Human Resources’ Benefits Open Enrollment microsite launches

September 19, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — 2017 Benefits Open Enrollment is just around the corner, and it’s not too early to begin thinking about benefits options. Employees will once again have a single, comprehensive, and easy-to-use online resource to research benefits offerings and determine the best choices for their families. Enhanced tools and resources will also be available to assist employees in their decision-making.

Benefits Open Enrollment, which runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 18, provides Penn State employees the annual opportunity to make or change benefits selections by logging into the Employee Self-Service Information Center (ESSIC) — with all changes and updates taking effect on Jan. 1, 2017. 

Penn State knows that choosing benefits is an important decision for its employees, and that searching through all of the information needed to select the right benefits can be a challenging task.

To empower employees and help simplify the process, Human Resources has once again consolidated all of the information and tools employees will need on the Benefits Open Enrollment microsite.

“Penn State Human Resources is pleased to once again provide a Benefits Open Enrollment microsite at,” said Susan Basso, vice president and chief human resources officer. “This digital resource provides employees with a wealth of information and useful applications, including an electronic benefits guide and health plan comparison tools, as well as convenient links to relevant sites, such as ESSIC and the Highmark Blue Shield website.”   

 Microsite features include:

  • Information on health care, dental, vision, optional life insurance, long-term disability and accidental death & dismemberment benefits
  • Explanations of the PPO Savings Plan and PPO Blue Plan, and side-by-side coverage comparisons
  • Basic and comprehensive decision tools that assist employees on the health plan decision-making process
  • A schedule of live meetings and links to a series of online webinars for more in depth and interactive benefits discussions. Learn more at
  • Beginning Nov. 1, a link to enroll in or change benefits for 2017

One of the main advantages of the benefits microsite is that it highlights changes from the previous year, and provides users with the ability to research options with regard to those changes.

Among the changes for 2017 are modest increases in copays and deductibles in both the PPO Blue and PPO Savings plans and in certain cases, premium increases.

Another change is an increase in Penn State's contribution to the Health Savings Account (HSA) for those earning $60,000 or less, and participate in the PPO Savings Plan.

Among the most useful features of the microsite are the comprehensive benefits e-Magazine. A key feature of the website, the all-encompassing e-Magazine is a digital publication offering informative videos and useful links that will allow participants to choose the best plan for their families. If you still prefer a paper copy, a printable version in PDF format will be available on the Benefits Open Enrollment website.

Last Updated September 22, 2016