BLET UP Northern Region
Did you know that unexpected illnesses and injuries are the #1 cause of bankruptcies and foreclosures in America. Are you protected? If something happens to your health, being enrolled in these benefits may be your most important financial decision.
Short-Term Disability, Long-Term Disability, and Life Insurance coverages are available through Elips Life Insurance Company (elipsLife), an “A” rated insurance carrier by AM Best with over $1 Billion in annual premium. All coverages are guaranteed issue during open enrollment – no member will be denied!
Attention Participating Members: While it is recommended that you call our office to re-enroll, if you do nothing, you will be automatically renewed/enrolled into the benefit option that most closely mirrors your current premium and benefit options, which may result in benefits being decreased. Please call a Cornerstone Enrollment Specialist for more information.
or call 224-770-5307
About Open Enrollment
We are pleased to inform you that your union is currently in an open enrollment.
All of the available coverages are offered separately and a member’s participation in one or all of those coverages, and the level to which he or she elects to participate, is voluntary and strictly the individual’s choice.
The purpose of this Group Insurance Plan is to give you options to supplement your income in the event that you cannot work as a result of an injury, illness or death. This group plan offers Disability Insurance and Life Insurance with Accidental Death & Dismemberment coverage.
All insurance under this Union Group Policy will cover you for as long as you continue to remain actively employed, pay premium, and be in good standing with the union.
Official Notice To Participants – Please Read
You are not required to do anything to maintain coverage.
Attention Participating Members: While it is recommended that you call our office to re-enroll, if you do nothing, you will be automatically renewed/enrolled into the benefit option that most closely mirrors your current premium and benefit options, which may result in benefits being decreased and/or premium being increased. Please call a Cornerstone Enrollment Specialist for more information.
The BLET does not make any endorsement or recommendations regarding these benefits. It is solely the members decision to enroll and learn about the benefits being offered. This program is completely voluntary and benefits can be elected on an a la carte basis.
This page will provide information related to your Union Voluntary Group Insurance Plan. Here you can view and download a copy of the group policy/benefits booklet, learn about policy provisions, view terms and conditions, view rates, view fee schedules and request information. If you have any questions regarding the benefits options that you are currently enrolled in, please call 847-387-3555.
You must be an actively working, full dues paying member of the BLET union, working a minimum of 20 hours per work, in order to be eligible to enroll in and maintain coverage.
If you are suspended, dismissed, retire from the railroad, or leave the BLET for any reason, you are no longer eligible for disability coverage and it is your responsibility to contact our office immediately at 847-387-3555 so that we may stop your premium payments. Disabilities that occur after being removed from service are not covered. Your disability coverage will resume on the day your return to work (see below “Actively at Work Notice”) if you return to work and full dues paying active union status within 6 months. If you do not return to work within six months, your coverage will be permanently terminated. You would be eligible to re-enroll during your union's next open enrollment period after you return to work, subject to the policy terms and pre-existing condition limitations at that time. Note: This also applies to any member who has not had a formal hearing.
Actively At Work Notice
To be covered by the Group Policy you must be actively at work performing the duties of your own occupation when the policy goes into effect or when returning to work from a disability claim. Days spent not working to include, but not limited to; PLD, vacation, light duty, FMLA days, rules classes, and re-certification tests/classes do not count as actively working days. If you are not actively at work when the policy goes into effect, your coverage effective date will be deferred until your first full day of active work.
Participant and Claimant Responsibilities
It is your responsibility to notify Cornerstone Benefits Management if your employment, union status, contact information, or salary changes. Failure to properly notify Cornerstone will result in loss of premiums and/or insurance coverage. Notification to Cornerstone must be made by phone at 847-387-3555 and/or by email at email@example.com.
Income Verification Notice
In the event a claim is filed, you will be required to verify your income by providing your prior year’s W-2 and/or three full months of paystubs. Benefit payments are subject to change based on the income you can verify at time of claim.
Benefits Offsets, Reductions and Overpayments
Benefits may be reduced where offsets apply. Benefit amounts illustrated on the Summary of Benefits & Rates guide do not reflect any applicable offsets. It is your responsibility as the claimant to notify Cornerstone and the Insurance Company of any other income sources you are receiving; failure to do so may result in an overpayment that you will be required to repay. Please review the Group Policy for further information. If you have any questions regarding offsets, please call Cornerstone at 847-387-3555.
Railroad Retirement Board Benefits: Your Union Group Policy requires you to apply for a disability annuity through the Railroad Retirement Board if you meet the eligibility requirements. Due to the delayed Railroad Retirement Board Disability Annuity approval process and the fact that benefits are backdated once approved, an overpayment of disability benefits may occur. Cornerstone strongly encourages you to call the Railroad Retirement Board to obtain an estimate of your monthly annuity amount and then call our office to discuss your best Long-Term Disability option.
As an individual member of the union, if you have voluntarily elected to participate and pay premium for coverage, it is your responsible to understand the group policy and its provisions. To view/download the group policy/booklet, please look under the Policy Documents tab.
Pre-Existing Condition Limitations
Short-Term Disability - Pre-Existing Guidelines
Short-Term Disability has a Pre-Existing Condition limitation of 12 months. In order for a pre-existing condition to be covered, you must be an eligible member of the group and have paid Short-Term Disability premium for 12 consecutive months prior to your date of disability, or you must be treatment free for the 12 months prior to your date of disability (Look Back Period) for the disabling condition.
Long-Term Disability - Pre-Existing Guidelines
Long-Term Disability has a Pre-Existing Condition limitation of 24 months. In order for a pre-existing condition to be covered, you must be an eligible member of the group and have paid Long-Term Disability premium for 24 consecutive months prior to your date of disability, or you must be treatment free for the 12 months prior to your date of disability (Look Back Period) for the disabling condition.
More Pre-Existing Limitation Information
- These Pre-Existing Condition limitations also apply to any benefit increase of 25% or greater.
- Pre-Existing Conditions are reviewed by the insurance carrier at time of clam, which will require disclosure of all medical records, doctors’ notes and prescription drug history.
- Failing to receive treatment does not preclude you from the Pre-Existing Condition Look Back Period.
Please review the Group Policy for further information. If you have any questions regarding Pre-Existing Condition limitations, please call 847-387-3555.
Long-Term Disability Benefit Notice
Learn more about your Long-Term Disability Policy
This information is intended to help you understand the transition process from own-occupation to any-occupation.
Your Union Long-Term Disability Policy (all options) through elipsLife contains a two year “own-occupation” period within the definition of disability (three years total when elected with short-term disability); which simply means that during the first year of a disability claim, your disabling condition must prevent you from performing the “essential duties” of YOUR specific occupation (as defined by the Department of Labor). After a year of receiving Long-Term Disability benefits, you would transition from “own-occupation” to “any-occupation”.
Generally, the following criteria is used when determining whether you can work in another (“any”) occupation:
- Occupations exist within your job market (approximately 60 miles commute or less, considering your length of travel to work prior to disability) that you could perform with your disability/functionality restrictions.
- Occupations exist that you can perform the majority of the substantial and material duties for and have the education, training, or experience to perform.
- Occupations exist that pay a reasonable amount in accordance to policy guidelines.
The transition from the own-occupation definition of disability to the any-occupation definition does not in itself eliminate your ability to receive benefits. This transition is a change in the criteria used to adjudicate your disability and may or may not cause benefits to terminate (depending on each unique situation and the criteria above). Job openings/availability are not guaranteed nor does the policy protect against whether you successfully secure employment.
This “own occ/any occ” provision of the policy is intended to help both those claiming disability benefits and those who are not claiming disability benefits. This policy provision incentivizes individuals who are off on disability to either rehabilitate and get back to work at their current occupation or utilize their training/education to find gainful employment in another field. For those members who are not on disability, this provision helps to ensure that disability coverage remains affordable and in-force. It is important for the long-term sustainability of the policy that individuals on disability try to return to the workforce when the ability exists to find gainful employment as outlined in the above criteria.
Additional Return-To-Work services are typically provided by the insurance company at no cost. Among others, most insurers offer programs and services to assist disabled members and help them return to full productivity, and their Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits provide individually tailored programs to assist members on LTD with successful recovery and re-entry to the workplace. Additionally, the insurance company typically employs vocational rehabilitation professionals to review each claim independently and work with the claimant to determine the most appropriate course of action. Everyone wins when disabled members are working toward re-entry into the workforce!
Group Life Insurance Notice
This is a Voluntary Group Term Life Insurance plan offered through your union. As such, this plan should not serve as your primary source of Life Insurance as the union or insurance company may be terminate, cancel or change this policy at renewal. This Life Insurance Plan is designed to give you and your family a guaranteed approved option for additional Supplemental Life Insurance while working and an active member of your union. Please review all the provisions of this Life Insurance Policy and it is highly recommended that this policy not be used to replace any existing Life Insurance coverage you may have.
When Life Insurance Coverage Ends
If dismissed, suspended, or disabled you may keep your Life Insurance coverage for up to 12 months provided premiums continue to be paid during that period. Beyond 12 months, your coverage will terminate unless you convert or port your Life Insurance coverage.
If you leave the union or retire, you may convert your Group Term Life Insurance to a Permanent Individual Life Insurance Policy or you may port your coverage. You must elect to convert or port your coverage within 31 days from the date of you are no longer eligible to be covered on the group plan (i.e. date of retirement or termination). Please contact the Cornerstone office at 847-387-3564 for questions about rates associated with converting or porting your Life Insurance coverage.
If you are enrolled in Child Life coverage and your child is disabled, you can retain your child’s coverage beyond age 26 by completing an application. You will have only 31 days from your child’s 26th birthday to submit this application.
Note: Typically converting your Group Term Life Insurance to an Individual Permanent Life Insurance Policy is very expensive and only recommended for people who cannot qualify for Life Insurance elsewhere.
Premium Payments, Calculations and Adjustments
This is a Group Insurance Plan offered through your union. As such, at renewal your rates and benefits may change or non-renew based on the overall claims experience of the group and/or participation requirements not being met. Further, any substantial change to the makeup of the group, such as a change in the member demographics, that impacts the underwriting risk of the plan may immediately result in a change to the plan.
At renewal, if you do not call Cornerstone to re-enroll or discontinue coverage, you herby authorize and give permission to Cornerstone to auto-enroll you in the renewal plan benefits that most resemble your currently elected benefits. Auto-enrollment could result in a potential increase in your monthly or bimonthly premium drafts. Please understand, this is intended to ensure no member loses coverage for failing or forgetting to take the time to renew or re-enroll. Given that all benefits are “Voluntary” you can cancel or lower your coverage at any time.
Loss of Premiums Notice
If you do not contact our office within 90 days of your date of dismissal (the date in which the railroad removes you from service), date of retirement, date in which you left the BLET or Furloughed there will be no refund for any premiums paid. It is the sole responsibility of the member to contact Cornerstone Benefits Management at 847-387-3555 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org within the 90 day allotted time.
Failure to Make a Payment
Participating members for whatever reason may miss a premium payment from time to time. The current plan allows for a 60 day grace period to make up any missed premium payments.
Administrative & Transaction Costs
All administrative and transaction fees (fees) are included in your monthly premium. These fees cover the costs associated with, but not limited to, premium processing, premium returns, postage, policy correspondence, claims advocacy and other ancillary expenses associated with the administration of your elections. These monthly fees are applied to all coverages shown on the Summary of Benefits & Rates. Below is the structure of all applicable fees:
Included in premiums shown on Summary of Rates: Short-Term Disability 2.00, Long-Term Disability 2.00, Member Life/AD&D Coverage 1.00, Spouse Life/AD&D Coverage 0.50, Child Coverage 0.00
Included when premium is collected: Payment Transaction Fee 1.00 per transaction
Time Left to Enroll
Benefits and Rates
Administrative and transaction fees are applied to all coverages. These fees are included in the rates shown on the Summary of Benefits & Rates guide. For more information about Premium Payments please review the Premium Payments Calculations and Adjustments section of this page.