Office of Human Resources announces benefits changes for 2012

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State’s Office of Human Resources has announced several changes to employee benefits. Beginning in 2012, health care coverage contributions will be determined using a salary-based strategy, with the majority of Penn State employees seeing a decrease in their contributions from 2011.

Health care contributions will be determined by an employee’s annual base salary as of Sept. 30, 2011. Employee contributions will remain the same for all of 2012. Beginning in November, employees will be able to log on to the Employee Self Service Information Center (ESSIC) to view their own specific contribution rate.

In addition to the salary-based contribution model, two new coverage tiers are being added for additional flexibility in choosing health care benefits. Employees will now be able to enroll in the following coverage tiers: Individual, Two-Party (employee and spouse/partner), Parent and Child(ren), and Family. Employees can view a snapshot of the coverage rates and tiers by going to

Employees also will see no increase in dental and vision coverage rates for 2012. Furthermore, employees currently enrolled in Penn State’s voluntary life insurance plan will see a decrease in their payroll contribution for 2012, with no change in coverage.

“We’re extremely pleased with our benefits strategy moving into 2012,” said Susan Basso, associate vice president of the Office of Human Resources. “But being able to provide our employees expanded coverage options at a lower cost to many is only part of the equation. For us to be successful moving forward we need all employees to focus on their health and take advantage of the many resources here on campus."

Wellness programs funded by Penn State will continue to be offered through Health Matters, a part of the Office of Human Resources, and the new emPOWER registration system has simplified the enrollment process. As Penn State works toward better health for all employees, incentives will be available in 2013 for faculty and staff who complete the Wellness Profile. Further details will be released in January 2012.

Additional enhancements to the benefits package include changes to flexible spending accounts with Penn State's new plan administrator, Highmark Blue Shield. One major enhancement includes having a prefunded debit card that can be used to pay for many health-related expenses at the point-of-purchase, including prescriptions and copayments.

To learn more about the specific details of the health plan for 2012 and programs that are available through Health Matters, plan to attend a Benefits Open House at one of the campus locations. A complete schedule, along with further details, can be found at

Last Updated September 23, 2011