The University Record, October 1, 1996

Open enrollment begins Oct. 14

By Sue Lowe
Benefits Office

Open Enrollment for University benefits will be held Oct. 14-Nov. 1. Choices made during Open Enrollment will take effect Jan. 1, 1997.

As in the past, faculty and staff will enroll on the Benefits Enrollment Line (BEL). Retirees, employees on long-term disability, and those on leave or reduction in force (RIF) will use paper forms. The Open Enrollment materials, which will be sent to the homes of faculty, staff and retirees this month, will explain the details of enrolling.

The Benefits Enrollment Line (BEL) will be available 7:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. (including weekends), but will close at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 1. Call 763-0425 in Ann Arbor, or 1-800-236-1492 elsewhere in the country. A cellular phone will not work because it produces too much static.


Assistance with Open Enrollment

The main campus and Medical Center Benefits Offices will be open 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 29-31, during the last week of Open Enrollment to offer assistance to faculty and staff members.

Faculty and staff members who are satisfied with their current benefit options do not need to call BEL; their benefits will automatically continue---except Reimbursement Accounts. These require annual enrollment.

Flex-eligible faculty and staff (nonbargained-for) may need to consider other reasons for calling BEL:


To enroll in the new life insurance or options,


To opt out of dental and legal,


To continue vision coverage.


New dental plan---three options

A new dental plan with three options will be available this year. Bargained-for staff, retirees, spouses of deceased retirees, employees on long-term disability and eligible dependents of these groups will be eligible for Option I only. Flex-eligible faculty and staff will be able to choose from Options I, II or III for themselves and their eligible dependents.

Members of the Dental Assistance or Mutually Preferred Dental plans will be defaulted into the option that is most like their current plan. They will not have to call BEL to continue coverage.

The two-year lock-in periods for dental coverage have been replaced by a one-year commitment.


News on rates

Favorable claims experience has caused the cost of health insurance to decrease 2.25 percent overall for 1996. Single coverage will be paid by the department with no cost to the faculty or staff member this year.

Life insurance rates for the basic plan and the enhanced plan will be higher than current rates but will be lower than January 1996 rates. Dependent life insurance rates have increased slightly, but are still 38 percent lower than this time last year.


Vision coverage will end for some

Vision coverage will terminate for flex-eligible faculty and staff who complete their vision lock-in Dec. 31, 1996. Approximately 3,000 employees who signed up for vision coverage during the 1994 Open Enrollment meet this requirement. These participants must re-enroll for another two-year commitment to continue vision coverage.


Life insurance options

Flex-eligible faculty and staff who want to avoid paying taxes on their life insurance should choose life insurance coverage at or below $50,000. The University has added a flat $50,000 level of coverage to meet this purpose.

Just as last year, a $5,000 policy that does not require a health statement is available to flex-eligible faculty and staff.


Ways to get "cash back"

Under the "U-Choose" plan for flex-eligible faculty and staff there are five ways to receive cash back from the University:

1. $72 "U-Choose dollars" annually to all flex-eligible faculty and staff.

2. $800 annually for opting out of health insurance.

3. Up to $400 annually for opting down to Comprehensive Major Medical health insurance. ($400 for one person, $300 for two-person, $200 for three or more persons.)

4. $60 annually for opting out of dental insurance.

5. An amount equal to the department's annual contribution toward life insurance. (The Benefits Office will calculate this cost when it sends out the Open Enrollment materials.)

Those who need to make changes after Open Enrollment can do so by calling BEL during the adjustment period---Nov. 11-27. Otherwise, benefits choices made during Open Enrollment stay in effect for all of 1997.