Employees in bargaining units 2, 7, 8, 16, 17, 18, and 19, and excluded employees, receive a Consolidated Benefits (CoBen) allowance to use for health, dental, and vision insurance.
Depending on the total cost of the benefit plans you choose, CoBen may allow you to receive additional taxable income each month, which you can use to offset out-of-pocket premium costs. This web page offers you valuable information so that you can make the most out of the CoBen Program.
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During Open Enrollment, eligible employees may:
Enroll, change, or cancel health, dental, and vision plans.
Add or delete dependents.
If you don't want to make any changes to your coverage, you don't need to do anything. Open enrollment forms must be signed and submitted to your personnel office no later than October 9, 2015. Enrollments and changes made during open enrollment are effective January 1, 2016.
First, identify the amount of your CoBen allowance. This is the amount the state provides you to pay the premiums for your health and dental plans. The state pays for your vision plan. The amount of your CoBen allowance depends on whether you're covering yourself only, or dependents too.
Next, choose the benefit plans that best meet your needs. Identify the premium for each plan, total the cost of the plans you've selected, and compare it to your CoBen allowance.
You make the most out of your participation in CoBen by making cost-effective benefit choices, which can result in extra money for you each month in your paycheck. It's also important that you carefully consider your choices to ensure they meet your ongoing health and dental needs and those of your eligible dependents. Your health plan party code selection (1, 2, or 3) will determine your CoBen allowance when enrolled in all three benefits.
How CoBen affects you depends on your personal situation and the benefit plans you choose. Remember, CoBen offers you the opportunity to make benefit choices in order to maximize the total benefit allowance the state provides to you, or receive additional taxable monthly income.
Allowance amounts for represented employees may be subject to change based on any changes in the Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) and are subject to union ratification and legislative approval. For the most current information, review your MOU or visit
The following employer CoBen contribution rates are effective, January 1, 2016. The collective bargaining process is fluid and changes may subsequently be agreed to which could alter these amounts. CalHR will notify you if there are any changes.
Effective July 1, 2016, employees in BU 18 shall be subject to a 12-month dependent vesting schedule.
The following worksheet will help you calculate whether you will have monthly out-of-pocket premium costs deducted from your paycheck or be eligible to receive CoBen Cash in your paycheck each month. An automated
Benefits Calculator is also available.
If you are going to make a change in your benefit choices, you may want to use the Benefits Calculator to help you determine your deduction or deposit amount, based on which health and dental plans you choose. You simply click on your health and dental plan choices, and how many dependents you cover. The calculator automatically computes the total cost of the benefits you select and subtracts them from the CoBen Allowance. The result shows whether you have a monthly benefit deduction or receive extra cash. Note: The calculator performs best on Internet Explorer and does not work on certain smart phones and mobile devices.
Eligibility for CoBen is determined through the collective bargaining process for represented employees. Current bargaining units participating in CoBen are units 2, 7, 8, 16, 17, 18, and 19. All employees excluded from collective bargaining (those employees classified as excluded, exempt, and confidential) are also eligible.
You may make changes to your benefits during Open Enrollment, usually during September and October of each year. During this time, you have the opportunity to do the following:
Add or delete eligible dependents covered by your health and/or dental plans.
It is important for you to keep in mind that the choice you make for your dental coverage is a three-year commitment -- whether to keep your state-sponsored dental coverage or receive cash in lieu of dental coverage. This means:
1) If you enroll in the Cash Option for health only and enroll in a state dental plan, you must remain in a state dental plan for three years, unless you experience a valid "permitting event" under the CoBen Program. (See Changes Allowed due to Permitting Events.)
2) If you enroll in the Cash Option for health and dental, you may not cancel your dental Cash Option for three years, unless you lost your other dental coverage, or you canceled both your health and dental CoBen Cash during an open enrollment period, or due to a valid permitting event under the CoBen Program. After completing the three year commitment, employees may enroll in a dental plan during the open enrollment period.
All employees are automatically enrolled in the state's vision plan. Therefore, you need to add in the cost of this coverage when calculating the total cost of your benefits. For employees in CoBen, enrollment in the vision plan is mandatory.
If you have additional questions about Consolidated Benefits or please contact your department’s personnel office.
Your CoBen choices, whether for health and dental benefits, for cash in lieu of health benefits, or for cash in lieu of health and dental benefits, are in effect for your entire period of participation. Your period of participation begins with the effective date of your enrollment and ends on December 31 of each year, or sooner if you leave active pay status or cancel your enrollment. You may not change or cancel your CoBen choices during the year unless you experience a permitting event. You must apply any changes, cancellations, or enrollments within 60 days of the date of the permitting event.
You're permitted to apply approved changes only if you experience a qualifying change in status. You have 60 days following the date of your status change to take the corresponding action. The State Controller's Office must receive your completed form(s) by the 10th of the month, and is effective on the first of the following month.
In addition to the permitting events listed above, there are other payroll status changes that affect your CoBen Cash enrollment: