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NC Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Human Resources


State Health Plan

The State Health Plan offers health benefits to all eligible teachers, state employees, retirees, and other individuals identified in the North Carolina General Statutes. The Plan’s mission is to provide quality health care products and services for the health and well being of the members.

All permanent/time-limited, full-time state employees and permanent/time-limited, part-time eligible state employees and their dependents are able to participate in the State Health Plan. Re-employed retirees, who work 30 or more hours per week and are "in a position that would require the employer to pay hospital-medical benefits if the individual had not been retired", are required to enroll in the State Health Plan. Permanent part-time state employees (who work 20-29 hours per week) pay full cost for their insurance: the amount the employer contributes towards the cost of employees' health insurance premiums plus the employees' cost.

The State Health Plan offers two health plan designs for its members.

The two PPO options are the SmartChoice Basic Blue Options (70/30) and SmartChoice Standard Blue Options (80/20).

  • The PPO options are based on different levels of physician office visit “co-pays”, different levels of “co-insurance”, and different levels of the “deductible.” The amount of money that employees pay out-of-pocket for PPO premiums will differ based on the option that employees select.
  • Employees pay no premiums for SmartChoice Basic Blue Options and SmartChoice Standard Blue Options employee-only coverage.
  • There is an employee/spouse coverage type.
  • Employees who opt for the PPO health insurance will have “in-network” access to the BCBSNC “Blue Options” PPO network. Go to the provider search web page to verify that any medical care provider that you use is in the network.

To learn detailed information on specific plans or if you are trying to decide which plan is best for you, visit the plan comparison page and plan rate page. You can add or delete beneficiaries and make other changes to your health plan using your Beacon account.

Supplemental Insurance for Employees and Families

DHHS also offers a number of other supplemental medical, vision, and dental insurance options as well as life insurance coverage options.

ARAG Legal Plan

The ARAG Legal Plan coverage offers two plans including in-office, telephone legal services, and online legal options for legal issues covered under the plan. For information for DHHS employees, enter access code: "11246nc".

Humana Dental

This plan reimburses you at certain rates depending on the type of services you receive and based on the length of policy ownership for certain services such as crowns and dentures. This dental policy allows you to select the dentist of your choice and coverage to include yourself only or additional family members.

Reliastar Term Life 

Under this term life insurance, your premium is based on the amount of coverage you choose. For yourself, you may choose $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, up to $500,000 of coverage (at intervals of $10,000). You may also add coverage for your spouse or dependents based on different coverage amounts.

Protective Life Insurance 

This plan offers universal life insurance which gives you permanent life insurance protection and access to cash values that grow, tax-deferred, at competitive interest rates. The premiums of a universal life policy are split in two ways. The premiums you pay go toward covering the cost of the insurance policy, and the remaining balance is invested and earns interest on a tax deferred basis and may increase the cash and death benefit values. Also, in a temporary cash crunch, you can pay less than the scheduled premium and let the policy's accumulated cash value pay the remainder of the monthly charges.

NC Flex

DHHS employees can participate in NC Flex, a pre-tax program offered by the state. In addition to the health and dependent care spending accounts, the program offers vision care, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, dental insurance, group life insurance, cancer insurance, and critical illness plan options on a pre-tax basis.

NC Flex Accounts

Health Care Flexible Spending Account

Employees are reimbursed with the pre-tax dollars they set aside to pay for medical, dental or health care expenses not covered by a health plan. Employees can decide how much money to put into their account, and the money can be used as reimbursement for health care plan deductibles, co-payments for other medically related bills, or any other health care expenses not covered by a health care plan.

Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account

Child Care

This plan allows employees to purchase child care out of their regular pay before taxes are deducted. Parents set aside a certain amount each year before taxes to pay a child care provider. Payments to family home caregivers or public, private or church preschools for child care expenses are covered for children from infancy to age 13.

Elder Care Flexible Spending Account

Employees can offset the cost of caring for older family members through the Dependent Care Assistance Plan. An eligible elderly relative must spend at least eight hours a day in an employee's home, and he or she must be incapacitated due to a physical or mental disability and incapable of self-care.

NC Flex Programs

Vision Care from Superior Vision Services (SVS)

This plan offers three options: with vision exam and materials (contact lenses and eyeglasses), with materials only, or with an enhanced vision exam and materials. If you use certain providers in their network, the plan will cost less, but you can go to any eye care provider and pay the difference (if any) between what the insurance pays and your actual costs. You can choose Plan 1 that includes coverage for eye exams and materials, Plan 2 that does not include eye exams, or Plan 3 that includes enhanced eye exams and more for materials.

Cancer Insurance 

Cancer Insurance is a comprehensive plan that provides coverage if you are diagnosed with certain types of cancer. This coverage is in addition to any medical disability insurance you have in place.

Voluntary Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)

This coverage pays a benefit if you suffer a loss as the result of a covered accident while you are insured under the plan. It also pays a benefit if you suffer certain dismembering injuries while covered. You select the amount of coverage you want up to $500,000. The coverage is effective 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It includes accidents on or off the job and also includes Emergency Travel Assistance services by Assist America.

Dental Plan administered by United Concordia

You can choose a High Option or Low Option plan under this NC Flex option. Both options allow you to select the dentist of your choice and coverage to include yourself only or additional family members.

Voluntary Group Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance pays a benefit to your beneficiary(ies) when you die. If you enroll in this plan the first time it is offered to you as a new employee, you may select coverage amounts of up to $100,000 during the open enrollment period without providing "Evidence of Insurability".

