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Updated 10:00 AM August 14, 2006




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Preview of 2007 benefits choices

During Open Enrollment Oct. 9-20, the number of health care plans offered to faculty, staff, and retirees will change, and benefits-eligible employees will find a more convenient way to recoup money set aside in a health care flexible spending account.

At the end of this year, the Blue Cross Blue Shield/United traditional plan will be eliminated from the University's choices. BCBS/United members may file claims for services received in 2006 through Dec. 31, 2007.

This change is the result of the University's annual review of insurance plans, which helps determine when and if adjustments are needed. The analysis revealed a decline of more than 40 percent in BCBS/United plan enrollment since 2005 when the University began offering two Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, M-CARE PPO PLUS and Blue Cross Blue Shield Community Blue PPO. Like BCBS traditional, these PPO plans include access to physicians nationwide.

During Open Enrollment, benefit eligible faculty, staff and retirees will choose from among M-CARE HMO, Care Choices HMO, Health Alliance Plan, M-CARE POS, M-CARE PPO PLUS, Comprehensive Major Medical, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Community Blue PPO.

Anyone enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield/United plan who does not elect a new plan during Open Enrollment, automatically will be enrolled in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Community Blue PPO for the 2007 calendar year. Automatic enrollment protects BCBS/United plan members from any possibility of a lapse in coverage if they fail to elect a new plan before the end of Open Enrollment.

New in 2007:

SHPS Health Care Flexible Spending Account card

Those who enroll in a health care flexible spending account (FSA) will be able to pay for eligible expenses at the doctor's office, pharmacy, dental and vision provider with the SHPS Spending Account card. The card debits eligible expenses directly from the employee's FSA account and reduces the number of claims that must be filed.

FSAs allow participants to set aside pre-tax dollars for certain out-of-pocket health care and dependent care expenses. The FSA requires annual enrollment. For more information, go to

Prescription rates

New rates take effect Jan. 1, 2007. The prescription drug co-pays for AFSCME and Trades members are changing. Monthly rates for 2007 are available on the Benefits Office Web site,

E-mail confirmation

This year faculty and staff members will receive an e-mail confirming their choices following submission of elections on eBenefits. Confirmation statements will be mailed to retirees, survivors and employees on long-term disability.

The schedule:

Sept. 11: Retirees Health Fair at Ypsilanti Marriott at Eagle Crest.

Late September: Distribution of Open Enrollment books will begin via campus mail to faculty and staff. Books for retirees, survivors and long-term disability participants will be mailed to home addresses.

Oct. 9-20: Open Enrollment. Faculty and staff should make desired changes to their benefits by 5 p.m. Oct. 20. Those with a uniqname and UMICH Kerberos password can access the system throughout Open Enrollment, and may make changes to their elections as many times as desired up to the Oct. 20 deadline. Employees without a uniqname and/or password should contact ITCS at

For staff without computer access, paper forms will be available by request from the HR/Payroll Service Center.

Retirees, survivors and employees on long-term disability can make elections using the election form in their Open Enrollment books.

Jan. 1: New benefits elections and rates take effect.

An Opportunity to Review Other Benefits

Some benefits, such as life insurance, long-term disability, long-term care and the retirement savings plan, are not part of Open Enrollment. These may be elected or changed at any time during the year. Forms can be found at

Related Information

Medical Plan Navigator

The Medical Plan Navigator allows users to view side-by-side comparison charts of the plans. The navigator does not make recommendations, but it is a tool for narrowing focus by searching available plans by zip code of residence (HMO service area) or by certain plan features, such as well child care or vision coverage. Faculty and staff can access the navigator at

For More Information

Web: To view plan information and 2007 rates for all benefits plans see

E-mail: To reach a benefits representative contact:

Phone: To consult with HR/Payroll Service Center staff, call 5-2000 or (734) 615-2000 (off-campus), or (866) 647-7657 (toll-free long-distance).

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