Health Insurance

To see current announcements regarding the Penn State Benefits Plans, please see the News and Announcements page.

Penn State offers two health care options to its employee population:

Both plans:

  • Are administered by Highmark BlueShield
  • Cover the same services
  • Utilize the same provider network
  • Have the same drug formulary
  • Include 100% coverage for preventive care with in-network providers
  • Offer world-wide coverage
  • Treat all emergency care as in-network
  • Have no lifetime maximum
  • Carry a deductible
  • Contain a cost-sharing component called co-insurance
  • Have an out-of-pocket maximum associated with them 

Differences between the two plans:

  • The deductible that needs to be satisfied before medical claims begin to be paid at 90%
  • The amount for the out-of-pocket maximum
  • The employee’s payroll contribution for the premium
  • The method by which the employee may put aside pre-tax dollars for use in paying for medical expenses
  • Other differences, such as eligibility criteria, and prescription drug costs as they relate to the deductible

Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC)

Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) documents summarize important information about the healthcare coverage options offered under the two Penn State health plans:

PPO Savings Plan Faculty & Staff SBC           PPO Blue Plan Faculty & Staff SBC

PPO Savings Plan Teamsters SBC            PPO Blue Plan Teamsters SBC


Regular full-time faculty and staff members are eligible to enroll in Penn State’s Health Care Plan. For information about spouse and dependent children eligibility, please see Dependent Eligibility.

Postdoctoral Scholars: As per postdoctoral scholar eligibility, the per-pay contribution rates follow the same salary-based schedule as for faculty and staff. For additional information regarding the benefits available to postdoctoral scholars, please contact or visit the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

Healthcare Premiums

Payroll contributions will be determined based on the employee's annual base salary as of October 31, 2015. For the 2017 plan year, the new payroll contribution amount is effective January 1, 2017 and will remain the same for the entire year.

If both the employee and spouse are employed at Penn State, they have the ability to choose which employee will carry the health benefits and be assessed the corresponding salary-indexed payroll deduction. Changes to the plan holder should be made in ESSIC, and may be made only during the Benefits Open Enrollment period in November.

Please see sample contribution tables for the payroll deductions for various salaries. Note that these represent the payroll deductions for salaries listed; the employee's specific, salary-based payroll contribution for 2016 is reflected in ESSIC.

Tools for Decision-Making

Following are tools that will assist Penn State employees in making the health plan selection that is best for themselves and their families:

Healthcare Spending Accounts

Penn Staters have the following options for putting aside pre-tax dollars to help pay for medical expenses:

Health Savings Accounts - For PPO Savings Plan members

Flexible Spending Accounts - For PPO Blue Plan members and for Penn State employees who are not in a Penn State health plan

To see the medical expenses for which these spending accounts may used, please go to Comprehensive List of Qualifying Medical Expenses

Additional Resources

  1. Visit Highmark Blue Shield and log in at the top of the screen
  2. Click on the Health & Wellness tab at top of webpage under Highmark logo
  3. Click on the Wellness Profile WebMD link from the list on the left-hand side of screen
  4. In the upper right side of the page, click on the triangle to the right of your name
  5. Click on "Settings"
  6. Click "Account Deletion"
  7. Click the checkbox beside "I agree to the deletion of my data as described above."
  8. Click "Delete My Account"
  9. Type "DELETE" in the box, then click "Confirm Deletion"

Upon completing the steps outlined above, the member's WebMD account (and Wellness Profile) will be deleted.

Please note that members cannot "delete" their Wellness Profile from WebMD and still have access to other WebMD functionality. Those wishing to delete their responses to the Wellness Profile will need to delete their WebMD account.


2017 Premiums for Faculty and Staff:

2017 PPO Blue Plan (Faculty & Staff)
Plan Type $30,000 $40,000 $50,000 $60,000 $75,000 $85,000 $100,000 $140,000
(1.81% of Salary)
$45.28 $60.37 $75.47 $90.56 $113.20 $128.30 $150.94 $211.31
(4.40% of Salary)
$110.05 $146.74 $183.42 $220.11 $275.13 $311.82 $366.84 $513.58
(4.08% of Salary)
$101.98 $135.97 $169.97 $203.96 $254.95 $288.95 $339.94 $475.91
(5.61% of Salary)
$140.37 $187.16 $233.95 $280.74 $350.93 $397.72 $467.91 $655.07
2017 PPO Savings Plan (Faculty & Staff)
Plan Type $30,000 $40,000 $50,000 $60,000 $75,000 $85,000 $100,000 $140,000
(0.63% of Salary)
$15.87 $21.15 $26.44 $31.73 $39.66 $44.95 $52.88 $74.04
2 Person
(1.53% of Salary)
$38.14 $50.85 $63.56 $76.28 $95.34 $108.06 $127.13 $177.98
(1.42% of Salary)
$35.39 $47.19 $58.99 $70.78 $88.48 $100.28 $117.97 $165.16
(1.95% of Salary)
$48.82 $65.09 $81.36 $97.63 $122.04 $138.31 $162.72 $227.81

2017 Bi-Weekly Premiums for Teamsters:

2017 PPO Blue Plan (Teamsters)
Plan Type $25,000 $30,000 $35,000 $40,000 $45,000 $50,000 $60,000
(2.56% of Salary)
$24.62 $29.54 $34.46 $39.38 $44.31 $49.23 $59.08
(5.53% of Salary)
$53.17 $63.81 $74.44 $85.08 $95.71 $106.35 $127.62
(5.16% of Salary)
$49.62 $59.54 $69.46 $79.38 $89.31 $99.23 $119.08
(6.93% of Salary)
$66.63 $79.96 $93.29 $106.62 $119.94 $133.27 $159.92
2017 PPO Savings Plan (Teamsters)
Plan Type $25,000 $30,000 $35,000 $40,000 $45,000 $50,000 $60,000
(1.04% of Salary)
$10.00 $12.00 $14.00 $16.00 $18.00 $20.00 $24.00
2 Person
(1.81% of Salary)
$17.40 $20.88 $24.37 $27.85 $31.33 $34.81 $41.77
(1.71% of Salary)
$16.44 $19.73 $23.02 $26.31 $29.60 $32.88 $39.46
(2.17% of Salary)
$20.87 $25.04 $29.21 $33.38 $37.56 $41.73 $50.08

2017/2018 Premiums for Part-Time Employees:

Due to vendor changes in 2018, all participants in the part-time employee PPO Blue Plan through Highmark, will be moved to the applicable part-time employee PPO Plan through Aetna. The following provisions will still apply.

Individuals who became eligible on or before December 31, 2014 for the part-time health care plan will continue to be eligible for such provisions, provided:

  1. There is no involuntary or voluntary separation from University employment, for example if the employee leaves University employment for any period of time
  2. The employee continues to be enrolled in the part-time health care plan, with applicable payment of health care plan premiums, with no drop of coverage
  3. The employee transfers into a full-time benefits eligible position.

See Policy HR103 Employment Conditions for Part-Time, Intermittent/Short-Term & Full-Time Student Employees for established criteria for those grandfathered under discontinued Policy HR05 prior to December 31, 2014.

As previously communicated with the discontinuation of Policy HR05, there will no longer be an open enrollment period for part-time employees covered under this grandfathered plan. Changes may only be made with a qualifying life status change (marriage, divorce, birth, adoption, etc.).

2017/2018 Part-Time Employee Contributions Per Pay
Plan Type Monthly Rate Bi-Weekly Rate
Individual $281.66 $130.00
Family $765.97 $353.52