Changes ahead as SMU rolls out 2017 Open Enrollment, Oct. 14-31, 2016

Benefits U logoMedical premiums will increase by two percent as SMU prepares for its 2017 Open Enrollment period. University faculty and staff members will be able to make benefits changes for 2017 from Friday, Oct. 14 to Monday, Oct. 31, 2016.

SMU Human Resources will hold several information sessions at Expressway Tower and SMU-in-Plano. Faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend and become more familiar with the University’s health plans. You may review your options online before your session.

> RSVP online for an “Understanding the SMU Health Plans” session

Notable among this year’s changes is the discontinuation of the University’s $1,000 deductible plan effective Jan. 1, 2017, originally announced in 2015. Benefits-eligible employees will have the opportunity to choose a new plan at the $2,000, $2,600 or $5,000 deductible levels.

All copays will remain the same for all plans in 2017, including Primary Care Physician (PCP) and specialist office visits as well as emergency room and Urgent Care Center (UCC) visits.

Get your flu shot for free during SMU’s Fall 2016 clinics

Prime Therapeutics, the University’s pharmacy benefits manager, is integrated with BlueCross BlueShield of Texas. Plan members have one customer service number and one online portal (BCBSTX) for all medical and pharmacy information. SMU’s DFW-area network of retail pharmacies include, but are not limited to, chains such as Costco, CVS, Kroger, Sam’s Club, Target, Tom Thumb, Walmart and Walgreens. In addition, many locally owned, independent pharmacies throughout the area, including compounding pharmacies, are included in the network.

The open enrollment period is the only opportunity for SMU employees to make changes to benefits elections for the coming year, unless you have a qualified life event such as marriage or the birth of a child.

For 2017 open enrollment, you must take action if:

  • You are currently enrolled in the $1,000 deductible medical plan. If you are, and don’t make a new election, you will be enrolled in the $2,000 deductible medical option.
  • You want to make other changes to your current coverage, including adding or dropping dependents (eligible dependents include legal spouses and children).

  • You want to participate in one or both of the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) or the Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2016. You must re-enroll in the FSAs or the HSA even if you participated in 2016.

In order to comply with the reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a Social Security number (SSN) is required for every individual enrolled in the SMU Medical Plan. If you have a spouse or dependent child enrolled in the plan, it is important that you enter a SSN for each.

> Find more information in SMU’s 2017 Benefits Guide

SMU uses a secure online open-enrollment application available through To make your benefits elections for 2017:

  • Enter your 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 2017.

You will receive a confirmation statement summarizing your 2017 benefits elections in early December 2016.

> Learn more from the SMU Human Resources homepage:

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

HR: Health plan dependent verification is due May 3, 2010

Benefits U. logo Just a reminder: All individuals claiming a dependent for insurance purposes are required to provide supporting documentation of the relationship to the covered dependent. The deadline for sending in verification is May 3, 2010.

SMU has hired an outside firm, HR Advance, to conduct its dependent eligibility audit. Faculty and staff members should consult the instructions they received from HR Advance for their individual requirements.

Please send copies, not originals, of the requested documents (examples include marriage license, birth certificate and tax return documentation). HR Advance will destroy the copies after the documentation is verified.

Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Code enables SMU to deduct premiums for your health coverage on a pre-tax basis. Withholding your deductions pre-tax reduces your taxable income at the end of the year.

Section 125 Plans require that certain rules and restrictions regarding eligible dependents be observed. Covering dependents that are not eligible is a violation of the Section 125 IRS Code as well as University policy; it also drives up costs across all SMU health plans.

Additional details on plan eligibility rules including required documentation are provided in the 2010 Benefits Guide, which became available during open enrollment last October.

SMU’s Department of Human Resources is working with outside consultants to determine the impact of the new federal health care reform legislation on the University’s insurance plans, says Sheri Starkey, director of total compensation. HR will provide more information as it becomes available.