By Sue Lowe
Eligible faculty and staff members who fail to call the Benefits Enrollment Line (BEL) during open enrollment could lose as much as $1,000 in cash this year.
These staff members will not lose any of their current benefits, but they will lose the $72 U-Choose dollars for 1996 and any other dollars they might have received for opting out of health, dental and life insurance benefits or opting down to Comprehensive Major Medical health insurance.
The most vulnerable staff members are those who currently do not participate under their own Social Security number in any of the medical insurance plans offered at the University. If these staff members do not call BEL to choose no coverage, they will be defaulted into one-person Comprehensive Major Medical coverage, and will lose the maximum amount of cash the new flexible benefits plan offers, including the $72 U-Choose dollars and the $800 for opting out of medical coverage.
The Benefits Office is aware that some staff members do not want to call BEL and are put off by what they perceive as a complicated process. This year the Benefit Office has developed an alternative to the regular BEL menu which is faster and easier. This new alternative is called the Express Lane. Faculty and staff members can secure their current benefits for next year and still qualify for the appropriate cash back by calling BEL, selecting the express lane, receiving a confirmation number and hanging up. Because reimbursement accounts require re-enrollment every year, the express lane will allow users to select reimbursement accounts.
Staff members who wish to make changes to their benefits must follow the regular BEL menu instead of taking the Express Lane.
It is important for all staff members who are eligible for the flexible benefits program to call BEL. If they dont, they will lose the following benefits (the dollars are annual amounts):
(e.g.: $400 cash back for selecting one-person coverage; $300 cash back for selecting staff member plus one dependent coverage; $200 cash back for selecting staff member plus two or more coverage).
n Loss of 1996 reimbursement accounts.
Generally, faculty and staff with non-union appointments will be eligible this year for the flexible benefits program. Eligibility rules are contained in the open enrollment materials which will be sent to each faculty and staff member in early October.
Open enrollment is Oct. 16Nov. 3. Benefit choices will become effective Jan. 1.