By MARTY LEVINE
Pitt employees will see increases in medical premiums on July 1 of $3 a month for individual coverage and $19 a month for families under the Panther Gold Plan, which covers approximately 85 percent of staff and faculty, Benefits director John Kozar told Staff Council’s April meeting.
But there will be no change in the plan for 2022-23, he added, and no change in premiums or coverage for the dental or vision plans.
Benefits open enrollment began April 27, runs through May 25, and includes several new medical benefits, all of which are voluntary — which means they cost employees, while Pitt does not pitch in.
The three new supplemental medical coverage options from MetLife are accident, critical illness and hospital indemnity insurance, available at the main open enrollment website.
Kozar explained that hospital indemnity coverage would be best to choose if you know a planned hospital procedure is upcoming for a covered family member — say, childbirth — since hospital indemnity can cover the co-pay and other expenses not covered by your main health insurance.
Critical illness insurance also can cover a lot of the extra costs that current insurance does not cover, and might best be used by those with a chronic condition, he said. But he cautioned that “you have to be wise consumers,” and, with accident coverage, “of course, accidents are hard to predict.”
Life insurance benefits also will be expanded, beginning July 1, with increased optional coverage possible under dependent life for children and spouses. Coverage for children may now be chosen at $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 levels, with the $10,000 coverage costing 80 cents a month where the previous $5,000 coverage cost 40 cents a month, for instance.
The updated tiers for spouses add $125,000 and $150,000 as possible coverage levels.
Any such changes come with new evidence-of-insurability required at enrollment, meaning applicants will need to show their records of past and current health to prove eligibility.
As in past years, those who do not wish to make any changes to their benefits do not need to take any action during open enrollment, although HR officials stress their desire for all employees to re-examine their choices each year.
Benefits open enrollment takes place in Pitt Worx, the University's human resources and payroll system. Find instructions on enrolling on the Open Enrollment website and on the Pitt Worx Hub (via Pitt Passport).
Upcoming information sessions:
“In-Person Session: A Guide to Your Benefits at Pitt,” noon May 3 in the University Club’s Ballroom A. HR representatives will discuss open enrollment and the benefits available to you at Pitt, including what's new this year. There also will be an opportunity to ask questions. No registration required.
Webinar: Supplemental Medical Coverage Info Session: 10 a.m. May 5, online. Representatives from MetLife will participate in a live webinar to discuss the new benefit offering this year available through PittPerks for employee-paid supplemental medical coverage. Register for the webinar.
Other Staff Council news
President Angela Coldren said that Staff Council has learned of likely increases in parking fees as of July 1. “It is going to be a substantial increase,” she said. “They’re looking at a 30 percent increase.” Parking fees will still depend on the individual parking lot and “permit sharing is supposed to start too,” Coldren said, which would allow more than one person to pay for and use a single weekly permit, for instance. Pitt’s parking administrators also plan to add more shuttles, she said.
HR director James Gallaher warned that the compensation modernization program will be announced in the fall but won’t be completed “with a snap of a finger. Typically these things take three to five years to make the necessary adjustments.” One Staff Council member suggested that, with such a long implementation, Pitt may continue to lose staff and the adjustments may be out of date by the time they are made.
The next Staff Council Spotlight event will be from 2 to 3 p.m. May 10, for staff members to hear about Pitt’s new walk-to-work program.
Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-758-4859.
Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.