. Generally, benefits will begin for benefit eligible employees the first of the month following your start date, or if you begin on the first working day of the month, benefits will begin that day.

Medical Insurance

Western Washington University offers comprehensive, employer/employee paid medical insurance provided by the Washington State Health Care Authority under the Public Employees Benefits Board. Employees who live in Whatcom County have the option between 6 plans, including a Preferred Provider Plan, a Managed Care Network Plan and Consumer Directed Health Plans which all include vision and prescriptions. Please click on the Medical Insurance link above to explore the plans in detail. Keep in mind that not all of the plans listed on the website are available in Whatcom County. Here is the list of available plans based on your county of residence. It is also helpful to know the monthly medical plan premiums. For a quick look at the plans available based on where you live, check out the Medical Benefits Comparison Tool.  

Dental Insurance

Employees may choose from three dental plans, including two Managed Care Plans and one Preferred Provider Plan. Current providers include Uniform Dental administered by Delta Dental of Washington (Preferred Provider Plan), Willamette Dental and DeltaCare (Managed Care Plans). There is no monthly premium associated with any of the dental plans. Please visit the Dental Insurance link above to view more information about the plans.

Life Insurance

Western provides employees with a basic policy of $35,000 Term Life Insurance and $5,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) at no cost. For a monthly premium, new employees can purchase Life Insurance coverage up to $500,000 as a guaranteed issue, and potentially up to $1,000,000 through medical underwriting. Additional AD&D amounts are available up to $250,000. Spouse/Registered Domestic Partner and dependent policies can also be purchased. Please visit the above Life Insurance link for more information. Here are the supplemental life insurance premiums.

Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance

WWU provides a basic LTD policy at no cost to the employee. This policy will provide a maximum benefit of up to $240 per month after 90 calendar days of total disability. Employees may enhance this benefit by purchasing optional coverage, which ensures 60% of their salary, up to $10,000 of monthly salary. Premiums depends on salary and waiting period chosen.

*Other benefits offered for eligible employees:

Flexible Spending Accounts

Dependent Care Assistance Program

Health Savings Accounts for employees with Consumer Directed Healthcare Plans (CDHP)

Liberty Mutual Home and Auto Insurance

SmartHealth and Wellness Incentives – check out if you are eligible to receive $125 off your deductible or $125 deposited into your HSA!

WA Cares Fund - mandatory state-wide long-term care insurance benefit administered by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

WA State Paid Family Medical Leave – mandatory state-wide insurance program that provides paid family and medical leave to eligible employees. Administered by the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Making changes to your medical and dental plans

You can make changes to your plans during the annual open enrollment (November 1-30) for plan changes effective the first of the following year, or if you have a life change that triggers a special open enrollment. For instructions, please visit the above link for making changes. Western will inform employees via Western email when open enrollment is occurring.

Other Helpful Information

Here you can search for required PEBB forms. If you cannot find a form you need, please reach out to Benefit Services at the contact information below.

Premium Surcharges – Find out if the tobacco use premium surcharge and the spouse or state-registered domestic partner premium surcharge apply to you.

PEBB Account Login – Here you can view the medical and dental plan you have, make changes during open enrollment, and attest to premium surcharges.

If you have any questions please contact Benefit Services at or 360-650-4003.