Office of Group Benefits

2020 Annual Enrollment

Frequently Asked Questions

Annual Enrollment

Q Do I have to enroll in a new plan for 2020?

No. If you would like to remain in your current OGB health plan with the same covered dependents for the 2019 plan year, you do not need to do anything. Your coverage will continue for the 2020 plan year.

Members enrolled in the HSA or FSA options will need to select a new contribution amount for plan year 2020.

Q When and how can I enroll?

Annual enrollment begins October 1 and ends November 15. Active employees can enroll in one of two ways:

  1. By visiting the online enrollment portal
  2. Contacting their human resources department

Retirees can enroll in one of three ways:

  1. By visiting the online enrollment portal
  2. By completing a paper enrollment form and mailing it to OGB
  3. By contacting OGB

Q When can I review my plan options?
A Each year OGB creates an Annual Enrollment guide that has detailed information on all plans and other important information. Active employees are able to review the annual enrollment guide online or can print a copy from this website. Retirees will receive a copy of the annual enrollment guide in the mail. All members are invited to attend any of the annual enrollment meetings being held across the state during the month of October. A schedule of meetings can be found here.
Active Non-Medicare Meeting Schedule  |   Medicare Meeting Schedule
Q What if I enroll in a plan and then change my mind?
A If you wish to change your plan selection during the annual enrollment period, simply visit the annual enrollment portal and select a new plan. Your most recent choice will be considered valid. If you change your mind after annual enrollment is over, you won’t be able to change your plan until next year’s annual enrollment period unless you experience a plan recognized qualified life event.
Q Can I submit a late application?
A OGB can only accept applications during an annual enrollment period, unless the member experiences a Plan Recognized Qualified Life Event.

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General Questions

Q What is the Office of Group Benefits (OGB)?
A OGB is and agency, authorized by state statute to provide health and life insurance benefits to active and retired state employees and their eligible dependents, as well as employees and retirees of other participating groups.
Q What is the cost of an OGB health plan?
A It depends upon the plan option you choose, the number of dependents you cover, and your status as either an active employee or retiree with or without Medicare. Visit our premium rates to see the cost for the coverage level you fall into. For retirees, please refer to the rate schedule that applies to your participation schedule.
Q What is the OGB Customer Service phone number and what are the hours of operation?
A OGB Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-272-8451 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. OGB customer service will be closed periodically for employee training and all official State of Louisiana holidays.
Q How do I get in touch with my plan provider?
  • Access2Day Health
  • 1-800-797-953, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday
  • 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Friday
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
  • 1-800-392-4089, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Vantage Health Plan
  • 1-888-823-1910, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Via Benefits
  • 1-855-663-4228, 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Peoples Health
  • 1-866-912-8304, 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Seven days a week
  • MedImpact
  • 1-800-788-2949, 24 hours, Seven days a week
  • Medicare VibrantRx
  • 1-877-633-7943, 24 hours, Seven days a week
  • Express Scripts
  • 1-866-781-7533, 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., Seven days a week
  • Vantage Health Plan Pharmacy Benefits
  • 1-866-704-0109, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
  • Discovery Benefits – Flexible Spending Arrangement & COBRA
  • 1-866-451-3399, 24hours, Seven days a week
Q I have moved. How do I change my plan provider?

Active employees should change their address with their human resources department. If you are employed by a LaGov paid agency, you may update your information through LEO.

Retirees should mail or fax documentation to OGB. That documentation should include your social security number, old address and new address. You can mail your notice to:

OGB Customer Service
P.O. Box 44036
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

The fax number for retirees only is 225-342-9919.

Q Who do I call for answers about my medical claims?
A Claims inquiries should be made to the administrator of the insurance plan. The number for your plan administrator can be found on the back of your insurance ID card.
Q My spouse has coverage through his/her employer. Can I be covered under my spouse's plan and an OGB plan?
A You can be covered under more than one health plan. Please keep in mind that there are special rules that determine which plan will pay as the primary insurer and which will pay as the secondary insurer. Please refer to the OGB plan document for further information. (Members may not be covered under more than one OGB health plan.)
Q Who should I call if I do not receive my insurance ID card or FSA debit card?
  • Health Insurance Cards: Contact the insurance carrier of the plan
  • FSA Debit Cards (active employees only): Contact OGB's third party administrator, Discovery Benefits, Inc. 1-866-451-3399
Q What's the difference between a co-pay and coinsurance?
A A copay is a flat fee for a specific service. Coinsurance, however, is a percentage of the contractually allowed cost of a specific service.
Q How are deductibles applied if I have coverage for my spouse and myself?
A The entire deductible must be met before your coinsurance applies. Deductibles are based on the number of covered individuals on your plan. Deductibles are applied in total, not on an individual basis.

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Web Portal

Q How do I get to the web portal?
  • Visit employees must enroll through Louisiana Employees Online (LEO) or see their human resources department.)
  • Follow the links from the OGB homepage to the annual enrollment portal.
  • Log into the portal by entering your last name, date of birth, the last four digits of your Social Security Number and your zipcode.
  • Confirm your contact information
  • Make plan selection
  • Enter HSA and/or FSA contributions (if applicable)
  • Review selections and click "Confirm" to save changes and view confirmation page; click "change" to revise your selections
  • Print/Save confirmation page and click "Logout" to exit the portal; click "Change" to revise your selections.
Q Do I have to enroll online?

No, there are three ways to enroll.

  1. All members may visit to use the annual enrollment portal.
  2. Retirees may complete the personalized annual enrollment form in your enrollment guide and return it to the address provided.
  3. For active employees, contact your human resources department to enroll in a health plan with different or new covered dependents than 2019 or to discontinue OGB coverage. Retirees may contact OGB.

Q What if I am not a member of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana, Vantage Health Plans, or Peoples Health?
A Not every active employee or retiree can use the portal to select a plan. Some employees/retirees will need to contact either OGB or their HR Department to select a plan. If your current health plan does not fall under Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana, Vantage Health Plans, or Peoples Health, please contact either OGB (Retirees) or your HR Department (Active Employees).
Q Should I input my entire Social Security Number?
A No, please input only the last four digits.
Q If I have COBRA coverage, should I use this website?
A No. Please call Discovery Benefits at 1-866-451-3399.
Q What if my plan is not listed on the website?
A If you currently have coverage with Blue Cross, Peoples Health, or Vantage, you will be able to enroll using the Annual Enrollment portal. However, you may also enroll using the paper enrollment form found in your decision guide or by visiting your HR Department if you are an Active Employee or by contacting OGB if you are a Retiree.
Q What if I currently do not have a health plan, but would like to enroll into an OGB health plan?
A We can help with that. If you are an Active Employee, please see your HR Department.
Q How do I select my health plan?
A The first time you log in, a list of possible plans will appear for selection. Next to each of the plans will be a radio button (circle). When a radio button is clicked, more options will appear depending on which plan is selected and your eligibility for flexible spending. If you choose a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Plan, choosing a Primary Physician will be required. If you are eligible for flexible spending, then you will be able to enter the flexible spending amounts for health and dependent care. If you choose the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Pelican HSA 775 Plan, you will be able to enter in the HSA election monthly amount. Click the Submit button. A confirmation page will appear for you to confirm your choice. If all information is correct, click the confirm button. Once it is submitted, you will have a chance to print a copy of your selection.

