Take 5 to make the most of your benefits during Open Enrollment
Stability is the watchword for this fall’s Open Enrollment. All of the current medical plans will be available in 2015, with a few benefits enhancements and no major changes.
Open Enrollment begins at 8 a.m., Oct. 30 and runs through 5 p.m., Nov. 25.
Open enrollment, the time each year when you can change your medical plan and sign up for other benefits, is a good time to consider any changes to your situation, plan ahead for significant medical events and take stock of your physical well-being. UC offers a wealth of valuable benefits for faculty and staff, and Open Enrollment is a great time to be sure you’re taking advantage of those that are suited to your needs.
At UCOP, be sure to take advantage of UCOP’s Benefits Fair on Nov. 5 and a series of brown bags, sponsored by the UCOP Benefits Office, where you can learn more and make the most of your medical benefits. (Click this link to see last week’s Link story on these events.)
“Our focus on health benefits is a reflection of how highly we value each member of the UC community,” said Dwaine Duckett, vice president of human resources. “Open Enrollment is the time to evaluate choices and be sure you’re making the most of all the university offers.”
Updates for 2015
This year, you can also enroll in the ARAG Legal plan, which will be open for enrollment with an enhanced identity theft benefit. In addition, UC is changing the carry-over feature for the Health Flexible Spending Account in 2015 to enable participants to carry-over $500 for the full year rather than the current provision allowing carry-over of the full balance for a two-and-a-half month grace period.
Those enrolled in the Supplemental Disability Plan will be able to increase their waiting period during Open Enrollment this year. Plan premiums for those who currently have a 7- or 30-day waiting period are increasing, and choosing a longer waiting period could reduce costs.
The details regarding these changes will be available when the 2015 Open Enrollment website (ucnet.universityofcalifornia.edu/oe) launches beginning Oct. 27 and in the Open Enrollment booklets, which employees will receive via U.S. mail about the same time.
Medical plan enhancements
Responding to employee requests, UC is adding coverage for chiropractic and acupuncture services. All plans will cover these services for up to 24 visits combined. Your cost for the services depends on your medical plan.
Blue Shield Health Savings Plan, Core and UC Care are also adding the Teladoc program, which lets members speak with a U.S. board-certified doctor on the phone or via videoconference any time of the day or night. Health Net Blue & Gold offers a similar program called MD Live. These programs can help when you have non-emergency medical issues, when your doctor isn’t available and in areas with limited access to urgent or emergency care. The costs vary depending on your plan.
Visit the Open Enrollment website, beginning Oct. 27, for more information about medical plan changes.
Medical plan premiums
Over the past 20 years, increases in medical insurance costs have become a fact of life across the U.S. as well as for UC and its faculty, staff and retirees. The university continues to pay the larger share of the cost—more than $1.6 billion and on average 86.6 percent of the cost.
This year, UC has capped rate increases at $25 for all employees for the largest plan, Health Net Blue & Gold, an HMO with the broadest access and availability at all UC locations. This reflects the university’s continued commitment to provide choice, access and affordability in its medical benefits offerings. It also factors in the strong employee preference for, and satisfaction with, HMO plans. You can view 2015 rates now.
New tools help you choose and use benefits wisely
UC is also introducing a series of short, educational videos to help employees and their families understand their benefits and use them wisely. Available online and via mobile devices, the videos address some of the complexities of using health insurance and answer basic questions such as what’s the difference between an HMO and a PPO. Take five minutes to visit the Open Enrollment website to view the videos.