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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 and dental insurance.How CoBen Works
First, identify the amount of your benefit allowance from your paycheck stub or by using the Benefits Calculator. This is the amount the state provides you to pay the
premiums for your health and dental plans. The state pays for your Basic Vision
Plan. Your health plan party code selection (single, two-party, or family) will
determine your benefit allowance when enrolled in all three benefits.
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 benefits 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 (single, two-party, or family) will determine your benefit allowance when enrolled in all three benefits.
How CoBen affects you depends on your personal situation and the benefit plans you choose. 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.
Due to the nature of the collective bargaining process, changes may alter contribution amounts and dependent vesting levels. For the most current information, review your Memorandum of Understanding or visit Bargaining/Contracts.
The Benefits Calculator will help you determine how much will be deducted from or added to your paycheck based on the health, dental, and vision plans chosen. You simply click on your health and dental plan choices, and indicate how many dependents you cover. The calculator automatically computes the total cost of the benefits you select and subtracts them from the benefits allowance. The result shows whether you have a monthly benefit deduction or receive extra cash.
Alternatively, you may use the worksheet included in the CoBen Handbook.
All employees are automatically enrolled in the state's Basic Vision Plan (except for those in Bargaining Unit 6, as their vision benefits are provided by the CCPOA Health Benefits Trust). 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 Basic Vision Plan is mandatory. Employees also have the option to upgrade to the Premier Vision Plan.
A combined employer contribution amount for your
health, dental, and vision benefits. The benefit allowance is automatically
established in the State Controller's (SCO) payroll system. No enrollment form
is required. Based on the health, dental, and vision plans you choose, the full
premium cost is deducted from the benefit allowance. Eligible employees are
automatically enrolled in the state's Basic Vision Plan. Enrollment in the
Basic Vision Plan is mandatory under CoBen. You may not cancel your state-sponsored
You are eligible for the benefits allowance if you are in a position that is half-time or more and fall into the classifications below:
Please contact your department's personnel office to learn more about eligibility.
The effective date is on a prospective basis and based on when you move into or out of an employee designation that is eligible for CoBen.
If the total cost of the plans you choose is less than your benefits allowance, you will receive the difference as taxable cash (excess cash) in your paycheck. The excess cash amount will be subject to state, federal, and social security taxes. You must enroll in health, dental and vision to be eligible for this cash amount.
If the total cost of the plans you choose is more than your benefit allowance, you pay the difference (out-of-pocket) for health and dental with pre-tax dollars automatically deducted from your paycheck. The out-of-pocket amount will not be subject to state, federal, and social security taxes. Any premiums for vision are taken on an after-tax basis.
If you elect to receive cash in lieu of your state-sponsored health plan but enroll in a state-sponsored dental plan, your dental benefit enrollment party code will be used to determine the amount of the benefit allowance. In this situation, you will receive cash in lieu of health, and your dental and Basic Vision Plan premiums will be fully paid. You will not have an out-of-pocket dental and basic vision premium cost.
However, if the total cost of your dental and vision premium is less than your benefit allowance, then you will not receive the difference (excess cash) in your paycheck. In order to receive excess cash, you must be enrolled in health, dental, and vision. If you are not enrolled in all three benefits, then you will not be eligible to receive excess cash.
If you need more information, check with your department's personnel office to obtain a copy of the CoBen Handbook or use the links below.
You may also use the Benefits Calculator which will help you determine how much will be deducted from or added to your paycheck, based on which health and dental plans you choose. State basic vision coverage is mandatory under CoBen and the premium amount for the basic vision plan is automatically added into the calculation.
The CoBen Handbook also includes a worksheet that you may fill out to calculate your benefit costs. However, the Benefits Calculator has the advantage of being easier to use and allowing you to try different scenarios. You simply choose your bargaining unit, click on your health and dental plan choices, and select the number of dependents that will be covered. The calculator automatically computes the total cost of the benefits and subtracts the benefit allowance. The result shows whether you will have a monthly benefit deduction or receive extra cash, and the amount of the deduction or cash.
If you have additional questions about Consolidated Benefits, please contact your department's personnel office.