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Statewide Meetings

Q What is a statewide meeting?
A It's an opportunity for all members to gather information concerning the health plan options for the next plan year.
Q Who can attend these meetings?
A We encourage all active and retired members to either attend a regional meeting or obtain all the necessary information off of the OGB website in order to make an informed decision.
Q Where can I find a listing of meetings located near me?
A The meeting schedules is on the OGB Annual Enrollment website.
Q What if I cannot attend a regional meeting?
A All information is posted on the OGB Annual Enrollment website.

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Q Where can I find a list of Qualifying Medical Expenses
A The Employee Benefits Institute of America (EBIA) has created a Health Care Expenses Table for the Office of Group Benefits. This table lists services that are classified as a “qualifying expense”, or “not a qualifying expense” by the IRS. Click here to be redirected to the table.
Q I am a newly eligible employee. When can I enroll in an OGB health plan?
A Newly eligible employees have 30 days from their date of eligibility to enroll in an OGB health plan. If the employee misses the 30 day deadline, he/she can enroll during the next annual enrollment period usually held in October for the next plan year or upon an OGB Plan Recognized Qualified Life Event.
Q When can I add life coverage?
  • Newly Eligible Employees – life insurance may be added within 30 days of eligibility.
  • Active Employees – May apply for life insurance during annual enrollment period, subject to underwriting.
Q How do I add dependents?
A Please visit your human resources department to add dependents to your plan. You must provide proof of the legal relationship of each covered dependent. Without that documentation, your enrollment cannot be completed. Acceptable documents include: your marriage certificate, birth letter or birth certificate, legal adoption or custody papers, if applicable, for each covered dependent. Your agency will verify the eligibility of dependents. Retirees should contact OGB for assistance.
Q Can I drop my coverage?
A Yes, you may drop your coverage during annual enrollment or upon an OGB Plan Recognized Qualified Life Event. Retirees should note that if coverage is dropped, you may not get it back.
Q How long do I have to pick up coverage once I have an OGB Plan Recognized Qualified Life Event?
A The application must be submitted within 30 days unless otherwise specified in the OGB health plan document.
Q I’m pregnant. When can I add my baby to my plan?
A In order for a newborn to be added as a dependent, you must complete an application and provide your human resources department with a birth certificate or a copy of the birth letter within 30 days of the child’s birth date. The birth letter will suffice as proof of parentage only if it contains the relationship of the child and the employee. If the birth certificate or birth letter is not received, enrollment may not take place until the next annual enrollment period or an OGB Plan-Recognized Qualified Life Event.
Q Can I continue coverage if the primary plan member is deceased?
A The surviving legal spouse and/or legal dependent of an employee or retiree may continue coverage unless or until the surviving legal spouse and/or legal dependent is or becomes eligible for coverage in a Group Health Plan other than Medicare.

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Health Plans Offered by OGB

Q What plans am I eligible for?
Pelican HRA1000Pelican HRA1000Pelican HRA1000
Pelican HSA775Magnolia Local PlusMagnolia Local Plus
Magnolia Local PlusMagnolia Open AccessMagnolia Open Access
Magnolia Open AccessMagnolia LocalMagnolia Local
Magnolia LocalVantage Medical Home HMOVantage Medical Home HMO
Vantage Medical Home HMO  Via Benefits
  HMO Louisiana (Blue Advantage)
  Peoples Health HMO-POS
  Vantage Premium HMO-POS
  Vantage Standard HMO-POS
  Vantage Basic HMO-POS

Health Savings Account (HSA) - Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Pelican HSA775

Q How does an HSA work?
A A Health Savings Account, or HSA, is an employee-owned account used to pay for qualified medical expenses, including deductibles, medical co-pays, prescriptions and other eligible medical, dental and vision costs. To enroll in an OGB HSA, you must enroll in the Pelican HSA775. Both employees and employers can contribute to a HSA, but the funds are owned by the employee. The HSA funds are available even if you are no longer employed by an OGB-participating employer. The Pelican HSA plan is only available to Active Employees. For a list of covered expenses visit
Q How do I enroll into an HSA? Do I have to complete an application and fax it to HealthEquity?
A To enroll in an OGB HSA, you must first enroll in the Pelican HSA775 health plan. You can setup your HSA deduction with your human resources department or during annual enrollment. Your contributions are taken out of your check, pre-taxed, as a payroll deduction.
Q Does it rollover every year?
A Yes. Unused funds will rollover year after year. You won’t lose your money if you don’t spend it within the year.
Q Is there a maximum amount you can rollover in the HSA yearly?
A No. There is no maximum on the amount you can rollover in the HSA account.
Q Can retirees participate in the HSA plan?
A No. The Pelican HSA plan is only available to Active Employees.
Q What happens if I get a new job?
A If you get a new job with a non-OGB participating employer, you can still use your HSA. It is yours to keep and the funds in it will remain available for your use.
Q How do I use the money?
A You will receive a debit card that can be used to pay for eligible expenses.
Q Who should I contact if I have questions about my Health Savings Account?
A You have 24/7 access to HealthEquity's Customer Call Center at: 1-877-987-8123 or email
Q How long does it take to receive the welcome kit and debit card after HSA is opened?
A A debit card and welcome kit will arrive in separate mailings within 10 business days of HSA being opened. The welcome kit will introduce you to how your HSA works, how to access your account online, ways to contribute and use your HSA funds, the benefits of maximizing your contributions, and useful online banking tools and HSA resources.
Q I received my card and welcome packet from HealthEquity. Do I have to return anything?
A Yes. You must complete and return the HSA Signature Card and beneficiary election form that is enclosed in your welcome letter. Please review the information, make any necessary additions or corrections, sign it where indicated, and return the form to HealthEquity, the custodian of your HSA, in the provided envelope within 10 business days of receiving it.
Q How much can an employee contribute to their HSA?
A The maximum annual contribution that can be made to an HSA during 2020, including employer contributions, is:
  • Individual Pelican HSA775 coverage: $3,550
  • Family Pelican HSA775 coverage: $7,100
  • $1000 catch-up maximum for those who qualify
Q Can I change my monthly contributions throughout the year?
A You must set up an initial deduction amount when you first enroll in the plan. However, you can change the amount of the deduction throughout the policy year, up to once a month. You may change your deduction by turning in an updated GB-79 to your HR department.
Q Can I contribute additional monies over the maximum to the HSA?
A An employee who is over 55 years of age may contribute an additional $1000 to their HSA account yearly.
Q How do I set up my HSA deductions?
A You can set up your HSA deduction with your human resources department or you can enroll during annual enrollment.
Q Who can contribute to my HSA?
A Anyone can contribute to your HSA.
Q Will these deductions be monthly or bi-weekly?
A The deduction is based on your payroll schedule.
Q When will the HSA $200.00 employer contribution be available to the employee?
A The $200.00 employer contribution is available the month following OGB’s receipt of payment from the agency.
Q When will my contributed deductions or employer match contributions be available?
A HSA employee contributions and employer match contributions will be available the following month after the deductions or employer match contributions are taken from the employee’s check. Example: Deductions taken in the month of March will be available for the employee in the month of April.
Q Do employees need to keep track of deposits from their HSA?
A Yes. Employees should keep a record of all transactions in and out of their HSA so they can supply documentation on their deposits and expenditures, if needed. It is up to the accountholder to monitor the deposits made to and from their HSA.
Q How do I check my HSA balance?
A Upon enrollment, you will receive a welcome kit with instructions on how to access your account.
Q Can my employer control how I spend my money?
A You own the money in your HSA. Your employer cannot control how you use the funds.
Q Can the HSA money be used for a family member not on my plan?
A Yes. HSA funds can be used for you, your spouse or eligible dependents (as identified on your Federal tax return) even if they are not covered by the Pelican HSA775 plan.
Q What are the benefits of enrolling into a HSA and a Limited-Purpose FSA?
A Putting monies in a Limited-Purpose FSA for dental and vision expenses frees up the HSA monies to be used for medical expenses or be rolled over to create a larger HSA balance to be used in the future.
Q Can I use my HSA on Dental or Vision care?
A Yes, the IRS lists approved medial, dental, and vision expenses that are HSA eligible. HealthEquity provides a copy of this list on their website at