Critical Illness

This insurance provides a lump-sum payment when a covered person experiences a covered condition, such as cancer, bone marrow transplant, heart attack, stroke, coronary artery bypass graft, heart transplant, major organ transplant, or kidney failure.

Family Income Security Programs

The Retirement System of North Carolina

The state offers a systematic savings program that provides income to retirees and their families. Participation in the Retirement System of North Carolina is mandatory for every permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment employee who works at least 30 hours each week. The employee contribution is 6% of gross salary. The state legislature may match employee retirement contributions. These contributions are tax-sheltered. An employee is fully vested after five years of state service.

Employees may retire with full benefits after:

  • Age 65 and completion of five years of service
  • Age 60 and completion of 25 years of service
  • Any age and completion of 30 years of service

Reduced benefits are offered at early retirement after:

  • Age 50 and completion of 20 years of service
  • Age 60 and completion of five years of service

The amount of an employee's retirement benefit is based on:

  • average compensation during the four highest paid consecutive years of service
  • length of service
  • the payment option selected by the employee

Death Benefit

Although the Retirement System's primary purpose is to provide retirement income, it also provides death benefits. The beneficiary(ies) receive a refund of the employee's retirement contributions plus interest. If the employee dies after retirement and has chosen a beneficiary protection option, the surviving family member may continue to receive income even after the death of the employee.

Disability Payments

Employees are eligible for short-term disability after 12 months total service. Employees are eligible for long-term disability after five years total service.

Social Security

All employees participate in the federal Social Security System through payroll deduction state contributions. The amount of income a retiree will collect depends on:

  • years of work in covered employment
  • earnings
  • age at retirement
  • other eligibility requirements

Visit the federal Social Security website for more information.

Longevity Payments

After 10 years of total state service, an employee is eligible for longevity payments. The payment is a percentage of salary based on years of service.

See the Longevity Payment section of the State Personnel Manual.

Employees can supplement their income protection plans through:

For more information, visit the NC Supplemental Retirement Plan website.

Work and Leave Options

Flexible Work Arrangements

State policies allow for varying work schedules to help employees balance employment and personal responsibilities. The standard work week is 40 hours, and the normal daily work schedule is five days per week, eight hours each day, plus a meal period. An employee may request a variable work schedule subject to the approval of the supervisor and agency head as long as there is no conflict with the work unit's operations.

Flexible work arrangement options include:

  • Flextime (A schedule that allows employees to choose when to stop and start work, fitting in the required number of work hours in a day)
  • Flexplace or Telework (Working at home or at a satellite work site on a regular schedule)
  • Regular Part-time Work (Working less than a 40-hour work week)
  • Job Sharing (Two employees sharing the responsibilities and salary of a single position)

Leave Options

Holidays: Employees receive 11-12 paid holidays each year. Separate holiday schedules may be established for 24-hour operations.

Sick Leave: Full-time permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment employees accumulate eight hours of sick leave each month, and 96 total hours annually. Sick leave hours add up throughout the employee's career. Part-time employees receive a percentage of hours accumulated by full-time employees. Sick leave can be accumulated and applied as time toward service retirement.

Vacation Leave: Full-time permanent, probationary, time-limited or trainee appointment employees are granted at least 94 hours of vacation leave each year. The rate earned is based on total number of years of state service and is earned monthly. Part-time employees receive a percentage of hours accumulated by full-time employees. A maximum of 240 hours can be carried over to the following calendar year.

Adoption and Foster Care Leave: Employees can use accrued sick leave, vacation leave, or leave without pay to cover time spent adopting a child or for placement of a foster child (up to 30 days of accrued sick leave or vacation leave or leave without pay, or a combination of leave time options).

Leave without pay can begin not more than one week before the day the new parent receives custody of the child. A total of 12 workweeks of paid or unpaid leave may be taken within the 12-month period following adoption or foster care placement.

Community Service Leave: Community Service Leave up to 36 hours may be granted to:

  • Parents for child involvement in the schools;
  • Any employee for volunteer activity in the schools or in a community service organization; or
  • Any employee for tutoring and mentoring in the schools.

Family Medical Leave: Employees may use sick leave to care for injured or ill family members. The family member may be a child, parent, or spouse. Sick leave may also be used if there is a death in the immediate family.

An employee may also request unpaid leave to care for an ill or injured child, spouse or parent. The agency may require written confirmation from a physician stating that the employee is unable to work due to illness or death in the family.

Educational Leave: Employees must attempt to take courses outside of normal working hours. However, educational leave may be granted to attend job-related courses during normal working hours.

Military Leave: Employees in the uniformed services may be granted military leave. Depending upon the type of duties being performed, an employee may earn up to 120 (which is based on a federal year basis) hours of paid leave per year.

Voluntary Shared Leave: Leave without pay is available when prolonged illnesses cause employees to exhaust all available accrued leave.

The Voluntary Shared Leave program allows other employees to voluntarily donate vacation leave to an employee in need. Employees must apply to and be approved by the head of the division or institution to participate in the program. A fellow employee may nominate a recipient.

For more information, visit the leave section of the State Personnel Manual.

Academic Assistance

Employees can request tuition reimbursement for job-related educational courses including college and technical classes.

Visit the Academic Assistance Program section of the State Personnel Manual.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

An Employee Assistance Program (EAP), managed by DHHS, is available to the department's employees. EAP is a free confidential counseling program designed to help employees and their families cope with a broad range of personal problems. These may include marital, financial and medical problems; domestic violence; alcohol or other drug abuse and other issues that interfere with the well being of employees.


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