Benefits information mailed to employees' homes

September 12, 2013

The Office of Human Resources is mailing the annual open enrollment booklet to all benefit-eligible employees this week. This booklet contains important information about employee benefits for 2014 and is being distributed in advance of the annual open-enrollment period set for Nov. 1 through 22.

"There are many choices this year, including the introduction of a new health plan option, a Qualified High Deductible Plan," said Susan Basso, vice president for Human Resources. "Faculty and staff have been requesting a high-deductible plan for a number of years, and we are pleased to be able to offer this option in 2014."

The new plan, called the PPO Savings Plan, has significantly lower per-pay-period contributions and a higher deductible than the PPO Blue Plan currently offered. The new plan also features a Health Savings Account that allows for payment for current or future health care expenses with tax-free savings. The University will contribute to the Health Savings Account by providing $400 for employees who have individual health care coverage and $800 for employees who have family coverage. In addition, employees can deposit additional pre-tax earnings into the Health Savings Account to help fund medical expenses now or in the future.

The current PPO Blue plan option will continue to be available to employees with the same coverage, same deductible, and same in-network advantages. Additionally, the plan will be enhanced by providing 100 percent coverage for medical services relating to a diagnosis of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. Individuals who have one of these diagnoses must opt-into this option and follow Highmark's medical protocol for those conditions to qualify for the higher coverage level.

The yearly maximum benefit for each person covered under the University's dental plan will be increasing from $1,000 per person to $1,500 starting Jan. 1. "The additional coverage is made possible through savings generated by a decision to self-insure the dental plan two years ago in the same manner as the University's health insurance program," said Basso. "In addition to the increased maximum, the employee's dental plan contribution will not increase in 2014."

The booklet explains all of the available benefits options in detail and includes charts making it easier to compare the medical plans side-by-side. Employees are encouraged to review it carefully, and then to attend one of the upcoming Benefits Open Enrollment campus meetings for more information. The schedule of meetings can be found at online. The employee contributions for all employee benefits for 2014 are included in the booklet. An electronic version of the booklet can be found at online.

All employees will need to log into the Employee Self-Service Information Center between Nov. 1 and 22 to elect their benefit coverage for 2014.

Employees who are a part of the University’s Teamsters’ collective bargaining agreement will not see any health care benefit changes during the current contract term, which expires June 30, 2014. Those employees will receive a separate booklet before Nov. 1.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 12, 2013