Getting divorced will impact your benefits. This overview is designed to highlight the benefit options you will want to evaluate. Additional information is available on the Benefits website or from the Human Resource Information Center (HRIC) at (919) 684-5600.

What proof of divorce will I need?

A copy of your divorce decree must be uploaded when you request changes to your medical, dental, vision and/or reimbursement account plans.

Can my ex-spouse or ex-stepchild remain covered under my Duke health, dental, or vision  insurance plan?

No. An ex-spouse or ex-stepchild is not considered an eligible dependent and cannot remain covered under your health insurance, dental insurance, or vision insurance policy. Any claims paid by the health, dental, or vision insurance plan for expenses incurred by an ex-spouse or ex-stepchild who is no longer eligible for coverage are subject to recovery. Ex-spouses and ex-stepchildren are ineligible for coverage effective the date of the divorce.

The federal law, COBRA, allows for up to 36 months continuation of health, dental, and/or vision coverage for your ex-spouse and/or ex-stepchild. Premiums due will be for the full premium payment plus a 2% service charge. Inform the HRIC of your ex-spouse's address so that COBRA eligibility notification can be sent.

I've lost my health, dental, or vision insurance coverage due to divorce. Can I enroll in Duke's plan?

Yes, as long as you would otherwise be eligible based upon your employment status. Your loss of coverage is considered a qualifying event and allows you to enroll outside of the annual open enrollment. You'll need to complete an online qualifying life event enrollment request within 30 days of the divorce. You must also provide proof of the final divorce and proof of the loss of coverage under your ex-spouse's plan. You may also be eligible for COBRA continuation through your ex-spouse's plan and should contact the appropriate plan representatives.

Can I make changes to my health care or dependent day care reimbursement account?

Yes. You are able to stop or change the amount you are contributing into the reimbursement accounts providing this is done within 30 days from the date of your divorce and the change is consistent with your change in family status. Since the IRS allows only the custodial parent to use the dependent day care reimbursement account, your eligibility for dependent day care reimbursement may change. Submit an online qualifying life event enrollment request for participation or contribution changes. Contact the HRIC at (919) 684-5600 if you need assistance with this tool. All other questions regarding the reimbursement plan should be directed to HealthEquity. For more information, please see the Reimbursement Accounts web site.

What do I need to do about my life insurance plans?

Employees with young children and with high long term debt, such as a mortgage, may need more life insurance to provide financial security for surviving family members than employees with grown children and less long term debt. If you divide the amount of your current life insurance coverage by your take-home pay, you will know how many pay periods your present level of earnings would continue to support your household. If this figure is not sufficient in dollar amount or duration to support your household, you may wish to increase the amount of your life insurance coverage.

If you determine that you need to increase your coverage, there are a number of life insurance options available. For example, with Personal Accident (AD&D) insurance, you can purchase a high coverage amount at a low cost, but benefits will only be paid in the event of accidental death. You can also purchase Supplemental Life Insurance which will provide benefits in the event of death from illness and natural causes. The premiums are higher for Supplemental Life Insurance than AD&D. For more information, please see the Life Insurance web site.

How do I change my life insurance beneficiary?

HRIC or specific program vendors can provide assistance. Additionally, you may want to consider obtaining legal counsel if you will be establishing or amending a trust fund or will.

Can I continue my ex-spouse's or ex-stepchild's life insurance policy?

The answer varies based on the type of insurance:

  • Supplemental Life - For an ex-spouse and/or ex-stepchild, Supplemental Life insurance issued through Mercer Voluntary Benefits cannot be continued. You will need to contact Mercer Voluntary Benefits in writing and request that he or she be removed from the policy. The cancellation request should include the date of divorce and the forwarding address for your ex-spouse.
  • Personal Accident (AD&D) - AD&D issued through CNA cannot be continued and you will need to contact the HRIC to request your ex-spouse and/or ex-stepchild be removed from the policy. If this change results in your having an individual policy, contact the HRIC to change your deduction amount. Your ex-spouse will not have the option to continue this policy.
  • Universal Life - This coverage can be continued for both your ex-spouse and/or ex-stepchild. Contact the Holroyd Agency or North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company for a full explanation of the continuation options available.

What about the beneficiary on my 403(b) retirement plan?

If your ex-spouse did not sign a "Waiver of Pre-retirement Survivor Annuity," and is your named spouse on your retirement plan, he/she may be entitled to at least 50% of your retirement benefits in the event of your death. You may want to contact the HRIC and provide a copy of the divorce decree to update these records. Also, contact your retirement vendor(s) directly to update any address change.

What other insurance plans do I need to consider?

If your ex-spouse was a participant in Duke's Long Term Care Insurance plan issued through Prudential, contact Prudential to remove your ex-spouse from your policy.

If your ex-spouse or ex-stepchild was listed on a Personal Casualty policy you purchased through MetPay, you will need to contact Mercer Voluntary Benefits for coverage conversion options.

What about updating my personal information on record?

If you have a NetID, you can change your directory listing at Online@Duke. If you don't have a NetID, you can request one through the Office of Information Technology (OIT). If you are unsure whether you have one or not, please see NetID Help. Otherwise, please use iForms. Instructions for using iForms and submitting online forms are included in documentation on the iForms Web Site. Your new information will also be updated for your health, dental, and vision plans. To update any other benefit programs (e,g, reimbursement accounts, 403(b) retirement plan, life insurance, disability, etc.), please use the Contact Information to notify the benefit vendor directly.

Also, make sure to update your marital status and withholdings on your federal and state tax forms, available on the Forms page.

The life event series overview is intended to highlight some of the benefit options to be considered due to a change in family status. It is not designed to substitute for an official plan document. If there is a conflict between this web site and the official plan documents, the official plan documents will govern in all cases. Duke reserves the right to change or terminate these plans or your eligibility for benefits under the plans at any time.