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Updated 10:00 AM October 25, 2004
 

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Open Enrollment ends Oct. 29; many using new Web option


Many people have opted to use the new Web-based eBenefits option this year as they participate in Open Enrollment. The annual period for faculty, staff and retirees to enroll in or make changes to their benefits plans began Oct. 18 and ends this week, Oct. 29.

On Oct. 18, the first day of availability for eBenefits, almost 1,400 people logged into the system. About 95 percent of those who completed the online survey after using the system that day indicated they would use eBenefits again.

The system will continue to be available to make 2005 benefits elections until
7 p.m. Oct. 29. Employees may choose to use eBenefits or return their paper Personal Enrollment Worksheets (PEW) to the Benefits Office by that date, but they should not do both; online enrollment overrides paper enrollment. Retirees should return their paper PEWs by the same Oct. 29 deadline.
For more information about benefit plans, call the HR/Payroll Service Center at (734) 615-2000.

The University's new medical plan rate structure and the addition of two new Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) medical plans make this Open Enrollment particularly important. Employees are encouraged to compare the features and 2005 premium rate of their current medical plan to all of the available plans and rates to be sure they select the most economical option that fully meets their needs.

This year, faculty and staff may choose to view their current benefits and make changes for 2005 on the Web using eBenefits through Wolverine Access. A Uniqname and UMICH (Kerberos) password allow access to the new system throughout the Open Enrollment period. Employees without a uniqname and/or password should contact the Information Technology Central Services Accounts Office, http://www.itcs.umich.edu/accounts/.

Two new resources are available during Open Enrollment:

eBenefits labs

Human Resources, in partnership with Michigan Administrative Information Services, is offering eBenefits labs at various times and locations on all three campuses. These labs provide computers for individuals without convenient access to the Internet from their home or work, and they are staffed by representatives who can answer technical questions about using eBenefits. Whether accessing the system from home, work or one of the eBenefits labs, Internet Explorer is the recommended Web browser. Lab locations and hours can be found at http://www.umich.edu/~benefits/events/oe/labs.htm.

Medical plan navigator

The new medical plan navigator allows users to view side-by-side comparison charts of only those plans they are considering. The plan navigator does not make recommendations, but it is a helpful tool for narrowing focus by searching for available plans by ZIP code of residence (HMO service area) or by certain plan features such as well-child care or vision coverage. Access the U-M Medical Plan Navigator from the Open Enrollment page on the Benefits Office Web site at http://www.umich.edu/~benefits/events/oe/index.htm.

The Benefits Office reminds employees that flexible spending accounts (FSAs) for health care or dependent care expenses require annual enrollment. Employees who will keep the same benefits elections for 2005, and do not want to enroll in an FSA, do not need to make any elections—Web or paper. Current benefit elections will continue in 2005 at the new premium rates published in the Open Enrollment workbook.

Additionally, certain benefits are not part of Open Enrollment because they can be elected or changed at any time during the year. These include life insurance, extended long-term disability coverage and the retirement savings plan. Forms for all of these plans can be found at http://www.umich.edu/~benefits/forms/index.htm.

For more information about benefit plans, call the HR/Payroll Service Center at 5-2000 (campus) or (734) 615-2000 (local). For hands-on assistance using eBenefits during Open Enrollment, visit one of the eBenefits labs.

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