Open Enrollment begins Oct. 25
I am pleased to share with you the University of California’s benefits plans and rates for 2011. The Open Enrollment period begins October 25 at 8 a.m. and runs to 5 p.m. on November 23.
In California and across the country, employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have gone up again and are projected to rise significantly, well into the future. Most individuals covered by an employer’s group health insurance plan will continue to see double-digit increases in their costs and contributions.
Our key objectives for 2011 were to innovate with regard to plan design and to control costs while continuing to provide UC’s faculty and staff with high-quality and high-value health and welfare benefits. The Benefits staff worked hard toward those objectives, and with this year’s offerings more than 53 percent of our workforce will see increases of less than $10 per month. You can view the 2011 employee rates on the At Your Service website (http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/employees/health_welfare/medical/medical_plan_costs_2011.html).
Here are some key developments for 2011.
An Additional Health Net Option
We worked with UC’s medical enterprise and Health Net to develop a new value option: UC’s Health Net Blue & Gold HMO. This custom network is being offered exclusively to the University of California, in addition to the standard Health Net HMO. The Blue & Gold HMO network provides the same excellent coverage as our standard Health Net HMO, but uses Health Net’s most efficient providers as a way to lower premium costs for University of California employees and their covered dependents.
Again, the standard Health Net HMO is still available, but those who elect the UC/Health Net Blue & Gold HMO custom network can take advantage of physicians and hospitals at lower employee costs. The new plan’s network includes 13 of our 20 largest provider groups, including the UC medical centers and medical groups. In all, health care providers for more than 60 percent of our current Health Net members are in the Health Net Blue & Gold HMO network.
If Health Net’s style of HMO fit your needs in prior years, it would be prudent to take a look at the new Health Net Blue & Gold HMO to see if it’s right for you and your family.
The list of medical groups participating in the Health Net Blue & Gold network is available here (http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/docs/uc_healthnet_blue-gold-provider-list_1010.pdf) and the complete list of providers will be posted on the Health Net website (http://www.healthnet.com/uc) beginning October 15.
A New Anthem Plan
We are also replacing the CIGNA Choice Fund plan with the Anthem Lumenos PPO with Health Reimbursement Account (HRA). CIGNA’s employee premiums had become quite expensive, so with modest plan changes and a change in carrier, we are able to offer this style of plan at a much lower price.
Anthem Lumenos is designed for employees who are willing to take a more active role in managing their health care costs and usage. However, this plan also has the potential for high out-of-pocket expenses, so it may not be for everyone.
Health Care Reform
As a result of health care reform legislation enacted earlier this year, you will see changes in medical benefits, including preventive services at no charge and the elimination of lifetime limits on medical coverage.
In addition, faculty and staff will be able to enroll their adult children, up to age 26, in their UC medical plan. We have added extra value for employees by going further than federal health care reform legislation and expanding coverage of children up to age 26 to include dental, vision, legal, life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance.
Great benefits are a key component of UC’s overall approach to recruitment and retention of outstanding faculty and staff. The health and wellness of our people and their families will help UC continue its excellence. It would be challenging to find another employer-sponsored benefits package of higher quality and value. Our planning for 2012 will begin shortly, and you will see an increased commitment to innovation in plan design, employee wellness and high-value offerings in the years to come.
I wish you all the best as you evaluate your choices from this fine set of benefits programs when the Open Enrollment begins on October 25.
Dwaine B. Duckett
Vice President, Human Resources