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Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Pelican HRA1000

Q What is a Health Reimbursement Arrangement?
A A Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or HRA, is an account that employers use to reimburse employees' healthcare expenses, such as deductibles, medical co-pays, eligible medical costs, and does not include prescription drugs. The HRA funds are available as long as you remain employed by an OGB-participating employer.
Q How much does my agency contribute to the HRA?
A Your agency contributes $1,000 annually for a single (employee only) and $2,000 annually for a family to your HRA at the beginning of the plan year.
Q How does an HRA work?
A The HRA is handled by BCBS on behalf of the employee. BCBS uses the HRA account to pay the provider (doctor or hospital) when a medical claim is submitted. The HRA is only for eligible medical expenses and does not include prescription drugs.
Q Who can contribute to the HRA account?
A The HRA is funded by the employer. This means, when medical expenses occur and qualify for reimbursement, BCBS claims administration applies HRA funds from the member's HRA account.
Q Does it rollover every year?
A Yes. Unused funds will rollover until it reaches your in-network out-of-pocket maximum. So for example, if you are on an employee-only plan, your unused funds will rollover until it reaches $5,000.
Q What happens if I get a new job?
A HRAs are not portable – meaning if you get a new job with a non-OGB participating employer, you will not be able to take your account with you or use the funds still in it.
Q Can I use HRA funds for pharmacy charges?
A No, only eligible medical services may be reimbursed by HRA funds.
Q Whom do I contact if I have a question about the funds in my HRA?
A You may contact Blue Cross at 1-800-392-4089.
Q Can I enroll into a Flexible Spending account if I have an HRA?
A Yes, if you are an active full-time employee, a General-Purpose FSA or Limited-Purpose FSA may be used with an HRA.
Q How will I know when my HRA funds are exhausted?
A The HRA pays for 100% of covered out-of-pocket medical expenses until the HRA is exhausted. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana’s Explanation of Benefits will indicate the funds available for reimbursement. Then, you will pay the full contracted amount for that service, until you meet the remaining balance of your deductible and/or any coinsurance amount.

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Via Benefits

Q What is Via Benefits?
A Via Benefits is a broker that offers members access to individual Medicare plans from multiple carriers. Via Benefits is an OGB-approved broker of individual Medicare plans.
Q What do they do?
A They offer retirees with Medicare access to individual Medicare plans from multiple carriers and are available to counsel retirees to select the best plan for them.
Q Are they the insurer?
A No, they are the Broker of Record.
Q Do they provide prescription drug coverage?
A The plans they offer may or may not have a drug component – it will depend on the individual plan. You are encouraged to speak with a Via Benefits Benefit Advisor for more detailed benefit information, 1-855-663-4228.
Q What are my plan options with Via Benefits?
A Via Benefits works with the top national and regional insurance companies to ensure that you will have quality individual plan options. There will likely be individual plans available that are similar to your current group plan, but there may be plans better suited to your needs. Multiple options give you the ability to find a plan that closely matches your specific needs. We encourage you to contact Via Benefits and speak with a Benefit Advisor, 1-855-663-4228.
Q If I enroll in a plan through Via Benefits, can I return to an OGB plan at a later date?
A Yes.
Q Does Via Benefits offer plans that cover me in multiple states? Are there plans that cover me when I travel domestically or internationally?
A Medigap plans are accepted by every Medicare-participating provider in the United States, with some emergency benefits worldwide. If you travel frequently or live part of the year out-of-state, these plans may be right for you. Part D plans provide nationwide coverage from participating pharmacies. While Medicare Advantage plans cover urgent and emergency services nationwide, some may not provide nationwide coverage for non-emergency services. If you live part of the year out-of-state, Medicare Advantage plans may not be right for you.
Q How much will I receive in my HRA account?
A OneExchange plan also includes an employer contribution of $200 (retiree only) to $300 (retiree and spouse) per month which can be used to offset eligible medical costs.
Q What is Medigap?
A Medigap (also known as Medicare Supplement) plans work with Medicare. Medicare continues to be the primary payer of medical expenses. A Medigap plan pays for expenses that Medicare partially covers. You must have Medicare Part A & Part B in order to enroll in a Medigap plan.
Q Do I need to keep paying my Medicare Part B premium?
A Yes. To qualify for a Medigap or Medicare Advantage plan, beneficiaries must be enrolled in and continue to pay for Medicare Part B.
Q Will I have to pay for my new health plan when I enroll?
A When you enroll, you will need to begin making premium payments to the insurance company to maintain your coverage. Some companies may require the first month’s premium payment during the application process. In this case, expect to make a payment within a few days of your enrollment. To expedite your enrollment call, have your payment information ready when you contact us. Most insurance companies give you several billing options for ongoing payments: direct billing, Electronic Funds Transfer from your checking account, or automatic deduction from your Social Security check.
Q If I need assistance can someone else speak with a benefit advisor on my behalf?
A Yes, but this person can only complete your enrollment if they have your medical Power of Attorney. You may provide your Power of Attorney information to us online in advance of your call to expedite your enrollment.
Q What is a Zero Premium Plan?
A A plan that has no premium.

