Health benefits open enrollment starts; coverage time frame shifts

Once again, it’s time to review the University’s health plan options.

Eligible faculty and staff have the opportunity each year during the month of May to enroll, change or cancel their health or dental-only plans with no pre-existing condition exclusions.

Changes made during this year’s open enrollment will be effective from July 1-Dec. 31.

The Office of Human Resources has announced that the cycle for health benefits coverage will now run on the calendar year instead of the University’s fiscal year. The current open enrollment period will be for health benefits from July 1-Dec. 31.

Another health open enrollment period will be Oct. 15-Nov. 30 and will cover Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2006.

Human resources has also announced that effective July 1, there will be no reduction in health benefits for active employees; a moderate increase in the UnitedHealthcare plan premiums; an increase in the health lifetime maximum to $2 million; and a minor premium charge for dental-only coverage.

For those employees who wish to continue their current health or dental-only plan and coverage level, no enrollment action is required.

However, for those employees who wish to enroll, change or cancel their health plan, consider the following sources of information:

• Health open enrollment brochure;

• Human resources Web site,;

• Health carrier sites; and

• Human resources and benefits departments.

During the first week of May, health open enrollment brochures were sent to the campus boxes of faculty and staff. All employees are encouraged to read the brochure, especially the sections titled “A Plan for the Future,” “What’s New” and “On-Line Health Tools.”

“The changes outlined in the section ‘A Plan for the Future’ are the first step in our three-year plan to establish a new focus, a new philosophy, for our total benefits program,” said Thomas W. Lauman, director of benefits. “Active faculty and staff will be receiving more details in the coming months.”

Employees should take a moment to review the University’s four health plans and one dental-only plan to confirm that their current enrollment is appropriate.