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April 17, 2008


Open Enrollment Period

April 21 – May 14

Open Enrollment for the 2008-2009 Plan Year will occur between April 21 and May 14. Open Enrollment packets will be mailed to the campus address of faculty and staff starting April 17. Union-represented employees and part-time faculty will have their packets mailed to their homes.

Please take the time to carefully review the information.

You WILL 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, 2008 – June 30, 2009), you must do so by Wednesday, May 14 at 5:00 p.m. Instructions for making changes can be found in your Open Enrollment packet.

Benefit Fairs will be held on each campus during the Open Enrollment period. During these events, faculty and staff will have an opportunity to meet directly with representatives from each of the insurance carriers. Each location will have drawings for attractive door prizes.

Benefit Fairs Schedule


William Pitt Union

Lower Lounge April 28 noon – 3 p.m.


William Pitt Union

Lower Lounge April 29 noon – 3 p.m.


Village Hall

Rooms 101 & 11B May 1 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.



Commons May 5 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Haskell Memorial

Library May 6 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.


Student Union

Cambria Room May 8 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

There are certain Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations that permit medical-related deductions to occur on a pre-tax basis. As a result, the IRS actually governs certain aspects of the enrollment process including when changes in benefit elections can be made. Annually, the IRS permits an annual open enrollment period, which the Benefits Department administers for all faculty and staff. During this time, changes in elections can be made for any reason.

Outside the open enrollment period, changes can be made only if there is a qualified life event such as the birth of a child, marriage, divorce, or loss of a spouse’s coverage.

Good News! Medical Rate Increases are held to 1.5%

The monthly premium increase for the medical plans is 1.5%. In addition to this good news, there will not be any adverse changes in plan design. Nationally, employers are experiencing increases of 7.9% before any changes in plan designs (i.e. increased co-payments, reductions in covered services etc…). The University absorbs 80% of the total costs of health insurance while 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:

Two wellness related improvements to the benefits program include:

Smoking Cessation:

Effective July 1, the Health Plan will reimburse co-payments for smoking cessation medication if approved counseling is completed. To help ensure high participation and personal preferences, the sessions may be completed either telephonically, on-line, or in-person.

Nutritional Counseling:

As a reminder, earlier in 2008, telephonic counseling with a registered dietician was made available at no cost to University faculty and staff.

Details on both programs may be obtained by contacting UPMC Health Plan at:


Dental Coverage

A three-year contract renewal agreement was reached with United Concordia. A change in co-payments is reflected within the revised DHMO plan. The new rate schedule is available online at:

or by contacting United Concordia. It is important to consult this summary if any extensive dental work is planned and to coordinate member–paid expenses with the flexibility of the health care spending account.

Vision Coverage

The University has entered the final year of its contract with Davis Vision. As a result, the rates and plan design will remain the same for the 2008-2009 plan year.

Basic Life, Optional Life, AD&D and Dependent Life Coverage

Aetna is the University’s insurance carrier for the life and related insurance policies. The University is entering the second year of a two-year contract.

Faculty and staff who currently have optional life insurance may increase their coverage by the amount of one times their base salary without providing evidence of insurability (EOI). Increasing optional life coverage above an additional one time base pay will require EOI. Faculty and staff electing optional life for the first time will have to complete EOI.

Dependent Life insurance may also be increased one option level without EOI. However, EOI is required if you are electing coverage for the first time, increasing coverage more than one option level, or electing option four.

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. The accounts are earmarked for certain expenses as the name indicates. For the 2008-2009 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 $220.00

Mass Transit $25.00 $115.00

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 Dependent Day Care accounts.

Filing Deadlines

Please remember that the last day to file claims for the 2006-2007 plan year is June 30, 2008. Starting with the 2007-2008 plan year, faculty and staff have six months from the end of the plan year to file for reimbursement of spending account claims. Listed below is the schedule for the 2007 through 2009 plan years.

Claims Incurred Last Date to File

FY07 (Year ending June 30, 2007) June 30, 2008

FY08 (Year ending June 30, 2008) December 31, 2008

FY09 (Year ending June 30, 2009) December 31, 2009

Life Solutions/FSAP

An important benefit available to faculty and staff as well as their family members is the Life Solutions/FSAP. Life Solutions’ services are provided at no cost.

In addition to traditional assistance programs and emergency services, the FSAP/Life Solutions offers 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 Life Solutions/FSAP toll free at: 1-866-647-3432. All calls will remain confidential. You may also visit their Web site at:

Life Solutions will now initiate a proactive outbound call to staff members on Family Medical Leave to offer the services of the program.

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

Filed under: Volume 40 Issue 16

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