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Flexible Benefits

Q What is a Flexible Benefits plan?
A A flexible benefits plan allows you to pay for certain benefits before your money is taxed. For example, with a flexible benefit plan you can transfer money out of every paycheck and put it in a Flexible Spending Arrangement (FSA) option before it's taxed. The FSA you choose allows you to set aside money, before it’s taxed, to pay for health care, out-of-pocket expenses, dental and vision expenses and dependent care expenses. The FSA Visa debit card is provided to pay for expenses at doctor’s offices, hospitals, and pharmacies.
Q What options do I have?
A If you’re not enrolled in an OGB health plan, you can still take advantage of flexible benefits. We offer the following options: General-Purpose FSA; Limited-Purpose FSA; Dependent Care FSA.
Q What is a General-Purpose FSA?
A The General-Purpose FSA (GPFSA) allows you to set aside money every month that you can use for out-of-pocket medical expenses like co-pays, deductibles, prescriptions, braces, crowns, dentures, contacts, eyeglasses, laser eye surgery and other costs. The benefit is that your money is set aside before it’s taxed. So, enrolling in the GPFSA means you have more to spend on those expenses than you would if you waited and spent the money after it was in your paycheck and taxed. You must re-enroll each year to continue participation.
Q What is a Limited-Purpose FSA?
A The Limited-Purpose FSA is a similar concept to the GPFSA, but like the name says, it’s more limited. It can only be used for dental and vision expenses. You must re-enroll each year to continue participation.
Q Can I have a General-Purpose FSA and a Limited-Purpose FSA?
A No. You cannot be enrolled in both plans at the same time.
Q What are the General-Purpose and Limited-Purpose limits?
A The limits for both the General-Purpose and Limited-Purpose are the same, minimum $600.00 and a maximum of $2,700.00. These limits are subject to change annually by the IRS.
Q What is the Dependent Care FSA?
A A Dependent Care FSA allows you to set aside pre-tax money to pay for dependent care expenses while you’re at work. That includes your young children under age 13 who reside in your household, in daycare and elderly or disabled dependents, who cannot care for themselves. And like the other FSA options, you must re-enroll each year.
Q What are the Dependent Care limits?
A The amount you can set aside for dependent care expenses is limited to: $2,500 for single parents or married couples who file taxes separately; and $5,000 for married couples who file jointly, or single and filing as head of household, or married with incapacitated spouse.
Q How does a Flexible Benefits plan work?

When you enroll in a flexible benefits plan, you agree to contribute a portion of your salary to pay for qualified benefits. Because you never receive that portion of your salary, it’s not considered wages for federal income tax purposes. That money goes directly into the account you specify and can be used according to the IRS rules. Your enrollment is irrevocable for the Plan Year, unless you have an OGB Plan-Recognized Qualifying Life Event.

To be eligible, you must be an active, full-time employee. You have thirty (30) days from the date of hire to decide to enroll. If you do not enroll after 30 days of your hire date, you can enroll during next year’s annual enrollment or after an OGB Plan-Recognized Qualified Life Event like childbirth or marriage.

Both the General-Purpose FSA and the Limited-Purpose FSA plan options also allow you to be reimbursed for medical expenses for your dependent children up to age 27.

You select an option and elect a contribution amount for the plan year. The minimum and the maximum are determined each year by the I.R.S. For 2019 Plan Year, the minimum contribution was $600 and the maximum was $2550 for the General-Purpose FSA and Limited-Purpose FSA. You will receive a Visa debit card, which is your FSA card, and it works like a debit card for your flexible spending account. Your pre-tax money is in your account and can be used to pay for eligible expenses at your doctor’s office, pharmacy or other provider. The election is like a loan and monies are immediately available for the General-Purpose FSA and Limited-Purpose FSA. A per pay period amount is taken out of your check and placed into your account.

Q If I join the Flexible Benefits Plan, will I ever have to pay taxes on the money I put into the plan?

Generally, no. Flexible benefits contributions are reported as non-taxable wages and income on your W-2. If the IRS audits you, you will need to show total expenses and receipts from your service provider(s). So keep a copy of your reimbursement request forms and receipts for your records.

However, it is important to note: Your benefits may become taxable wages reportable on your W-2 Form if you fail to timely substantiate (verify) a debit card transaction as a qualifying medical expense or use your debit card for ineligible expenses.

Q What is “Automatic Enrollment” in the Flexible Benefits Premium Conversion?
A When you enroll in one of OGB’s health plans, you automatically become a participant in the Flex Plan under the Premium Conversion option. The premium conversion option means that you pay for your health plan with pre-tax dollars, giving you more take-home pay in each paycheck. If you’re not enrolled in an OGB health plan, but enroll in another voluntary product, you will also become a participant in the premium conversion option. Once you enroll in the premium conversion option, you don’t have to re-enroll. You will stay enrolled until you choose to end your participation in an OGB health plan.
Q How can I contact the flexible spending arrangement administrator, if I have a question about my account?
A Discovery Benefits, Inc. (DBI) is OGB's third-party administrator for the flexible spending arrangement (FSA). Participants may call DBI, toll-free, at 1-866-451-3399, or visit online at, or send a fax to 1-866-451-3245.
Q Can I have a General-Purpose FSA with a Health Savings Account?
A No. However, you can elect to have a Limited-Purpose FSA for dental and vision only.
Q Does the FSA roll over to the next year?
A No. You must re-enroll in a FSA every year.
Q Do I have to pay an annual fee?
A Yes. When you enroll in a FSA you also agree to pay the administrative annual fee, which is $34.80 annually divided equally per the number of pay periods in the Flex Plan Year.
Q What if I didn’t sign up during annual enrollment, but I get married or have a baby during the year and would like to have a FSA?
A There are times when you may want to enroll in a General-Purpose (medical) or Dependent Care FSA in the middle of the year. Say, you have a baby in June and want to start paying for daycare through a FSA. You can enroll in the middle of the year, if you experience an OGB Plan-Recognized Qualifying Life Event (QLE). The list of Qualifying Events are available on the OGB website, under Resources, and will help you to determine whether or not you can enroll in a FSA outside of annual enrollment.
Q What if I don’t use all of my money? Do I get it reimbursed to me at the end of the year?
A No. The I.R.S. has a “use it or lose it” rule for FSAs. Participants are encouraged to use their FSA monies during the Flex plan year which is January 1 through December 31, and before the end of the Grace Period which is March 15th of the following year.
Q What is a Grace Period and Run-Out Period?

Two of the most important concepts to understand about FSAs are the Grace Period and Run-Out Period. Money in a FSA account should be used by the end of December for the calendar year enrolled. For example, if you enroll in a FSA during annual enrollment of 2015, you should use your funds by December of 2016.

But, there is a Grace Period following the Flex Plan Year that lasts until March 15 of each year, which allows you to use the previous year’s flexible spending funds to pay for expenses incurred during the Grace Period. If you still haven’t used the money in your account by the end of the Grace Period, you’ll lose it.

The Run-Out Period lasts until April 30 for submitting claims. You have to have all your claims in by April 30, to be able to cover your expenses with your previous year’s money.

