J Term program adds SMU-in-Taos for 2014

After the unprecedented success of the 2013 J Term at SMU-in-Plano, the program is expanding to SMU-in-Taos for 2014. Set for Jan. 6-15, J Term offers more than 50 courses at a reduced tuition rate.

Students can complete one three-credit-hour course in eight concentrated days at SMU-in-Plano or SMU-in-Taos. The initial deadline for J Term applications is Friday, Nov. 22.

The J Term (short for January Term) allows students to complete one three-credit-hour course at a discounted tuition rate before the start of the spring semester. For J Term 2014, regular undergraduate students will pay a reduced tuition rate of $1,154 per credit hour ($3,462 per course). Payment is due by Thursday, Dec. 19. Parking is free on the SMU-in-Plano campus, and no decal is required.

Watch a new video about J Term from SMU News’ Myles Taylor

J Term Director Kate Livingston says the program allows students to use the time between the fall and spring terms to focus on a course of interest or stay on track for graduation. Students also can fulfill General Education or University Curriculum requirements.

This year’s offerings include courses from the Cox School of Business, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Lyle School of Engineering, Meadows School of the Arts and Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

J Term courses are not initially available for registration through Access.SMU. To enroll, students should meet with an adviser to select appropriate courses and then submit the online J Term application form before the deadline. After the Thanksgiving holiday, students will be notified of their final J Term course selection and given permission to officially enroll in Access.SMU.

Students participating in J Term at SMU-in-Plano will be responsible for their own housing; discounted hotel rooms are available at the Marriott TownPlace Suites, about a mile from the SMU-in-Plano campus. Shuttle service is also available. Information about housing at SMU-in-Taos during J Term is available here.

For more information, e-mail jterm@smu.edu or call 214-768-3657.

> Learn more from the J Term homepage at smu.edu/jterm

Health care options in the spotlight at 2013 HR Fair

Stock image of 'Good Health, This Way' freeway signVendors from SMU’s medical plans will be on hand to discuss your health care options at the University’s 2013 Human Resources Fair Oct. 15.

You can learn more about the University’s health, savings and retirement plans during the fair, scheduled for 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms.

Flu shots will be available at the Memorial Health Center station, and SMU Recreational Sports therapists will be on hand to provide chair massages. In addition, Baylor Health Care System will offer bone-density screenings; no appointment is necessary.

Visitors can also check out Centennial Hall, the interactive exhibit in the Hughes-Trigg lower level featuring high points in SMU history and spotlighting faculty, staff, student and alumni excellence.

Visit SMU Human Resources online

SMU 2014 Open Enrollment takes place Oct. 12-31, 2013

Benefits U logoSMU’s 2014 Open Enrollment period began Saturday, Oct. 12 and ends Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. 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 2014 open enrollment, you must take action if:

  • 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) or the Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2014. You must re-enroll in the FSAs or the HSA even if you participated in 2013.

If you do not make any changes during open enrollment, your 2013 elections will continue for the upcoming calendar year, except for contributions to the FSAs and the HSA.

In 2014, significant provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) require changes that may affect you:

  • Beginning Jan. 1, 2014, all U.S. citizens will be required by law to have health insurance.
  • If you do not have health insurance in 2014, you will pay a penalty to the federal government. The penalty is the greater of $95 (up to three per family, or $385) or 1 percent of your income.

Your health insurance coverage options for 2014 include:

  • An employer-sponsored health plan like SMU’s or a spouse’s employer health plan.
  • A health plan available through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

All of the SMU Health and Wellness Plan medical options meet or exceed the government’s “minimum essential value” criteria. As a result, SMU’s benefits-eligible faculty and staff members and their eligible dependents will not be eligible for a premium subsidy in the Health Insurance Marketplace.

> Learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace at healthcare.gov

SMU will continue to offer the $1,000, $2,000, $2,500 and $5,000 deductible options. Medical premiums for all University plans except the $5,000 deductible plan will increase 5 percent – half the national healthcare inflation average of 10 percent.

Specialist office visit and emergency room copays will increase in 2014. The Primary Care Physician (PCP) copay of $25 and the Urgent Care Center copay of $35 will remain the same.

Changes in copay will vary depending on the medical plan you choose for 2014:

  • For the $1,000 or $2,000 deductible plans, the copay for specialist office visits will increase from $40 to $75. The emergency room copay will increase from $100 to $300.
  • For the $2,500 deductible plan, copays do not apply until the deductible is met. The copay for specialist office visits will increase from $40 to $75. The emergency room copay will increase from $100 to $300.
  • The $5,000 deductible plan has no copays. All covered services apply toward the deductible.

> Find more information in SMU’s 2014 Benefits Guide

Express Scripts will continue to administer SMU’s pharmacy plan in 2014; however, CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will no longer be in the retail pharmacy network available to SMU faculty and staff members.

Participating pharmacies have agreed to offer greater prescription discounts to remain in the retail pharmacy network, including Costco, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Target, Tom Thumb and Wal-Mart, as well as several independently owned stores.

The Express Scripts web portal, Express-Scripts.com/SMU, enables faculty and staff members to get retail and mail-order pricing information for prescription medications.

