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April 19, 2012

Pitt Benefits

Open Enrollment April 18 – May 9

An annual open enrollment is conducted each spring for active faculty and staff. This brief window provides an opportunity to make changes in your benefit elections. In compliance with IRS regulations, the elections you have on file at the end of open enrollment remain in effect for the entire plan year unless you have a “life event”. Certain situations are considered a life event or family status change. Most life events are pretty obvious and include the birth or adoption of a child, a spouse’s gain or loss of employment, marriage or divorce. If any of these events occur, you may be able to make a timely change. Otherwise, the elections remain in effect for the entire plan year.

This is a great time of year to:

  • Review your current elections and decide if you want to make any changes,
  • Review the dependents you have on file as covered for each benefit, and
  • Check the beneficiaries for life insurance and your retirement savings accounts. While this is not part of the open enrollment process, it is very important to make sure you have the correct beneficiaries on file. To review beneficiaries, you should contact Aetna directly for life insurance. TIAA-CREF and Vanguard should be contacted to confirm the beneficiaries on file for your retirement savings.

Open Enrollment Packages

As part of your open enrollment package, you will be provided with a one-page statement that displays your current elections. This information also is available on-line. Changes must be made on-line.

Reviewing your current elections on-line and making changes is a straight forward process:

  1. Go to
  2. Enter your user name and password.
  3. Select “PRISM Login.”
  4. Select “PHR Employee Self Service.”
  5. Select “Benefits” and continue through the Open Enrollment On-line Self-Service process.

Need Help Logging on to Access On-line Open Enrollment?

There are several options available:

  1. Reset your password on-line by following the instructions once you click on “Forgot your password” on the login screen.
  2. Contact the Technology Help Desk at 412-624-4357 (HELP).
  3. Stop by a campus computing lab. You will need your ID card.

Benefit Changes for the July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013 Plan Year

There have not been changes in the overall plan design. However, to offset larger increases in monthly payments, several co-payments have been increased. The most common co-payments remain unchanged. They are:

•Primary Care Visits.

•Generic co-payments for prescription medications.

Nearly 50,000 primary care office visits take place each year and approximately 75% of all medications dispensed annually are generic. The co-payments for these critical services/benefits will not change.

Additionally, all wellness/preventive services continue at no out-of-pocket costs to all faculty and staff enrolled in the medical program.

There will be a $5 increase in co-payments for specialist and behavioral health visits. Urgent care co-payments as well as emergency room co-payments for children will increase by $10. Adult emergency room co-payments will increase by $30. The new co-payments for emergency room visits remain far less than other plans based on competitive survey data.

In regard to prescription drug co-payments, increases reflect the general inflation experienced with prescription medication over the past year. In general, some widely used prescriptions are moving to generic labels. Specialty medications, which have far less utilization, are starting to drive the overall costs of the prescription drug program.

A few other noteworthy items:

Vision rates are increasing due to high utilization. Over the past year, claims have far exceeded the premiums collected by Davis Vision. This means, on a positive note, that members are taking advantage of the benefits of this program. The premiums remain modest when benchmarked against other competitive programs.

The dental rates through United Concordia’s Flex I and Flex II program remain the same. However, the Concordia Plus DHMO rates are increasing by 4%. The increases range from 65 cents for single coverage to $2.14 for family coverage.

Additional Options for Dependent Life Insurance

Two additional options that allow members to purchase greater amounts of dependent life insurance for spouses/domestic partners are available July 1. The previous maximum was $50,000. Option 5 allows for the purchase of $75,000 in coverage while Option 6 can increase coverage to a maximum of $100,000. As of July 1, up to $50,000 (Option 4) may be elected without submitting evidence of insurability (EOI). However, the two new options will require completion and approval of an evidence of insurability form by Aetna.

Flexible Spending Accounts

There are several important changes to be noted about flexible spending accounts. As you may know, deferring money into a flexible spending account (FSA) can help reduce your taxable income. Prudent planning can help you save precious take-home pay.

Effective July 1, the federal government, under health care reform legislation, is reducing the maximum amount you can place in an FSA for health care spending expenses. The current annual maximum is $5,000 ($416.66 monthly). The annual maximum effective July 1 is $2,500 ($208.33 monthly).

As a result of this change in legislation, for the first time in many years, all flexible spending accounts will be set to zero effective July 1, 2012. This action will require you to make a positive election for your spending accounts during open enrollment even if you plan on contributing the same amount as the prior year (up to the allowable maximums).

All current and any new participants in the spending account program should carefully review their election form and take the necessary steps by positively stating on the on-line enrollment form the amounts they wish to defer starting July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.

Also, please note that effective July 1, the “use it or lose it” rule will apply to all four flexible spending accounts.benefitFair

Benefit Fairs

As in the past, the Benefits Department and many of the insurance carrier representatives will be attending the benefit fairs on each campus. The schedule is included to the right.

Important Vendor Contact Information

Benefits Department

Office hours: 8 am-5 pm EST, 320 Craig Hall

412-624-8160 (Main Line) • 412-624-3485 (Fax)

Please visit our web site for FAQs, downloadable forms and other benefits information.


UPMC Health Plan



United Concordia 1-877-215-3616


Davis Vision 1-800-999-5431


TIAA-CREF 1-800-682-9139

Vanguard 1-800-523-1188

Flexible Spending Accounts







Faculty Records


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