Q What happens after I enroll in a FSA and I want to get reimbursed?
The FSA Visa debit card will auto-substantiate for office providers and co-pays. See below for the process.
General-Purpose or Limited-Purpose FSA Reimbursement Process
  • You received a green VISA debit card from Discovery Benefits, Inc. – the FSA administrator for OGB. The funds are immediately available to use on your debit card after you validate the card.
  • PIN numbers can be set up for your benefits debit card by calling Discovery Benefits’ automated response system at 1-866-451-3399. Make sure you have your card available for reference:
    • option 1 to identify that you are a participant
    • option 2 to identify your plan
    • option 3 to select a PIN
  • You’ve made an appointment to see the doctor about your knee hurting and get treated
  • When paying your bill at the doctor’s office, you swipe your green Visa debit card and ask for a receipt for the card and an itemized bill of your visit – keep these receipts to substantiate your claims
  • You can send these receipts to substantiate your claim to Discovery Benefits in 3 ways:
    • Fax these receipts and itemized bill to Discovery Benefits at fax number 1-866-451-3245. For all other out of pocket medical expenses, Discovery Benefits’ Out-of-Pocket Reimbursement Request form and fax receipts with the form to 1-866-451-3245 ; or
    • Mail these receipts to Discovery Benefits and a completed Discovery Benefits’ Out-of-Pocket Reimbursement Request form (only if you did not use your Visa debit card) and mail to:
      Discovery Benefits, Inc. P. O. Box 2926 Fargo, ND 58108-2926; or
    • Computer – enter your claim information online; upload your receipts; and your reimbursement will be processed once your information is received.
    • You will automatically receive a check for reimbursement unless you enroll in direct deposit. Signing up for free direct deposit through your online account at will allow funds to be sent electronically to your checking or savings account. There is no reimbursement limit applied to direct deposit.
Dependent Care Reimbursement Process
  • Dependent Care Flexible Spending Arrangement (DCFSA) reimbursement process with Discovery Benefits, Inc (DBI) is different.
  • DCFSA reimbursement process takes a little longer in the beginning, after the initial DCFSA deposit is posted in their system
  • Afterwards, DCFSA reimbursement will be more frequent.
  • DBI does a weekly reimbursement sending the weekly amount that is stated on their Recurring Dependent Care Request Form .
  • The Recurring Dependent Care Request Form can be found on the OGB website, under OGB Forms, under Flexible Benefits Plan
  • Signing up for free direct deposit through your online account at will allow funds to be sent electronically to your checking or savings account. There is no reimbursement limit applied to direct deposit.
  • You can send the form in 2 ways to Discovery Benefits:
    1. Fax
      • Download, print and complete the form.
      • Fax the form along with your receipts to fax number 1-866-451-3245.
    2. Mail
      • Download, print and complete the form.
      • Mail the form along with your receipts to: Discovery Benefits Inc.; P. O. Box 2926; Fargo, ND 58108-2926
Q Can I enroll in a FSA during the middle of the year?
A You can enroll in a FSA only after experiencing an OGB Plan-Recognized Qualified Life Event provided for in the FSA Plan Document, or the Flexible Benefits Plan Summary.
Q Can the out-of pocket medical expenses for my wife and dependents be reimbursed through the General-Purpose FSA?
A Yes, as long as they are your taxed dependents and you are enrolled in a GPFSA.
Q I am a state employee and my spouse is a state employee, can we each have a General-Purpose FSA?
A Yes. However, you both cannot get reimbursed for the same receipts.
Q Can Rehired Retirees enroll into an FSA Plan?
A Yes, as long as they are full-time active and the deductions comes from their active check.
Q Do I need to keep my receipts?
A Yes, please save all receipts related to your FSA purchases. For some expenses, you may be required to provide additional information, including itemized receipts or explanation of benefits, to verify eligibility of the expense. Besides saving all receipts, be sure to provide them promptly when requested. If you fail to submit documentation when requested, the FSA plan administrator is required to declare those expenses ineligible and you’ll have to reimburse your account.
Q How do I submit documentation?
A The easiest ways to upload documentation are by logging in to your account at or by using the free Discovery Benefits mobile app. If you choose to fax your documentation, please just be sure to include the receipt reminder for smooth processing.
Q What type of detail needs to be included in my documentation?
A The IRS requires that participants provide:
  • Date service was received or purchase made
  • Description of service or item purchased
  • Dollar amount (after insurance, if applicable)
  • Name of merchant/provider
Q Why do I have to substantiate the services? Isn’t it my money?
A Yes, the money put in is yours to use for qualified expenses. However, in order to utilize this money without paying taxes you must follow the IRS rules. As such, the plan is required to substantiate claims for all debit card transactions. For debit card transactions that can be approved by one of the IRS approved electronic methods, you will not need to provide a receipt, but you will need to keep copies of all receipts for all services you use the debit card for.
Q How would I know if I need to substantiate a claim?
A If Discovery Benefits doesn’t receive enough detail from the provider when you use your benefits debit card, you’ll receive a request for an itemized receipt.
Q What is the Substantiation Process?
  1. Debit Card is swiped and the merchant is paid at this time
  2. The claim is processed with Discovery Benefits, and is automatically run through our standard auto substantiation procedures (copay match, IIAS match, and recurring expense match)
    • If there is a match, the claim is approved and no action is needed
    • If there is a match, the claim is approved and no action is needed
  3. If the claim is not approved from #2, then it moves to a Pending Auto Substantiation status, to see if the claim will come on the debit card substantiation file feed
    • The claim remains in this status for 60 days to allow the file to process
    • If there is a match on the file, the claim is approved, and no action is needed
    • If not, the debit card follow up process begins with #4
  4. The First Receipt Reminder is sent.
    • If documentation is sent in and is acceptable, the claim is approved, and there is no additional action needed
    • If no documentation is sent in, the claim moves to 5
  5. 20 Days after the First Receipt Reminder is sent, the Second Receipt Reminder is sent
    • If documentation is sent in and is acceptable, the claim is approved, and there is no additional action needed
    • If no documentation is sent in, the claim moves to 6
  6. 20 Days after the Second Receipt Reminder is sent, the Overdue Notice is sent
    • If documentation is sent in and is acceptable, the claim is approved, and there is no additional action needed
    • If no documentation is sent in, the claim moves to 7
  7. 20 Days after the Overdue Notice is sent, the Denial Letter with Request for Repayment is sent
    • The claim is denied and the card for this specific plan year is suspended overnight

The Request for More Information is sent if the participant sends us documents, but we are not able to approve. The RMI adds a 30 day window to the above timeline.

Q If I used my card at a hospital or dental office, shouldn’t my claim be automatically approved?

Unfortunately, not all expenses from a hospital or dental office are FSA-eligible. For example, some hospital gift stores sell flowers that could still be coded as “hospital” expenses, and some dental offices provide elective services like teeth whitening that could still be coded as “dental” expenses. Unfortunately, these are not FSA-eligible. By obtaining supporting documentation, we’re able to verify the eligibility of the expense to maintain compliance with IRS regulations.

Q Can a FSA debit card transaction be declined when the provider swipes the card?

Yes. There are some situations in which a debit card transaction can be denied by a pharmacy or other location. This can happen if:

  • You may be at an ineligible location
  • You may be asking for more money than what you have elected and/or contributed
  • Your card might have been temporarily suspended because your account is not in good standing OR because there is additional information required for previous transaction(s)
  • The card might not have been correctly re-activated since being suspended for additional information subsequently received
  • The valid location you are at has been identified in the system as an invalid location
  • The card’s magnetic strip has been compromised
  • The merchant’s “credit swipe machine” may be malfunctioning
  • You have swiped the card yourself and indicated “debit” (which refers to a bank account card) rather than indicating “charge”
Q What should I do if my debit card is declined at the merchant’s location?

