Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

April 28, 2016

Open enrollment ends May 17

Monthly premiums for Pitt’s health plans are increasing 4.8 percent in 2016-17, but a new wellness incentive can more than offset the increase.
Pitt’s annual benefits open enrollment is underway and continues through May 17.

As in the past, the University will continue to pick up about 80 percent of the cost of employee medical plans, said John Kozar, assistant vice chancellor, University Benefits. For active faculty and staff, the total price tag is around $131 million, he said.

Employees’ monthly contributions for Panther Gold, the most popular plan, will increase $2 for individuals (to $74), $7 for parent/child(ren) (to $179), $13 for two adults (to $259), and $17 for families (to $352).

Copays for prescription drugs and for primary care and specialist visits remain unchanged.

About 85 percent of Pitt faculty and staff are covered by Panther Gold, Kozar said.

Through a new wellness incentive, health plan participants can earn $100 by completing a confidential health risk assessment, or by having an annual preventive physical exam and a biometric screening through their primary care physician (PCP).

A covered spouse or domestic partner can participate and earn the incentive, too, said Kozar.

The health risk assessment is less cumbersome than the one that some may remember completing in 2007, Kozar said, adding that the confidential questionnaire takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Alternately, having an annual physical will earn participants $50 and completing a biometric screening — a blood panel that checks such metrics as blood sugar and cholesterol levels — earns another $50.

The incentives will be paid in September 2017 paychecks.

The aim is to gather baseline data, said Kozar, who stressed that participation is voluntary. Approximately 65 percent of eligible employees participated in the 2007 incentive, he said. He expects at least that many will complete one of the new incentives.

“We’re going to keep pushing wellness,” he said, adding that the University will promote the incentives throughout the year.

He noted that the University plans offered preventive services long before the federal government required them. And, he said, Pitt employees do take advantage of the offerings. The University community is above average in getting annual flu shots, and we average more than one wellness visit per person per year, he said.

Life insurance
Kozar said optional life insurance premiums are decreasing 15 percent, based in part on changes to mortality tables as well as to the University community’s own track record. Kozar said premiums have decreased about 45 percent over the past decade.

He noted that employees with voluntary dependent life coverage will need to confirm their elections because the University has split coverage options.
In response to employee requests, participants now can elect coverage for a spouse/domestic partner only, for children only, or for both a spouse/partner and children.

Vision and dental plans
Vision and dental Flex I and Flex II plans remain the same for the coming year. Dental HMO plan premiums will drop slightly while copays for some services will rise.

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
Parking and mass transportation FSA funds now will be accessible through a Visa debit card that can be used on buses, commuter passenger railways and other transportation services, as well as for on-street parking and to pay by the day in parking lots and garages.

International travel benefits 
In January the University began covering members of the University community who are traveling on academic or work-related business through International SOS, a medical assistance, international health care and security assistance provider.

In case of a medical emergency, International SOS can direct travelers to a vetted provider and arrange for payment if it’s required upfront, Kozar said. In addition, International SOS can help if security concerns make it necessary for travelers to leave or be evacuated.

It’s recommended that faculty register their business travel through; registration is required for staff and students, Kozar said.

The University continues to retain Assist America emergency services coverage for travelers, but that program is limited to UPMC Health Plan members, Kozar said.

Open enrollment packets are being distributed.
An electronic version of enrollment material is posted at

—Kimberly K. Barlow 


Benefits fairs scheduled

Benefits fairs have been scheduled:

• Pitt-Greensburg: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. April 29 in 118 Village Hall;

• Pitt-Johnstown: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. May 2 in the student union Cambria Room;

• Pittsburgh campus: 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. May 5 in the William Pitt Union and 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. May 6 in 1105ABC Scaife Hall.

Benefits fairs were held earlier this week at Bradford and Titusville.


Leave a Reply