Skip to Main Content View Text-Only

The City of Portland, Oregon

Office of Management & Finance

Bureau of Human Resources

Knowledgeable | Helpful | Responsive

Phone: 503-823-3572

Benefits Line: 503-823-6031

1120 SW 5th Ave, Room 987, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Open Enrollment FAQs

Open Enrollment (2019-2020)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Benefits annual open enrollment?

Annual open enrollment is a designated period during the year in which employees may change their benefit plans, for example switch their health plans or add dependents.

  • When is annual open enrollment?

May 10, 2019 through June 7, 2019 for the benefits plan year of July 1, 2010 – June 30, 2020.

  • I heard about the NEW Basic and Buy-Up Short Term Disability policies... Do I need to enroll during open enrollment?

The City is now offering Short-Term Disability to all benefits eligible employees, with the exception of Portland Police Association (PPA) members. Enrollment in the Basic Short-Term Disability plan is automatic. You may choose to enroll in the optional Buy-Up Short Term Disability plan, and this is your opportunity to enroll. If you decide to enroll at a later time, you will be subject to an extended waiting period of 60 days on your approved coverage.

  • May I enroll in the Buy-Up Long Term Disability plan even if I've previously been denied?

Even if you’ve been denied for Buy-Up Long Term Disability coverage in the past, all non-PPA employees can enroll during open enrollment--no questions asked. Your approval is guaranteed (subject to an extended waiting period when filing a claim).

  •  May I increase my Supplemental Life insurance and Spouse/Domestic Partner Life Insurance even if either have previously been denied?

During open enrollment, if you are enrolled in less than $300,000 Supplemental Life Insurance, you can increase your enrollment by up to $50,000--no questions asked. Your approval is guaranteed. Increased amount not to exceed the $300,000 allowable without medical history/underwriting.  

If you are enrolled in less than $30,000 Spouse/DP Life Insurance, you can increase your enrollment by $10,000--no questions asked. Your approval is guaranteed. Increased amount not to exceed the $30,000 allowable without medical history/underwriting.

You may sign-up for supplemental life insurance above those guaranteed issue amounts at any time by requesting the coverage amount within your benefits online account. Additionally, you will need to complete and submit a Medical History Statement to The Standard Insurance Company to make a determination of approving your request.

You are encouraged to use The Standard’s Electronic Evidence of Insurability system (EEOI), which allows you to submit your application electronically, directly and securely to The Standard.  Please follow this link to The Standard’s Electronic Evidence of Insurability system:  The information you are submitting through Standard’s site and is protected by encryption technology to ensure your confidentiality.  Completing your Evidence on Insurability online will ensure your application is processed within 30 days, compared to up to 90 days with a paper form.  Our plan name is City of Portland and the group number is 488980.

  • Do I need to do anything if I don’t want to make changes?

If you do not make any changes during open enrollment your prior benefit elections, including your medical/dental/vison plans, will carry over to the new plan year with the exception of the flexible spending accounts (formerly known as MERP & DCAP), which you have to re-elect each plan year. In addition, there are also new Basic and Buy-Up Short Term Disability policies that are now available to employees! We encourage you to visit your benefits online account even if you are not making any changes to review for accuracy including: current elections, dependent information and life insurance beneficiary information. Kaiser participants also need to provide annual permission for the City to receive data (name, DOB, last four SSN) as part of the Preventive Care Initiative.

  • May I make changes outside of the annual open enrollment period?

Changes are normally not allowed outside of the open enrollment period. However, you may make changes outside of the annual open enrollment period only if you experience a life event such as: birth/adoption of child, marriage, divorce and loss/gain of other coverage.   Qualified life events must be reported to the Health & Financial Benefits Office within 60 days of the event date.

  • How do I make changes to my benefit plans?

During the annual enrollment period, sign-in to your benefits online account at or download the BenefitFocus Mobile App onto your smartphone ( NOTE: Enrollment changes outside of the designated time period will not be processed.

  • May I enroll my spouse, domestic partner, or children if they are currently not enrolled?

Yes, you may enroll your spouse or domestic partner and children up to age 26 in your benefit plan during open enrollment. The following documentation is required: a marriage certificate to add a spouse, a domestic partner affidavit or State registration to add a domestic partner, and a birth certificate or adoption papers to add a child.

  • How much do I have to pay for healthcare?

Full-Time employees pay 5% of the monthly premium if they participate in the Preventive Care Initiative by receiving a physical/wellness exam/checkup at least once every two calendar years.  Full-time employees who do not participate in the Preventive Care Initiative will expect to pay 10% of the monthly premium or they can elect the City’s High Deductible Health Plan which does not require any employee contribution.  Part-Time employees pay a prorated amount depending on scheduled work hours. You may sign-in to your benefits online account or read your open enrollment materials carefully for cost information.

  • May I sign-up for a Healthcare and/or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account?

Yes, you may elect to participate in the Flexible Spending Accounts – Healthcare FSA (formerly MERP) and the Dependent Care FSA (formerly DCAP). If you have been participating in either of these accounts during the prior plan year, you will need to re-elect to continue participation for the new plan year; if no election is made, your account will end on June 30th. Unreimbursed funds between $50 and $500 will be available to you for the new plan year. For account details, you may contact the plan administrator WageWorks at: 877-924-3967.

  • If I still have questions, how can I get them answered?

  • You may attend one of our open enrollment presentations held throughout the City
  • Email your specific question to or
  • Call the benefits line at 503-823-6031

Note: Due to a high volume of emails/calls during open enrollment, please allow a response within 24 hours.