You should go ahead and pay for the service and then contact the FSA plan administrator, Discovery Benefits, to determine if it is due to funds availability or card technicality. You can then submit a manual claim for reimbursement from your account.

Q How do I know how much is in my FSA account?

You can visit your FSA portal to view your account activity and current balance. Or you can call the FSA plan administrator, at 1-866-451-3399. It’s a good idea to know your account balance before you make a purchase with your debit card.

Q What happens if I don’t spend all of the money? Where does it go?

You will forfeit the money that remains in your account. Any excess funds are kept by the employer and can be used to offset the costs of administering the program. The IRS regulations require this, and do not allow employers to return the money to plan participants or to carry unused funds over to the next plan year.

Q Can I use my Health Care FSA to reimburse outstanding medical expenses from the prior year? (Special Note on Orthodontia)

No, expenses must be incurred during the current plan year. The only exception to this rule is orthodontics. You can use your FSA to cover payments made for braces, even if the braces were put on before the start of the current plan year.

Q Are expenses for orthodontia covered under the FSA?

Orthodontia expenses are eligible under the Health FSA. Most orthodontia is paid in monthly installments. The monthly payments within your plan year are eligible for reimbursement. We require a copy of the financial contract between you and the orthodontist. Also, the down payment is eligible as long as it is billed within your current plan year.

Q What do I need to submit for my orthodontia claim?

You will need to submit a copy of the orthodontia contract specifying start date, length of treatment, total cost for the treatment and the payment schedule.

Q What happens to my FSA if I terminate employment in the middle of a plan year?

You will have a specific amount of time, called the run-out period, during which you can submit claims that were incurred prior to your termination date. The run-out period for the prior plan year ends on April 30 of the subsequent year. For example, the run-out period for Plan Year 2020 ends April 30, 2021. You may not be reimbursed for any claims incurred after your termination date. However, you may be able to continue your Health Care FSA coverage under COBRA.

Q I don’t know how much I should contribute. What do most people do?

There is no amount that will be right for everyone. FSA elections vary greatly, depending on the individual participant and his or her particular situation. You should make your election by carefully examining your expected out of pocket health care expenses for the upcoming year.

Q Does my daycare provider need to be licensed in order to use the Dependent Care FSA?

No, you can use the Dependent Care FSA to cover expenses for anyone who watches your children while you and your spouse are working. It can even be a family member, as long as that person is not your tax dependent. The only rules that apply are that you must provide the Social Security number or Tax ID of your daycare provider, and that person must claim the income.

Q My spouse is a stay at home parent, can I use the Dependent Care FSA to pay for preschool?

No, the regulations state that care must be rendered so that both you and your spouse can be gainfully employed, look for gainful employment or attend school.

Q Can I transfer money from my Health Care FSA to my Dependent Care FSA?

No, you can use funds only for the purpose for which the election was initially made. IRS regulations do not allow funds to be transferred or commingled between accounts. So, the money in your Health Care FSA may only be used for health care expenses and your Dependent Care FSA may only pay for dependent care expenses.

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Live Better Louisiana

Q What is Live Better Louisiana?
A Live Better Louisiana is a proactive approach to prevent illness and to manage any conditions that do appear. The program is available to OGB members enrolled in a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Pelican or Magnolia plan. The goal of this plan is to keep OGB members healthier by providing improved access to preventive healthcare and resources to help them better manage their health, understand their risk factors, and make educated choices related to their care. You can receive a wellness credit by participating in the Live Better program.
Q Who is eligible to participate in the Live Better Louisiana program?
A Only the primary plan member is eligible to participate in the Live Better Louisiana program.
Q How does it work?
A The primary plan member can receive a wellness credit (through their payroll system) by participating in the Live Better Louisiana program, which is a simple two-step process.
  1. 1. Receiving a preventive health screening or have your doctor complete a primary care provider form (PCP) after your annual wellness visit. OGB is providing clinics across the state that screen for cholesterol, glucose levels and liver function. You’ll leave the clinic with a personalized health plan and referrals to appropriate specialists, primary care physicians or disease management programs. The process must be completed each year.
Q Where can I find a list of clinics in my area?
A We are currently working the clinic schedule for the Plan Year 2020. Please check the Catapult Health Scheduler webpage for the list of clinics scheduled to date.
Q I don’t have access to a computer. How do I complete my Personal Health Assessment (PHA)?
  • Your local library has computers with free internet access.
  • You can visit a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana district office:
    • Alexandria: 4508 Coliseum Blvd, Suite A, Alexandria, LA 71303
    • Baton Rouge: 5525 Reitz Avenue, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
    • Houma: 1437 St. Charles Street, Suite 135, Houma, LA 70360
    • Lafayette: 5501 Johnston Street, Lafayette, LA 70503
    • Lake Charles: 219 W. Prien Lake Road, Lake Charles, LA 70601
    • Monroe: 2360 Tower Drive, Suite 102, Monroe, LA 71201
    • New Orleans: 3501 North Causeway Boulevard, Suite 600, Metairie, LA 70002
    • Shreveport: 411 Ashley Ridge Blvd., Shreveport, LA 71106
  • You can visit the OGB office located at 1201 N. 3rd St, Suite G-159, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
  • Consider asking a family member for assistance or to use their computer
Q What’s the discount for participating in the Live Better wellness program?
A Members will receive a $120 annual ($10 monthly) premium credit on their 2019 BCBSLA health coverage.
Q If I can’t go to a clinic, can I still get a discount?
A Yes. There is a form available that you can bring to your physician that can be used to show you had your annual physical.

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Stronger Than Care Mangement

Q What is the disease management program offered to BCBSLA members?
A Stronger Than Care Management is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana’s disease management program for Active Employees and Non-Medicare Retirees. This program offers support for members who have chronic conditions such as health coaching, low cost prescriptions, and educational materials.
Q Who is eligible for Stronger Than?
A To enroll, you must:
  • Be enrolled in a Pelican or Magnolia health plan;
  • Not have Medicare as primary health coverage;
  • Have been diagnosed with one or more of the following health conditions:
    • Diabetes
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Heart failure
    • Asthma
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Q How do I join Stronger Than?

This program is part of your health plan as long as Medicare is not your primary coverage. If eligible, you must enroll and speak with a Blue Cross Health Coach at least once every three months (or 90 days) or more often as requested by the health coach to remain an active participant in the program.

To enroll or confirm your enrollment, call a Blue Cross Health Coach toll-free at 1-800-363-9159.

Q What can Stronger Than do for me?
  • Learn more about your condition and how it affects you.
  • Find out how to work with your doctor to manage or improve your health.
  • Understand more about the medicines you take and why you take them.
  • Receive health information to help you understand, manage, and improve your condition.
Q What is a Health Coach?
A Health coaches are Blue Cross nurses or healthcare professionals who:
  • Give you individual support and attention;
  • Help you set healthcare goals;
  • Assist with coordinating your care;
  • Serve as your advocates and advisors;
  • Give you important health information;
  • Help you find qualified physicians, and
  • Reduce the barriers to good health outcomes.
Q How can InHealth save you money on prescriptions?

