What Do I Need To Do During Benefits Open Enrollment?
Beginning November 1, through November 16, 2012, you are able to enroll or make changes to the following benefit options:
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs)
- Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)
- Long-Term Disability and/or Annuity Premium Benefit (proof of good health required)
- Age-Graded Life Insurance
If you are already enrolled in the Age-Graded Life Insurance, you may increase your age-graded life insurance amount by ONE times your salary during Benefits Open Enrollment without proof of good health, up to maximum of eight times your salary or $1.5 million.
If you are not currently enrolled in the life insurance program, you may apply for coverage at any time; proof of good health will be required.
To enroll, make changes, add or remove dependents, log into ESSIC by November 16, 2012.
If you are NOT changing any of your benefits, but you DO want to participate in the Flexible Spending Account, you MUST log into ESSIC and elect the Flexible Spending Account option and specify the amount of money you want deducted each pay period from your paycheck.
Health Care Payroll Contribution
2013 will be the second year of the salary-indexed payroll premium contribution method. A sample of the contribution rates for 2013 is outlined below.
Payroll contributions will be determined on your annual base salary as of September 30, 2012. Your new payroll contribution amount will be effective January 1, 2013 and will remain the same for the entire year (Appointments of irregular duration will be adjusted as deemed appropriate when the appointment is updated). Your own specific, salary-based payroll contribution for 2012 is reflected in ESSIC now; the 2013 contribution rates will be reflected after January 1, 2013. The 2013 rates are reflected in the Benefits Open Enrollment area in ESSIC, which you will see if you are making changes for next year.
Flexible Spending Accounts
In 2012, we transitioned administration of our flexible spending account (FSA) benefit to Highmark Blue Shield. We have received positive feedback about this change, which most notably offers the pre-funded “debit” card, and we hope to increase enrollment this year in this tax-saving benefit.
That being said, any transition does take some adjustment and those who have had some concerns about the new administration have been heard. We continue to make resources available on our website addressing most, if not all, of the questions regarding how to use the online Highmark system and making the most of the debit card.
One major change to the healthcare FSA for 2013 is that Health Care Reform legislation has reduced the yearly maximum to $2,500 per employee, so thoughtful planning is essential due to the reduced allowable amount for next year. The dependent care FSA allowable IRS maximum amount will remain at $5,000 per family, per year.
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions to learn about how you can save tax money or contact Highmark Blue Shield at 800-914-4384 with questions.
In order to participate in the FSA program(s), you MUST enroll during Benefits Open Enrollment through ESSIC, Employee Self-Service Information Center, beginning November 1 and ending November 16, 2012.
Dependent Verification Program
A new initiative, the Dependent Verification Program, will begin in January 2013. This initiative will ensure that those dependents, who are currently enrolled in our benefit plans, meet the required eligibility criteria. This is a proven way to ensure fiscal responsibility for the benefit resources entrusted to us as well as to help educate faculty and staff about the eligibility criteria for dependent coverage. To learn more about this program, please visit the Dependent Verification Program web page.
There are no changes to the Medical plan except the two enhancements below, as dictated by Health Care Reform:
Enhanced Women’s Preventive Benefits
Highmark will provide 100% coverage for an expanded list of women’s preventive health services. Many of these services are already covered at 100%, but the goal is to promote wellness and prevention of disease and illness. Listed below is a sample of the preventive services that are included for female members:
- Well female visits and preventive exams
- Contraception Counseling
- Most Female Sterilization Procedures
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Screening and Testing
- Sexually Transmitted Infections Counseling
- Interpersonal and Domestic Violence Screening and Counseling
Enhanced Prescription Drug Coverage for Contraceptives
The cost-sharing for contraceptives has changed, due to Health Care Reform legislation. All Generic and Brand formulary contraceptives will be covered under the plan with no cost-sharing. In all other instances, such as if you are choosing the brand name drug when a generic is available or you are taking a non-formulary medication, normal prescription drug coinsurance will apply. All FDA-approved contraceptive methods are included in this enhancement.
Pharmacy Network Change for 2013
Effective January 1, 2013, Target and Walgreens retail pharmacies will no longer participate in the prescription drug network for the Highmark PPOBlue plan. If you currently use one of these pharmacies, you need to transfer your prescription to a network pharmacy.
Additionally, Express Scripts and Medco have merged as one company to manage your prescription benefit under your Highmark PPOBlue plan. The combined company is called Express Scripts. Until the renaming process is complete, you may see the name of either company on communications and on the website. There will be no changes to your pharmacy benefit program.
Dental and Vision
No changes to the dental and vision plans – current payroll contribution rates will remain in effect for 2013.
Having a baby or adopting? Adding a spouse or same-sex domestic partner? Visit our Employee & Family Resources section to assist you in getting the most out of your benefits during many of life's milestones.
Want to Test Your Financial IQ?
In collaboration with our retirement plan record keeper, TIAA-CREF, we are offering an opportunity for you to learn more about your financial fitness! All you need to do is take a short, online quiz about your financial knowledge. Then, every work day during the month of November, you’ll receive an email with a financial IQ Quiz with 5 questions. Each time you complete a quiz during the month of November, you will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win one of 3 ipads! The more you participate, the greater your chances to win an iPad!!
Start the quiz here, and continue each day for your chance to win! (Contest Rules, Administration, and Prize Fulfillment are handled by a professional administration agency.)
Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)
As part of Health Care Reform, Penn State has made available to you a Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) for your review. This document summarizes important information about the healthcare coverage option that is offered under the PPOBlue group plan at Penn State. A paper copy is also available, free of charge, by contacting the Employee Benefits Division.
Changes to Your 2013 Taxes
Due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), there will be some changes in 2013 regarding individuals earning more than $200,000 a year, and married couples who earn more than $250,00 per year. Please review the 2013 Medicare Tax Increase changes.
Form W-2 Update
As a part of Health Care Reform legislation, beginning with 2012 tax year, employers will be required to disclose annually the value of the benefits provided by the employer for each employee’s health insurance coverage on the employee’s annual Form W-2. The Payroll Department has already made necessary changes within the payroll system to ensure that Penn State complies with this new requirement and you will see this update on your 2012 Form W-2.