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Open enrollment started Oct. 25.

Make choices, take action during Open Enrollment
As UC’s annual Open Enrollment period begins this week, faculty and staff face a number of choices as medical premiums continue to rise and federal health care reform gives the opportunity to enroll children up to age 26 in medical plans.

Employees have until 5 p.m. Tuesday, November 23 to make changes, which are effective January 1, 2011.

UC continues to confront the challenges of rising health care costs and California’s budget crisis. To address these issues, the Human Resources department last February began working diligently to negotiate the best possible medical plan rates for 2011 and to look for innovative ways to offer employees lower-cost options.

UC worked proactively with providers and the university medical enterprise to develop two new health plans for 2011 that give employees high-quality, low-cost alternatives.

The Health Net Blue & Gold HMO provides the same benefits as the standard Health Net HMO but has a custom network of providers-including 13 of UC’s largest provider groups and all of the UC medical centers and medical groups-at a lower premium than the Health Net HMO.

UC also is replacing the CIGNA Choice Fund with the Anthem Lumenos PPO with HRA. By changing carriers and making some modest plan changes, UC can offer the plan with a significantly lower premium and Anthem’s much larger provider network.

“We’re aware that it may present complex choices for people looking to take advantage of these new lower-cost options. We developed the best plan we could for the greatest number of UC employees,” said Dwaine Duckett, vice president of human resources.

“If we had not developed the Health Net Blue & Gold HMO, all Health Net members would have seen increases comparable to those in the standard Health Net HMO,” he said.”This would have had a greater negative impact on even more employees.”

Duckett also noted that, despite the financial challenges UC faces, the university continues to protect lower-paid workers by setting premiums based on pay bands and giving employees a wide range of plans to choose from-all with the same comprehensive benefits coverage. “We also provide the same coverage for dependents as for employees, which is very different from the approach of other large employers who cover around 70 percent of the cost versus our 87 percent,” Duckett said.

UC has also expanded on the requirements of national health care reform to allow faculty and staff to enroll their children up to age 26 in all health plans for which children are eligible. That includes dental, vision, legal, and life, and accident insurance-in addition to medical insurance.

Complete details on Open Enrollment choices and changes are available on the Open Enrollment website:

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