Key benefits changes for Open Enrollment 2007

hr-fair-logo-200.jpgSMU’s open enrollment season is Oct. 17-Nov. 2. Learn more about some of the changes and new options available; changes to your 2008 benefit elections must be received in the Benefits Department by 5 p.m. Nov. 2, 2007.

Meanwhile, faculty and staff members have the opportunity to learn more about SMU coverage providers at the 2007 Human Resources Fair. “Where in the World is HR?” takes place 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Free flu shots also will be available for benefit-eligible faculty and staff; please bring your SMU ID. For information on this year’s vendors, services, games and prizes, visit the HR Fair Web site.

Faculty and staff members must complete an enrollment form if they:

  • want to make changes to current coverage
  • currently are enrolled in the $1,000 Deductible Indemnity Plan, as this plan will no longer be offered
  • want to add or drop dependents from coverage
  • want to participate in one or both of the Flexible Spending Accounts in 2008.

The biggest change for 2008 is the elimination of the $1,000-deductible Indemnity Medical Plan. The cost of its continued administration, along with the availability of other medical options with similar coverage, were deciding factors in the decision to eliminate it, according to the Office of Human Resources.

All persons currently enrolled in the Indemnity Medical Plan must choose another medical option during the open enrollment period. If no new plan is designated, faculty and staff members currently covered by this plan will be enrolled automatically in the SMU Health and Wellness Plan $1,000 Deductible option, which provides similar benefits at a lower cost.

SMU Health and Wellness Plan members also have the option to contribute more to their Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in the coming year. The Internal Revenue Service now allows contributions up to $2,900 for an individual and $5,800 for a family. HSAs are available to those who enroll in the $2,500 Deductible PPO option.

Other changes include higher premiums for some medical options. The average increase is 9.6 percent (compared to a national average of 11 percent). However, some medical options will have smaller or no premium increases, depending upon how well each performed in 2007.

Meanwhile, SMU is changing its dental plan to the Freedom of Choice Plan administered by Aetna, effective Jan. 1, 2008. The University will no longer use MetLife. Under Freedom of Choice, faculty and staff members may choose from two different dental plans. A dental preferred provider organization (PPO) offers the freedom to visit any dentist without a referral, exactly like the current plan. A dental maintenance organization (DMO) offers lower out-of-pocket costs and the highest level of benefits and requires users to select a primary care dentist who will handle all needs, including any necessary referrals.

If you are currently enrolled in the SMU dental plan, and do not cancel coverage, you will automatically be enrolled in the Freedom of Choice Passive PPO. Users may switch between plans throughout the year as their dental coverage needs change.

The 2008 premium rates for dental and vision coverage will not change. Premium rates for all plans are provided in the 2008 Benefits Guide. All open enrollment materials should have arrived no later than Oct. 17.

Those who wish to enroll or re-enroll in Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) must complete an FSA Election Form and the Enrollment Form. For those who do not want to make changes to their options, no action is required. For more information, contact the Benefits Office at 8-3311. Visit the Benefits Web site at