Co-pays for drugs specifically prescribed for treating diabetes, coronary artery disease, heart failure, asthma and COPD are discounted when you participate in the program.

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Vantage Wellness and Disease Management Programs

Q I’m a member of a Vantage Health Plan. What are my options for wellness?
A Members of a Vantage Health Plan can participate in Vantage Wellness. This is an online program designed to encourage healthy lifestyle habits. The new website has tools that allow you to track your progress and exercise routines, learn about healthy activities, and keep up with earned Wellness Points. Then you can use those points to register for prize drawings.
Q How do I earn points on the Vantage Plans?
A Members can earn up to three points per week. Points can be earned by:
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes three times a week (3-30 minute sessions/week) along with watching the weekly video
  • Not using any tobacco products
  • Having your BMI (Body Mass Index) less than 30 at the end of the month or losing one pound each month
Q If I select a Vantage plan, how do I sign up for their Wellness program?
  1. Create your new account at
  2. When creating your account, you will be asked to enter your height and weight. This information will determine which program best suits your lifestyle. Individualized programs include the following: Health Maintenance, Weight Loss, Tobacco Cessation and a combination Weight Loss/Tobacco Cessation program.
Q Does Vantage offer gym membership discounts?
A The newest incentive offered by Vantage Wellness includes discounted gym memberships with local popular gyms. This option allows participants the opportunity to establish a regular workout regimen in a health-centered environment at a more affordable price. Along with the new website, Vantage Wellness has also developed a free smartphone app, which makes tracking your progress even easier and more convenient.
Q What are Vantage’s Disease Management Programs?
A Vantage Health Plan’s Disease Management Programs (DMPs) are educational programs for members with certain chronic conditions. The purpose of the DMPs is to help members better self-manage their chronic conditions. Vantage Health Plan offers the following DMPs:
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Failure
Q How do Vantage’s DMPs work?
A Once enrolled in one of the DMPs, a clinical pharmacist will contact the member to talk about their chronic conditions. The pharmacist will also send educational and health-reminder mailings, perform a complete medication review, and offer daily self-care tips to help better manage their conditions and set health care goals.
Q What is the cost to participate?
A Vantage Health Plan’s DMPs are available at no cost to members.
Q How do I sign up?
A Call a Vantage Clinical Disease Management Pharmacist toll-free at (888) 316-7907.

Life Insurance

Q What is the name of my Life Insurance company through the Office of Group Benefits?
A The Prudential Insurance Company of America (Prudential)
Q What coverage is offered?
A Employee Term Life coverage
Dependents Term Life coverage
Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage
Q Does the Life Insurance Plan have a cash value?
A No, this is a term life policy
Q Can I add my legal dependents?
A Yes, your legal spouse, and legal children until they reach age 26.
Q Does my life insurance have a reduction in coverage?
A Yes, the life insurance will have two automatic reduction of 25% January 1 following your 65th and 70th birthday. (also premium reduces)
Q Do I have to prove good health for the Life Insurance?
A Newly hired employees who enroll within 30 days of employment are eligible for life insurance without providing evidence of insurability.
If enrollment is after 30 days evidence of insurability is required.
Q How do I change my beneficiaries?
A Active: Contact your Human Resources department.
Retired: Contact the Human Resources department where you retired or OGB.
Q Where can I review Life Insurance information, premiums and forms?
A OGB: website OGB Home page, OGB forms, Life Insurance
Q How can I make a Beneficiary Selection?
A Employee has a right to choose one or more beneficiaries. The employee is to complete a form and submit it to their Human Resources department.
Q How does the beneficiary submit a death certificate?
A Beneficiaries or estate should complete the Group Life Insurance Claim form and submit it to the deceased employee/retiree’s HR Department.
Q What is the timeline for filing a life insurance claim?
A Life insurance claims cannot be done after a 10 year period.
Q If I am terminated from employment can I convert my policy?
A Yes, when an employee’s employment terminates, the employee can convert their group term life coverage to an individual term life insurance contract policy.
Q Does the life insurance policy have a living benefit option?
A Yes, a terminally ill employee whose life expectancy is 6 months or less may apply for an accelerated payment of death benefits. Proof of terminal illness must be received by Prudential within six months or less of life expectancy.
Q Do I have to re-enroll if I already have a life insurance plan through OGB?
A No
Q Will I still be able to carry my life Insurance coverage after I retire?
A Yes
Q Can I add my spouse and/or dependents to my life insurance plan?
A Yes, spouses and children up to age 26. Plan members currently enrolled who wish to add dependent life coverage for a spouse can by providing Evidence of Insurability. Eligible dependent children can be added without providing Evidence of Insurability.
Q Does the employer contribute to my spouse or dependent contribution?
A No, the employee pays 100% of dependent life premiums.
Q Who is eligible for Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage?
A Full-time employees & retirees under age 70
Q Who do I need to speak with to get answers about Life insurance questions?
A Active employees: contact your Human Resources Department.
Retirees: contact the agency HR Department you retired from or OGB
Q How do I find out the face value of my Life Insurance?
A Active employees should check with their human resources department. Retirees may contact OGB or send a letter to OGB requesting amount. Make sure to sign and date the information.

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The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA)

Q I received a letter in the mail about COBRA. What is COBRA?

The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985, made allowance for those who lost health coverage, due to job loss, to continue health benefits for a period of time. If you have recently changed employment status (left your employer), you are eligible for a temporary extension of group health coverage, and you have received a letter from Discovery Benefits, Inc. (DBI). Discovery Benefits is OGB’s third-party administrator for FSA, COBRA and FSA COBRA.

If you are a new hire to state government, you have received a COBRA Specific Rights Notice Letter provided to all newly hired employees for information purposes only to let you know your rights as an employee.

Q Who do I contact about COBRA coverage?
A You first must be termed in the OGB system by your agency, which then generates a file to DBI, who will process your information into the DBI COBRA system. Contact Discovery Benefits, Inc., OGB’s third-party administrator for FSA, COBRA and FSA COBRA, toll-free, at 1-866-451-3399, click option 1, click option 2.
Q What are qualifying events for COBRA?
A The most common qualifying events that result in a loss of coverage can be:
  1. Reduction in hours of the covered employee's employment;
  2. Voluntary or involuntary termination of the covered employee's employment other than for reason of gross misconduct (note that a retirement is considered a termination of employment);
  3. Death of the covered employee;
  4. Divorce or legal separation of the covered employee from the employee's spouse;
  5. Dependent child ceasing to be a dependent child under the generally applicable requirements of the plan.
Q How do I elect COBRA coverage?
A Once you are termed by your agency, your information is entered into the Discovery Benefits, Inc. (DBI) COBRA system. DBI will generate a COBRA Specific Rights Notice Letter (Letter) to the plan member the next business day to the current mailing address on file at OGB. The packet will include a waive or accept COBRA and/or FSA COBRA form; premium cost; where to mail the premium and form (not to OGB); how to pay online ($20 fee to pay online); and more. According to COBRA regulations, the plan member has 60 days from the date of the COBRA Specific Rights Notice Letter to elect coverage under COBRA.
Q Can I add dependents to my coverage while I’m on COBRA?
A Yes, please refer to the health plan guide for information on who qualifies as an eligible dependent. For example, a child born or placed for adoption can be added to the coverage within 30 days of the birth or adoption.
Q How long may I and/or my dependents continue coverage under COBRA?

