The University Record, October 10, 1994

Staff members, retirees see important benefits changes

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles on changes in benefits.

Open enrollment begins today (Oct. 10). It lasts three weeks this year, ending at 4:30 p.m. EST, Oct. 28. During this time period, staff members and retirees will see some important changes and innovations in their benefit plans.

Active staff members will have the opportunity to use the Benefits Enrollment Line (BEL) to record their choices again this year. BEL, an interactive telephone line, will be open 7:30 a.m.–11 p.m. EST.

An enrollment package will be mailed to the home of every active staff member this month. The packet will contain an explanation of how to use the BEL, information on benefits, and an individualized worksheet. The worksheet will indicate staff members’ current benefits and changes they can make.

Retired University staff will not need to use the BEL. In early October they will receive an open enrollment booklet containing the forms they need to change their benefits. Retirees will be asked to return the forms to the Benefit Office by the end of the day, Oct. 28. An Oct. 28 postmark will be accepted, but campus mail received after the deadline will not.

It is important for retirees and active staff to realize that four health care plans have been changed this year:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and United of Omaha are now being offered as one plan. Staff members who have mixed coverage for their families, that is, some in BCBSM and some in United, should read their open enrollment materials carefully. Dependents can lose coverage if the staff member does not take steps to preserve it. This change does not affect current retirees.

  • Two HMOs, Blue Care Network of East Michigan and Blue Care Network of Southeast Michigan, are no longer offered. All participants in these HMOs must select new medical options for 1995. Active staff members who don’t call BEL to change their coverage will be automatically enrolled in the comprehensive major medical plan. Retirees need to read their open enrollment materials to learn what options they have.

    Staff members no longer need to establish F-Rider status for dependent children ages 19–25. These children are now considered regular dependents. This change may mean lower medical premiums for staff members with dependents over age 19.

    The maximum contribution to the two reimbursement accounts has increased to $4,992 annually or $416 monthly. Highly compensated staff members can have up to $300 monthly deducted for dependent care.

    Non-bargained-for staff members will have four new benefits plans to choose from:

  • An enhanced life insurance program that offers more insurance options, coverage for dependents and provides non-smokers’ rates.

  • An enhanced dental program.

  • A vision plan.

  • A short-term disability program for staff members with less than two years of employment at the University.

    Staff members and retirees should watch for the open enrollment package that should be arriving at their homes this week. Those who do not receive one by Wednesday (Oct. 12), should contact the Benefits Office at 763-1214, so that another enrollment package can be prepared for them.