> Read more about SMU’s new pharmacy plan for 2014

SMU has provided on-campus health screenings for a number of years. Beginning in October 2013, those screenings will be replaced by a more comprehensive preventive health check-up provided by Catapult Health. The preventive health check-up will continue to be free for all faculty and staff members.

The Catapult Health check-up takes about 45 minutes and includes these elements:

  • Private 20-minute check-up with a health technician
    • Lab-accurate finger-prick blood test that measures cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose
    • Biometric values measurements including blood pressure and waist circumference
  • Private 10-minute consultation with a nurse practitioner
    • Review Personal Health Report and develop a Personal Action Plan
    • Review listing of programs SMU makes available to help you improve identified health risk factors

In addition, the University will offer the opportunity to participate in Healthy Outcomes, a voluntary pilot program created to reward healthy behavior by encouraging us to become more aware of our health status and take action to improve it, if needed.

> Read more about SMU’s Healthy Outcomes voluntary pilot program

SMU uses a secure online open-enrollment application available through Access.SMU. To make your benefits elections for 2014:

  • 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 2014.

More information on vendors and plan changes will be available at SMU’s 2013 Human Resources Fair, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18 in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballrooms. Vendor representatives will be on hand to answer questions about your options.

In addition, SMU Human Resources has scheduled a series of information sessions Thursday, Oct. 17 to Monday, Oct. 28 designed to help faculty and staff members better understand the medical plans and other resources available to them. RSVP online for the “How To Be a Better Healthcare Consumer” session of your choice.

> Consult SMU’s 2014 Benefits Guide on the web

> New SMU health program pays incentives for wellness, prevention
SMU to use new pharmacy network in 2014
SMU’s Fall 2013 flu shot clinics begin Sept. 25

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 www.timeconfirm.com/smu 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, Express-Scripts.com/SMU, 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.edu/hr

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

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

Stock photo of man receiving shotSMU’s Memorial Health Center has scheduled several Fall 2013 flu shot clinics for September and October, beginning Wednesday, Sept. 25 in Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

Clinics will take place at various places around the main campus, as well as at the East Campus and SMU-in-Plano. All clinics are open to faculty, staff and students, as well as to SMU retirees and retiree spouses.

Update your vaccination during the following days and times at these locations:

  • Wednesday, Sept. 25 – 2-6 p.m., Dedman Center Lobby
  • Thursday, Sept. 26 – 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3-6 p.m., Dedman Center Lobby
  • Monday, Sept. 30 – 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m., Underwood Law Library Pit
  • Wednesday, Oct. 2 – 2-6 p.m., Memorial Health Center
  • Tuesday, Oct. 15 (HR Fair) – 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Hughes-Trigg Student Center
  • Wednesday, Oct. 23 – 1:30-4 p.m., Expressway Tower, East Campus
  • Thursday, Oct. 24 – 4-6 p.m., SMU-in-Plano

The University offers free flu shots for all SMU students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Retirees and retiree spouses may get their shots at any SMU flu clinic.

To keep your clinic visit as short as possible, take these steps:

> Keep up with the latest flu information at smu.edu/flu
> Dallas County influenza resources and updates available at dallascounty.org

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

Health coaching available at SMU beginning Sept. 18, 2013

Paige Shouse, Baylor Health Coach
Baylor Health Coach Paige Shouse returns as SMU’s on-campus wellness coach during the 2013-14 academic year.

Baylor Health Coach Paige Shouse will return to SMU to provide on-campus wellness coaching during the 2013-14 academic year. She will available for consultation on most Wednesdays beginning Sept. 18, 2013.

A 5-year veteran of corporate wellness programs, Shouse served as SMU’s on-campus health coach in 2012-13. She helps Wellpower participants set and achieve wellness goals through one-on-one counseling in person, by phone and via e-mail. She also hosts seminars and webinars on wellness topics throughout the year.

> Learn more about Wellpower at livehealthysmu.org

Shouse holds a bachelor’s degree in food and nutrition and certification as a Health/Fitness Specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine. In addition, she holds certification as a Wellness Program Coordinator through the National Wellness Institute.

To set up a consultation with Shouse, e-mail wellpower@smu.edu.

> Read more from the SMU Human Resources blog

Fall 2012 flu shots still available during Health Center clinic hours

Stock photo of a man getting a flu shotFlu shot clinics are done for the Fall 2012 term, but SMU faculty, staff and students can still get their annual injections at the University’s Memorial Health Center, while supplies last, through Friday, Dec. 14, 2012.

Health Center hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. No appointment is necessary.

The University offers free flu shots for all SMU students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Other faculty and staff members, as well as spouses, may purchase shots for $25.

To shorten your wait at the flu clinic, take these steps:

Keep up with the latest flu information at smu.edu/flu
Visit the SMU Health Center online

Double discounts during SMU Bookstore’s 2012 Appreciation Days

Holiday ornamentThe SMU Bookstore is offering University faculty and staff members an extra 10% off (a 20% total discount) on regular-price items during 2012 Faculty and Staff Appreciation Days. Present your SMU ID before beginning your transaction to receive the additional discount on purchases made now through Dec. 1. Some exclusions apply, including textbooks, electronics and Under Armour clothing. The extra 10% is also not applicable to other discounts and promotions. For more information, call the SMU Bookstore at 214-768-2435.