Depending on the circumstances, you and/or your dependents may be eligible to continue coverage under COBRA for 18, 29, or 36 months.

18 months - If you are an employee that has lost coverage due to reduction in hours or termination of employment, you and any covered dependents may be eligible to continue coverage under COBRA for up to 18 months. The 18-month continuation period may be extended to a maximum of 36 months for covered dependents if a second qualifying event occurs during the 18-month continuation period. Second qualifying events may include death of the former employee, divorce or legal separation, and loss of dependent status under the plan. It is your responsibility to notify Discovery Benefits if you experience one of these events while on COBRA. Notification must be made within 60 days of the second qualifying event. Submit a completed Second Qualifying Event Form PDF along with a copy of the death certificate or the divorce decree, if applicable.

29 months - If you or one of your covered dependents is determined by the Social Security Administration to have been totally disabled on the date the Covered Person became eligible for continued coverage or within the initial 18 months of coverage, coverage under this Plan for all qualified beneficiaries with respect to the qualifying event may be extended at his or her own expense up to a maximum of 29 months from the date coverage would have otherwise terminated. Premiums during the additional 11 months of coverage may be at a substantially higher rate.

In order to apply for the disability extension, submit a completed Social Security Disability Extension (SSDE) Form PDF along with a copy of the determination letter.

36 months - When covered dependents lose coverage due to death of the employee, divorce or legal separation, loss of dependent status under the plan, or the employee becoming covered by Medicare, they may be eligible to continue coverage under COBRA for up to 36 months.

Please contact Discovery Benefits, Inc. (DBI) if any of the circumstances apply to you.

Q When are my COBRA premium payments due?
A Your initial premium payment must be postmarked within 45 days from the date you sent your election paperwork to Discovery Benefits. The initial premium includes all payments due between your first day of COBRA and the current month. For example, if your first day of COBRA is in July and you are making your initial premium payment in August, the first payment should include the premiums due for both July and August. Once Discovery Benefits processes your initial premium payment, your coverage will be reinstated retroactively back to your first day of COBRA. Your right to continue coverage under the plan will end if payment is not made within the required time. Discovery Benefits sends weekly paid through reports to the carriers on Tuesday mornings and then they allow at least 48 hours for the carriers to update their system to reflect active. Therefore, monthly payments, after the initial premium payment, need to be received on or prior to the first of every month to be applied on their accounts by midnight on Monday night in order to show up on the Tuesday Paid Through Report.
Q Where do I mail my COBRA payments?

Please mail all COBRA payments to COBRA Processing Center:

Discovery Benefits, Inc.
P.O. Box 2079
Omaha, NE 68103-2079

Q Can I mail or bring my COBRA premium to OGB?
A No. To ensure your COBRA premium is processed timely, please mail all COBRA payments directly to Discovery Benefits (see above question for address). You can also choose to pay online, with an additional fee.
Q Can I pay my COBRA premiums online?
A Yes, payments can be made online through Benefits Employer Portal.
Q What is Discovery Benefits’ telephone number?
A Discovery Benefits’ toll-free customer service telephone number for COBRA inquiries is 1-866-451-3399, press option 1 and then press option 2.
Q What are the Discovery Benefits’ hours of operation and how do I get payment information?

Discovery Benefits hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 6:00 am – 9:00 pm CT. If you would like to reach them after hours, they do have an interactive voice response available 24/7. The outline of Discovery Benefits’ after-hours IVR system to call and get payment information is:

  • 1-866-451-3399
  • Press option 1 for Account Information
  • Press option 2 for COBRA
  • Enter last 6 digits of your SSN
  • Enter 6 digits of your date of birth (Example 02/16/85)
  • Press 1 for Payment Information
  • The system will state when your next payment is due and the dollar amount. It will also state when your last payment was received and the dollar amount.
Q Can I email Discovery Benefits if I have a question?
A Yes, please direct all inquiries to Please do not submit documentation to this address, only inquires.

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Q How much will my employer contribute to my premium upon retirement?
A It depends on your years of participation in an OGB health plan.
Q When can I request my participation?
A A future retiree may request their participation at any time through their human resources department.
Q If I am actively employed and over 65, do I have to enroll in Medicare A & B?
A No. You can enroll in Medicare Part A and upon retirement enroll in Medicare Part B.
Q How can I get reduced rates once I receive my Medicare card?
A OGB becomes the secondary plan for a retiree who has Medicare A and B. When that occurs, the retiree’s monthly premium decreases. However, the premium reduction only applies for those retirees who have both Medicare A and Medicare B and after OGB receives a copy of the Medicare card.
Q What is Medicare VibrantRx?
A If you are enrolled in Medicare A and/or B and a Blue Cross health plan, Medicare VibrantRx will become your pharmacy provider. Medicare VibrantRx will provide you with a new prescription card. You should not enroll in a separate Medicare part D plan.
Q I understand there are different parts of Medicare. Can you explain what the most common parts are?
  • Medicare Part A covers hospitalization and is usually paid for in full at age 65.
  • Medicare Part B covers physician’s visits and requires a monthly premium to keep in force.
  • Medicare Part C is privately- offered plans that serve as an option to regular Medicare. It is most commonly referred to as Medicare Advantage.
  • Medicare Part D is prescription drug.
Q Can retirees participate in the HSA plan?
A No.
Q I have OGB coverage and I am also eligible for Medicare Parts A & B. Do I have to enroll in both?
A Yes. If you are eligible for Medicare Parts A & B, you are required by OGB rules to enroll in both. Failure to follow this rule will result in reduction or loss of claim benefits.
Q If I get Part B of Medicare, does that mean that I will be paying the full cost for OGB coverage and paying Medicare B coverage premium as well?
A Yes, but when you sign up for Medicare Part A & Part B, your OGB premiums are reduced. Visit our Premium Rates page for more information.
Q If I have Medicare Parts A and B along with an OGB policy, does my coverage include prescription drug benefits?
A Yes.
Q Can you tell me more about Medicare Advantage plans?
A Medicare Advantage plans are private plans that act as direct substitutions for Medicare. Eligible retirees can enroll in Medicare Advantage plans and, once they do so, those plans take over totally for Medicare. They can vary greatly in medical and drug benefits as well as premiums. In fact, some plans do not require a monthly premium.
Q How much can Medicare Advantage plans vary?
A Medicare Advantage plans can vary: in deductibles, co-payments, prescription drug coverage, and provider networks. They also vary in the geographical area covered. OGB encourages you to research your options and select a plan that best suits your needs.

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