The University Record, September 6, 1994

Open enrollment features beginning of flexible benefits

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

Open enrollment, a time to enroll in or change benefit options, will be Oct. 10–28, one week longer than previous years. There will be changes for most staff members. In addition, four new programs, the beginning of flexible benefits, will be available to regular, non-bargained-for staff.

Active staff members will have the opportunity again this year to use the Benefits Enrollment Line (BEL), an interactive telephone line, to record their choices. The BEL will be open 7:30 a.m.–11 p.m. EST. It will close at 4:30 p.m. EST on Oct. 28, the last day of open enrollment.

Each active staff member will receive an enrollment package in early October that will explain the enrollment line and provide information on the various benefits. An individualized worksheet will be included in the package. It will tell staff members what benefits they are presently enrolled in and what changes they can make.

Retired University staff members will not need to use the BEL. The package of information they will receive in early October will contain an enrollment form which they must complete and return by Oct. 28 if they wish to make changes. A retiree health fair will be held 2–4 p.m., Oct. 12, at the Holiday Inn, 2900 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor. Retirees are invited to attend and ask questions about the various changes in health care coverage.

What’s new or changed for open enrollment, 1994:

  • In the past, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and United of Omaha were offered as separate plans. For simplicity, the two plans are now being tied together as one medical option. Now, staff members can’t choose one without the other. Retirees should read their open enrollment materials carefully to see how this change affects them and their dependents.

  • Staff members need not worry about F-Rider status for dependent children any longer. These children can now be covered as regular dependents. In some cases, this will mean lower medical premiums for staff members with dependents over age 19.

  • Two HMOs, Blue Care Network of East Michigan and Blue Care Network of Southeast Michigan, are no longer offered. Current participants in these plans must select new medical options for 1995. Participants who don’t select new options will generally be placed, along with their dependents, in the Comprehensive Major Medical Plan.

    Flexible benefits will be introduced in phases over several years. For 1995, non-bargained-for, regular, active staff members may choose from four new insurance options:

  • An enhanced life insurance program that offers more insurance options, covers 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.

    Open Enrollment Fairs will be held to highlight the new benefit plans and offer staff members a chance to ask questions. A chart comparing the benefits of the medical plans will also be available at the fairs.

    Fair dates are:

    Tues., Oct. 11, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Dearborn Campus, Recreation and Organizations Center. Presentation at noon.

    Thurs., Oct. 13, 1–5 p.m., Flint Campus, Michigan Rooms A and B. Presentation at 2:30 p.m.

    Tues., Oct. 18, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Central Campus, Rackham Building. Presentations at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

    Thurs., Oct. 20, 9 a.m.–3 p.m., North Campus, Chrysler Center Auditorium. Presentations at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

    Mon., Oct. 24, 1–5 p.m., Medical Campus, University Hospital, Ford Auditorium. Presentation at 3 p.m.

    The presentations will address only the new benefit plans.

    Staff members should look for the open enrollment package that will be coming to their home address in early October. Those who don’t receive one should contact the Benefits Office at 763-1214 to request a duplicate enrollment package.

    Future Record articles will give details on the new benefit plans.