open enrollment

New SMU health program pays incentives for wellness, prevention

Benefits U logoIn an effort to improve the health of SMU’s faculty and staff, while helping to control rising medical costs, the University is offering a voluntary health and wellness program with a $300 cash incentive for those who successfully complete the program.

Healthy Outcomes, a voluntary pilot program, is designed to reward healthy behavior and to acknowledge the crucial role of prevention in reducing the cost of health care, says Jeff Strese, executive director of SMU Human Resources. “We want to encourage employees to be aware of their health status and to take action, if needed.”

The program is a response to significant portions of the Affordable Care Act that go into effect Jan. 1, 2014. The healthcare reform law encourages better outcomes and lower costs by permitting employers to offer incentives to employees who take steps to become more aware of their health issues and reduce their known risk factors.

A key component of the program is a baseline check-up designed to identify specific health risks and help participants take steps to maintain good health or improve risk factors.

Catapult Health logoSMU has contracted with Catapult Health to administer the check-ups on campus. The 45-minute Baseline Check-up will measure blood pressure, height, weight, and waist circumference. The Check-up includes a finger-prick blood screening which will identify any risk factors associated with HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose. You will also have a private consultation with a nurse practitioner to help you establish your health goals.

The Check-up meets the screening requirements for those participating in Wellpower and for those who wish to participate in the 2014 Deductible Discount Program.

The Healthy Outcomes Program is open to all SMU faculty and staff members enrolled in a SMU medical plan on January 1, 2014.

There are three steps to completing the pilot successfully and earning a $300 Healthy Outcomes Achievement Award:

  1. Complete a Baseline Check-up before Friday, Nov. 25, 2013 using Catapult Health or your primary care physician. During the Baseline Check-up, you will complete a Commitment Form to officially join the program.
  2. After your Baseline Check-up, your Achievement Period begins. You will have until Thursday, May 15, 2014 to meet your health goals based on your screening results:
    1. If you have no risk factors, your goal will be to maintain your good health by keeping your lab values in the normal range.
    2. If you have one or more risk factors, your goal will be to improve your lab values for each risk factor identified.
    3. Catapult will provide information about SMU’s wellness resources that may help you achieve your goals, or you may select a program of your choice and/or work directly with your primary care physician.
    4. If you are pregnant, you may download and complete a maternity waiver form found on the appointment scheduler website.
    5. If you have a medical condition that would impede your ability to meet the program goals, Catapult and your physician can work with you to develop an alternative program. Email Catapult to request a medical condition form to be completed by your physician.
  3. Complete the Results Check-up before Thursday, May 15, 2014 using Catapult Health or your primary care physician. The Results Check-up will include another finger-prick blood screening that will determine if you met your health goals during the Achievement Period.

Check-up results and information are protected by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). SMU will not have access to your individually identifiable health information.

SMU will receive a list of names along with the Check-up date in order to properly credit participants with completing a screening for Wellpower and the 2014 Deductible Discount. If you volunteer to participate in the Healthy Outcomes program, your name will be released to SMU only if you qualify for the $300 cash incentive. SMU will not know if you volunteered for the program, but did not complete it successfully.

The on-campus Baseline Check-ups will begin Tuesday, Oct. 29 and continue through Friday, Nov. 15 on the main campus. The SMU-in-Plano campus will host the final day of Check-ups on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013. Make an appointment online at or by calling (214) 269-1513 and following the automated instructions. The online and phone schedulers are both available 24/7.

The Check-up is open to all benefit-eligible staff and faculty. Spouses and family members are not eligible to participate at this time.

Additional information about how to use results from your own physician, screening/check-up locations, directions to schedule your appointment and more may be found on the SMU HR website.

Watch your mailbox for more information from SMU Human Resources.

> SMU to use new pharmacy network in 2014
SMU’s Fall 2013 flu shot clinics begin Sept. 25

SMU to use new pharmacy network in 2014

Benefits U logoImportant changes to SMU’s Health and Wellness Plan pharmacy network are coming in 2014 – “changes that should help the University group health plan and its faculty and staff members save more than $1 million on their prescriptions over the next three years,” says Jeff Strese, executive director of human resources.

Participating pharmacies have agreed to offer greater prescription discounts to remain in the SMU network, which serves all of the University’s medical plans. They include Costco, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Target, Tom Thumb and Wal-Mart, as well as several independently owned stores.

CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will no longer be part of Express Scripts’ SMU network. If you have recently filled a prescription at a CVS or Walgreens, you will receive a letter from plan administrator Express Scripts providing the locations of three network pharmacies closest to the pharmacy last visited.

Express Scripts logoExpress Scripts has created a web portal,, that will allow faculty and staff members to compare prescription prices at more than 450 Dallas-Fort Worth area retailers. The site will be open during the University’s 2014 open-enrollment period, Oct. 12-31, 2013.

If you currently use CVS or Walgreens but want to take advantage of the new prescription discounts, you must transfer your prescriptions to a network pharmacy by Jan. 1, 2014. You can complete a transfer in one of three ways:

  • Take your prescription container to the new network pharmacy of your choice; they will contact your current pharmacy to transfer the prescription.
  • Call your new pharmacy and ask them to contact your current pharmacy for your prescription information.
  • Ask your doctor to call your new pharmacy with your prescription information.
  • Ask SMU’s Compass Health Pro, Jeremy Garrett, to do the work for you. He can research Express Scripts’ contracted rates at pharmacies near you after Jan. 1, when Express Scripts loads its online database of 2014 prescription pricing. Call after Jan. 1 with your Rx information at (800) 513-1667, ext. 726.

