Group Legal Services Insurance Plan
A Group Legal Services Plan is an important part of the State's benefits package because it can help employees get sound advice and representation to quickly resolve their legal problems. Chances are, at one time or another, you may need an attorney. However, legal problems can be very confusing and costly. When they come unexpectedly, they can present a huge financial burden, not to mention the time you spend searching for just the right lawyer. Good California attorneys can cost $353 or more per hour. As a member of the State's legal plan, you can face your problems with the confidence that solid legal coverage provides.
Open Enrollment for the State's Group Legal Services Insurance Plan is March 1 - April 30 - Annually
During open enrollment, eligible employees can enroll in the Group Legal Services Plan (the Plan) and current members can change their coverage from single to family, family to single, and add/delete eligible dependents. If you're already in the Plan you don't need to re-enroll, your coverage continues automatically. Members may cancel their membership at any time.
ARAG will mail enrollment kits to the homes of eligible State employees not yet enrolled in the Plan. Please contact your department's personnel office or the ARAG Customer Service Center toll-free at 866-762-0972 if you do not receive a kit.
New Retiree Group Legal Services Insurance Plan
There will also be an open enrollment for the new Retiree Group Legal Services Plan that will be held annually. Enrollment packages will be mailed to the homes of retirees during this time. If you are retired and do not receive an open enrollment packet, you may contact ARAG at 1-800-511-4007 (800-383-4184 for TTY).
The Group Legal Services Insurance Plan is a voluntary, employee-paid plan that provides comprehensive legal coverage. It is designed to meet the most common personal legal needs of an individual and their family. Covered services include:
100% Paid-in-Full Coverage for in-office Consultation
The Plan provides 100% paid-in-full coverage for an in-office consultation with an attorney. Once you have enrolled in the plan, you'll receive a directory of attorneys and a listing of areas of law in which they specialize. If you need an office consultation, you can call one of the more than 500 attorneys who belong to the Plan's California attorney network. When you use one of these qualified attorneys, the hourly fees the attorney charges will be paid-in-full by the plan for the covered services listed below. The Plan does not provide coverage for certain fees such as filing fees, reporters' fees, expert witness fees and other related expenses. Plan members also have the flexibility of using an attorney who is not part of the network. In this case, you would be reimbursed after filing a claim for legal fees paid up to a specified dollar limit. The Plan's covered services include, but are not limited to:
- will preparation
- domestic matters (divorce, separation, annulment)
- bankruptcy proceedings
- consumer protection
- real estate transactions
- defense of criminal misdemeanors
- traffic charges
- civil actions
You should refer to the plan brochure for a more detailed description of the covered services.
Toll-free Telephone Legal Advice
The Plan provides a convenient toll-free number (866-762-0972) that gives the enrolled employee access to a Telephone Network Attorney for legal advice (no limitation imposed on number of calls or length of calls) and correspondence to third parties. Telephone network attorneys provide telephone calls and assistance with correspondence to third parties related to a Plan member's personal legal matter. These telephone attorneys can also assist the member with the following covered services such as:
- preparation of simple wills and codicils
- childcare authorizations
- credit report requests
- challenges to denials of credit
- bad check notices
- credit card inquires
- Health Care Powers of Attorney and revocations
- Advanced Health Care Directives
- preparation of standard testamentary trusts for minor children, and
- review of legal documents up to four (4) pages, excluding those related to trust or real estate property transfers.
Note: Telephone consultation cannot be used for legal matters that are specifically excluded from the Plan (e.g., the employee could not use the plan for phone consultation regarding a grievance he/she had filed against the State). Telephone consultation service is available Monday - Friday from 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., PST.
Preventive Legal Services
In addition to providing 100% paid-in-full services for covered matters, plan attorneys will review and prepare documents, give advice and negotiate on the employee's behalf in any matter not specifically excluded. At no additional cost, one hour of preventive in-office services can be received in each calendar quarter (four hours per year).
Other Legal Services at No Additional Costs
- Reduced Fees for Non-Covered Matters. The Reduced Fee Benefit provides a guaranteed fee reduction of at least 25% by participating attorneys for benefits not currently provided, but not limited and excluded under the legal plan, when using an ARAG Group Reduced Fee Network Attorney for in-office legal advice and representation.
- Reduced Contingency Fees. Network Attorneys will represent you under a contingency fee arrangement. The paid fee is based on the success of your case and is a percentage of the amount of money awarded.
- Law Guide. The online Law Guide is a library of information that provides comprehensive overviews of the most common legal issues - to help you become a better-informed legal consumer.
- Online Document Library. The Do-It-Yourself Legal Documents allows you to create your own legally valid documents.
- Identity Theft Services. Insured members have unlimited toll-free access to an Identity Case Manager, who will explain identity theft, outline the steps you can take to recover and how to prevent it. The Case Manager will monitor the resolution of the situation and if necessary refer the case to a Network Attorney for representation.
- Conversion Option for Terminated Plan Members. Terminated plan members leaving State service can continue legal coverage by converting to the ARAG Group's standard legal plan, UltimateAdvisor" by direct payment to the carrier.
Limitations and Exclusions
Each coverage is limited to one use per family, per plan year. For example, services can be received during the year for the defense of one misdemeanor, preparation of one will, filing of one divorce, etc.
Several covered services have a "waiting period" which requires that new enrollees remain in the plan for at least six months before they are eligible to receive the services.
There are certain legal services that are specifically excluded from coverage in the plan. Some of these services are as follows:
- legal actions involving the State (as either defendant or plaintiff), any of its agencies or departments, its insurers or subcontractors or any of the labor organizations representing State employees;
- legal proceedings that began before you enrolled in the plan;
- probating of estates;
- workers' compensation and unemployment compensation issues;
- small claims court; and
- lawsuits covered by other insurance.
The Group Legal Services Plan is a voluntary employee-paid plan and premiums are paid through monthly payroll deductions. The monthly premium is $9.84 for individual coverage and $17.39 for family coverage to cover you, your spouse, or domestic partner and any eligible dependent children.
An Open Enrollment period is conducted in March and April of each year to provide eligible employees with an opportunity to enroll in the plan.
During open enrollment, eligible employees can enroll in the Plan and current participants can add or delete dependents. You don't need to re-enroll if you're already in the Plan; your coverage continues automatically. Enrollees may cancel membership at any time.
ARAG Group - Use Access Code: 10202soc (Active Employees) or 17642ret (Retirees).
If you would like to get further information about the plan, you should pick up a plan brochure from your department's Personnel Office.
If you have any questions regarding the covered services once you've reviewed the brochure, you can contact ARAG's (the plan Administrator) Customer Care Center Monday-Friday, 5:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., PST.
ARAG Customer Service:
TTY 800-383-4184 (or 711 to reach a relay operator)
You may also contact the CalHR Program Manager at 916-324-0533.