Open Enrollment 2009: Changes in premiums, benefits

benefits-u.jpgSMU’s annual Open Enrollment ends Friday, October 31, 2008 – and this year, for the first time, faculty and staff members can changes their benefits choices online. The Open Enrollment period is the only opportunity for SMU employees to make changes to benefits elections for the coming year.

This year Human Resources introduces SMU’s first Access.SMU Benefits Open Enrollment. The application gives faculty and staff members easy access to useful information to help make decisions on benefit options and plans:

  • Type in your Access.SMU user ID and password as you normally would to review your pay statement.
  • Click Benefits Open Enrollment under Benefits on the right to access your personalized Open Enrollment record.
  • Be sure to read all instructions carefully before making elections for 2009.
  • Important: Faculty and staff members who wish to enroll a spouse or dependent child who has never been enrolled in an SMU benefits plan must make all elections on the 2009 Open Enrollment paper form. Find more information on how to proceed.

    >> More on benefits changes for 2009


    A summary of the changes to benefits programs for 2009:

  • Employee Medical Contributions: There will be premium increases for the $500 and $1,000 Deductible PPO options administered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) and the Aetna HMO. There are no changes to premiums for the $2,000 and $2,500 Deductible PPO options, or to the Dental and Vision plans. The 2009 employee premium rates for the Medical, Dental, and Vision plans can be found in the 2009 Benefits Guide.
  • BCBSTX PPO Mail Order Prescriptions: The mail order copay for “preferred” brand-name medications will remain at 30%, but the maximum capped amount will increase from $40 to $65 per prescription. The mail order copay for “non-preferred” brand-name medications will remain at 50%, but the maximum capped amount will increase from $100 to $125 per prescription. There will be no change in coverage for generic medications.
  • Aetna HMO Office Visit and ER Copay Changes: The Primary Care Physician (PCP) office visit copay will increase from $25 to $35, and the copay for emergency room visits will increase from $75 to $100. These changes were made to mitigate an abnormally high premium increase from Aetna.
  • Emeriti Health Account Contributions: The employee monthly pre-tax contribution to the Emeriti Health Account will increase from $50 per month to $52, effective Jan. 1, 2009. SMU’s contribution to employee accounts will increase by the same amount.
  • Informed choices

    Human Resources urges all faculty and staff members to follow the steps below to ensure that you and your family get the most out of the SMU benefits plans for 2009:

  • Carefully review the electronic version of the 2009 Benefits Guide. It contains detailed information about the options available to you and your family.
  • Make sure you understand the changes to the benefits plans so that you can make informed decisions that will best meet your needs.
  • Elections for 2009 must be made no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, October 31, 2008.
  • If you wish to enroll in the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for the first time or “re-enroll,” you must make a new election for 2009 – even if you wish to elect the same amount you elected for 2008. The same rule applies for Health Savings Account (HSA) enrollments.
  • If you need specific benefits guidance, schedule a face-to-face meeting with a representative of the Benefits Department. Scheduling an appointment will ensure that you are able to receive assistance in a timely manner. The Human Resources offices are located on East Campus in Expressway Tower, 6116 N. Central Expressway, Suite 200.
  • Detailed information about all of the Benefits plans can be found in the 2009 Benefits Guide. Contact the Department of Human Resources, 8-3311, for more information or to schedule an appointment.

    About Kathleen Tibbetts

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