If you currently use a CVS or Walgreens pharmacy to fill prescriptions, you can continue to do so. However, you will pay the full retail cost without plan discounts, and the costs will not apply toward your medical plan deductible or out-of-pocket maximum.

After extensive analysis with Express Scripts, SMU’s Department of Human Resources learned that 99 percent of faculty and staff members currently filling prescriptions at a CVS or Walgreens pharmacy have access to an alternative network pharmacy within less than three miles of their current pharmacy location, says Sheri Starkey, director of total compensation and senior associate director of human resources.

“By asking some faculty and staff members to move to our new retail pharmacy network, all faculty and staff will benefit from the savings our plan will experience over the next three years,” she adds. “This change is one step we’re taking to ensure the continuation of a comprehensive and affordable benefit plan.”

The University’s mail-order prescription plan will remain unchanged.

More information on the new SMU pharmacy plan will be included in the 2014 open-enrollment packages, scheduled for delivery in early October 2013.

> Learn more about 2014 open enrollment at

SMU’s Fall 2013 flu shot clinics begin Sept. 25

New series on SMU healthcare and benefits for 2013-14

SMU Benefits U logoKey provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act will become law Jan. 1, 2014. As SMU’s open enrollment period (Oct. 12-31, 2013) approaches, faculty and staff members will receive important information about new benefits programs and changes to existing ones.

Beginning the week of Sept. 16, 2013, SMU Forum will post a series of articles on topics ranging from prescription services to wellness initiatives. These articles will appear throughout the 2013-14 academic year to help keep the University community informed about health and wellness issues.

Bookmark our Benefits tag to keep track of this series as each story appears.

> Visit SMU Human Resources online

By | 2013-09-06T14:17:40+00:00 September 6, 2013|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

Work-life balance is focus of SMU’s 2012 Human Resources Fair

Stock image of 'Good Health, This Way' freeway signThe importance of work-life balance, and how to achieve it, is the focus of SMU’s 2012 Human Resources Fair, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23. New additions for this year’s fair include Open Enrollment information sessions to help faculty and staff members make the best plan decisions for themselves and their families.

Participants can also take their annual flu shots, get chair massages from SMU Department of Recreational Sports massage therapists, receive a free health screening from Baylor Health Care System and much more during the fair, which will take place in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

The fair will also host Emeriti Retiree Medical Plan information sessions for SMU retirees and active employees who are considering retirement. RSVP online to attend a session.

Learn more at the Human Resources Fair homepage
Visit SMU Human Resources online

SMU’s 2013 Open Enrollment period runs Oct. 14-31

SMU Benefits U logoSMU’s 2013 Open Enrollment period begins Sunday, Oct. 14 and ends Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. The Open Enrollment period is the only opportunity for SMU employees to make changes to benefits elections for the coming year, except for qualified life event changes.

For 2013, there are several Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) required changes that will affect you:

Women’s Preventive Health Services Covered at 100%
SMU will provide female plan participants with expanded access to recommended in-network preventive services, including contraceptives, without cost sharing.

Healthcare FSA Contribution Limit of $2,500
If you contribute to the Healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA), the maximum amount the IRS will allow you to contribute will be reduced from $5,000 to $2,500. This change in the law does not impact the Dependent Care FSA; you can still contribute up to $5,000 to this account.

Medicare Tax Increase – Highly Compensated Employees
Currently, the Medicare tax is 2.9%, with 1.45% withheld from the paycheck and the other 1.45% paid by SMU. Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, an extra 0.9% Medicare tax will be charged as follows:

  • For unmarried people, the extra 0.9% will be charged on wages above $200,000.
  • For married-filing-jointly couples, the extra 0.9% will be charged on combined wages above $250,000.
  • For those who are married filing separately, the extra 0.9% will be charged on wages above $125,000.

Medical premium increases for 2013 are due to the University’s medical claims experience and new requirements under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Premium increases will vary depending on which SMU Health & Wellness Plan you’re currently enrolled in and on what plan you choose next year. Premiums will remain the same for dental and vision coverage.

SMU will continue to offer the $1,000, $2,000, and $2,500 deductible options. In addition, the University is adding a fourth coverage option in 2013 – a $5,000 deductible option – in order to provide greater coverage choice. In some cases, the premium savings from switching to a higher deductible plan option can offset the higher deductible, or a large portion of it.

Find more information in the 2013 Benefits Guide, available at HR’s Benefits U page

For 2013 open enrollment, you must take action for the following conditions:

  • You want to make changes to your current coverage, including adding or dropping dependents.
  • You want to participate in one or both of the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) in 2013. All faculty and staff members must reconfirm their participation in an FSA even if they participated in an FSA in 2012.
  • You want to participate in the Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2013. All faculty and staff members must reconfirm their participation in the HSA even if they participated in the HSA in 2012.

SMU uses a secure online open-enrollment application available through Access.SMU. To use the application:

  • Enter your Access.SMU user ID and password as you normally would to review your pay statement.
  • Click Benefits in the Employee Self-Service navigation on the right, then choose Benefits Enrollment to access your personalized Open Enrollment record.
  • Be sure to read all instructions carefully before making elections for 2013.

More information on vendors and plan changes will be available at SMU’s 2012 Human Resources Fair, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. Vendor representatives will be on hand to answer questions about your options.

The Department of Human Resources has scheduled a series of sessions designed to help faculty and staff members make their medical-plan decisions for 2013. RSVP online for the session of your choice, or contact the Department of Human Resources, 214-768-3311.

Consult SMU’s 2013 Benefits Guide on the web

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