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April 19, 2007


Welcome to the New Benefits Newsletter!

To help keep faculty and staff up to date on changes in events affecting benefits, the Benefits Buzz will now appear on a more frequent basis and within the University Times. As always, feel free to give us your feedback at: or 412-624-8160

Open Enrollment Is Here!

All active faculty and staff should have received their Open Enrollment packet for the 2007-2008 Plan Year by the end of this week. The majority of the packets were sent by campus mail. Please contact the Benefits Department if you have not received your packet by the end of this week.

Part-time faculty will receive their Open Enrollment packets in the spring this year as opposed to the fall.

Please take the time to carefully review the information.

You DO NOT need to take any action if you do not wish to make changes to your benefits. All of your current elections will remain the same for the new plan year.

If you would like to make changes to your benefits for the new plan year (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008), you must do so by Wednesday, May 9 at 5:00 p.m. Instructions for making changes can be found in your Open Enrollment packet.


Medical and Prescription Drug Coverage

The monthly premium increase to the medical plans is 3.9%. The total expenditure for medical and prescription drug coverage for active faculty and staff is approximately $82 million. The University absorbs 80% of the costs, and faculty and staff are responsible for the remaining 20%.

Premiums and other important information can be found in the Summary Guide to Benefits brochure in your Open Enrollment packet, or under “Open Enrollment” on the Human Resources Web site at

There are two changes to the Panther Gold plan design:

Emergency Room co-payments will increase to $50 for adults. The co-payment will remain at $30 for dependents under the age of 18.

A $50 co-payment will be charged on outpatient facility surgical procedures and 23-hour observations in a hospital setting.

Under the prescription drug plan, co-payments, with the exception of those for generic medications, will increase for the first time in three years. During this three-year period, prescription drug pricing has increased by 40% to 50%.

Generic co-payments (first tier) will remain the same: $10 for a 30-day (retail) supply and $20 for a 90-day supply.

Preferred brand-name co-payments (second tier) will increase to $28 for a 30-day (retail) supply and $56 for a 90-day supply.

Non-preferred brand name co-payments (third tier) increase to $56 for a 30-day (retail) supply and $112 for a 90-day supply.

As a reminder, prescriptions for both short-term (30-day supply or less) as well as long-term (90-day supply) medications may be filled at Student Health Services, Falk Pharmacy, or through mail order with Express Scripts.


Dental Coverage

The University is entering the second year of a two-year contract with United Concordia. The rates and plan designs remain the same. However, United Concordia is providing one positive wellness addition to coverage:

Females, during pregnancy, are eligible for a third dental checkup and cleaning. This change applies to all plans.


Vision Coverage

The University entered a two-year contract with Davis Vision in 2006. As a result, the rates and plan design will remain the same for the 2007-2008 plan year.


Life Insurance Coverage

Aetna is the University’s insurance carrier for the life and related insurance policies. A new two-year contract was negotiated this year with a rate hold on premiums. As a reminder, though, individual premiums for Optional Life Insurance will change if you move into an older age bracket.


Open Enrollment Opportunity for Optional Life Coverage

Corresponding to the new contract, Aetna is offering a one-time opportunity to enroll in optional life insurance at one-times your salary without having to provide evidence of insurability (EOI). On a regular basis, only new hires may enroll in optional life insurance coverage up to two times base pay without providing EOI. In other words, if you have not previously elected optional life insurance coverage and remain uncertain of your eligibility because of a health condition, you may now enroll in optional life insurance coverage equal to one-times your annual base pay without any type of medical review.

You may enroll for more than one-times your salary at Open Enrollment; however, EOI is required and your enrollment may be subject to plan year maximums.


Flexible Spending Accounts

The University offers four types of flexible spending accounts (FSA). Enrollment in an FSA allows you to reduce your taxable income by placing a designated amount of money into a savings account on a pre-tax basis. Each account is earmarked for certain expenses, as the name indicates. For the 2007-2008 plan year, the minimum and maximum you can defer monthly on a pre-tax basis are as follows:

Account Minimum Maximum

Health Care $10.00 $416.67

Day Care $10.00 $416.67

Parking $25.00 $215.00

Mass Transit $25.00 $110.00

Claims must be incurred during the plan year to be considered eligible – with one exception. Health care is extended until September 15 after the plan year.

Remember, the “use it or lose it” rule applies to the Health Care and Day Care accounts. With the recent changes in plan administration, filing claims and receiving prompt reimbursement can be expected.

One important change, which you will be reminded of throughout the year, involves the deadline for filing claims.

All incurred claims for the 2007-2008 plan year must be submitted to the plan’s third party administrator, EBDS, by December 31, 2008.


Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP)/Life Solutions

An important benefit available to faculty and staff along with their family members is the FSAP. The services of the FSAP are provided at no cost.

Services of the FSAP will be expanded to include Life Solutions.

All of us seek a balance between the responsibilities we have at work and the needs of our family members. Life can be stressful as we juggle schedules, negotiate long commutes, and understand the issues dealing with raising a family. It can all be a little overwhelming.

In addition to traditional assistance programs and emergency services, the FSAP/Life Solutions will offer many additional services, including but not limited to:

* Referral services for childcare and emergency childcare

* Referral services for eldercare

* Adoption counseling

To take advantage of these services or to find out how they may be able to help, contact the FSAP/Life Solutions at: 1-866-647-3432. All calls will remain confidential. You may also visit their Web site at:


Eckerd Take Care Centers

Looking for an alternative to long emergency room waits in the evenings or weekends? UPMC Health Plan now covers most services obtained at the Eckerd Take Care Centers. Some of the covered services include strep tests, treatment for minor burns, eye infections, etc., all of which may be treated at an Eckert Take Care Center.

Most services obtained at these centers are considered in-network, meaning that you would be responsible only for a co-payment or co-insurance amount. Information on the services and locations of the Eckerd Take Care Centers can be found at: A very few select services offered at these centers are not covered by UPMC, such as infant and pediatric immunizations. Please call UPMC at 1-888-499-6885 if you have a question about whether a certain service is covered under your insurance.

NOTE: The benefits of employees covered by collective bargaining agreements will be governed by the terms of those agreements.

Filed under: Volume 39 Issue 16

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