Click for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Forecast
HOME ISSUE

CALENDAR

BETWEEN ISSUES ARCHIVE DEADLINES CONTACT US
 
 
Print This Issue
Front Page
Contents
Crimes
All About Teaching
Subscribe to E-Alamanc!
Staffbox
Guidelines
 

HUMAN RESOURCES

In a continuation of discussions regarding health care and Penn, this week we are focusing on details about the upcoming Open Enrollment period. The article below gives information about important Open Enrollment dates, changes being made, the new contribution rates for next year, and suggestions from Human Resources on what you can do to control your own health care costs. Additional details about Open Enrollment will appear in next week's Almanac.

--Division of Human Resources

Health Care and Penn

Open Enrollment 2003-2004

Each year during Open Enrollment, you are given the opportunity to make changes to your benefit elections. During this once-a-year opportunity, you should take the time to carefully review your current benefits and take a fresh look at the other benefits that Penn offers. You should also take note of the changes that are being made for next year, as this may affect the elections you make.

Mark Your Calendar

The Open Enrollment period will begin Monday, April 14 and run through Friday, April 25. Please remember to look for your personalized Open Enrollment kit at your home address the week of April 7.

Open Enrollment Fairs will be held as follows:

  • Friday, April 11, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Houston Hall, Reading Room and Bodek Lounge: This will be a joint Open Enrollment and Health Fair: take advantage of free health screenings in addition to meeting the providers.
  • Tuesday, April 22, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Houston Hall, Hall of Flags
  • Tuesday, April 15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., New Bolton Center, Alumni Hall
  • What's New for 2003-2004

    As we discussed in last week's article on Health Care and Penn, the rising cost of health care is a nationwide issue. Employers across the country are struggling to find ways to deal with these rising costs, and Penn is no exception. Penn's task is to minimize the impact on our budget, while continuing to provide an attractive, competitive benefits program for employees. In response to these pressures, there will be several changes to the benefits program for the upcoming 2003--2004 plan year, as listed below:

    Change What This Means For You
    Increase in employee premiums
    • Your current medical coverage may cost you more.
    • However, note that the University is maintaining the same subsidy level that we have provided for full-time employees for the past several years, which means that Penn is still paying an average of 80% of the total premium cost for the medical plans, while employees only pay 20%.
    • Also keep in mind that you pay premiums on a pre-tax basis, so the actual dollar increases will have less of an impact on your final take-home salary than you may expect.
    Increase in out-of-pocket costs for medical plans
    • You may pay higher deductibles, copays, and out-of-pocket maximums for your medical plan.
    • However, keep in mind that we're still providing a richer benefit than most comparable employers (see the March 25 Almanac for details).
    Change in number of employee contribution tiers
    • If you are covering dependents under your medical, dental, and vision plans, note the change in contribution tiers from two (Single and Family) to three (Employee, Employee + 1, Employee + 2 or more).
    • This will provide greater equity in employee contributions. Smaller two-person families who tend to use less benefits than larger families will pay a more appropriate cost.
    No more medical opt-out credits
    • If you waive medical coverage you will no longer receive opt-out credits.
    • This is in keeping with most comparable employers, and will help control Penn's health care costs.
    New life insurance vendor: Aetna
    • Aetna will handle all life insurance claims, and track beneficiary information.
    • You should complete and return a new life insurance beneficiary form to Aetna.
    • This change will help reduce costs as Aetna offers lower premium rates to participants while providing several additional benefits.
    Increase in life insurance coverage
    • Full-time employees may be able to purchase additional life insurance coverage.
    • The maximum multiple of salary available will increase to 6 times, and the maximum dollar amount for coverage will increase to $1,000,000.
    • Life insurance increases are still limited to an additional one times salary during Open Enrollment, and subject to Evidence of Insurability rules.
    Increase in maximum annual Health Care Pre-Tax Expense Account contribution to $4,000
    • Full-time employees can set aside up to an additional $1,000 in tax dollars when using the Health Care Pre-Tax Expense Account.
    • This increase can help employees defray the cost of higher medical plan deductibles, copays, and out-of-pocket maximums.

     

    New Premium Rates

    These tables contain the new health care rates for full-time University faculty and staff. All faculty and staff will see the rates that apply to you when you receive your Open Enrollment packets next week.


    WEEKLY PAID
    (per pay period)

    Employee
    Employee + 1
    Employee + 2 or more
    MEDICAL
    Keystone HMO
    $ 5.31
    $ 12.74
    $ 14.86
    Aetna HMO
    6.23
    15.00
    17.45
    UPHS POS
    9.92
    23.82
    27.78
    PENNCare/Personal Choice
    22.15
    53.17
    62.03
    BC/BS Plan 100
    43.62
    104.68
    122.12
    DENTAL
    Penn Faculty Practice Plan
    $ 3.12
    $ 13.85
    $ 15.23
    MetLife Dental
    2.42
    11.54
    12.00
    VISION
    OptiChoice
    $ 0.76
    $ 1.52
    $ 2.28
     

    MONTHLY PAID
    (per pay period)

    Employee
    Employee + 1
    Employee + 2 or more
    MEDICAL
    Keystone HMO
    $ 23.00
    $ 55.20
    $ 64.40
    Aetna HMO
    27.00
    65.00
    75.60
    UPHS POS
    43.00
    103.20
    120.40
    PENNCare/Personal Choice
    96.00
    230.40
    268.80
    BC/BS Plan 100
    189.00
    453.60
    529.20
    DENTAL
    Penn Faculty Practice Plan
    $ 13.50
    $ 60.00
    $ 66.00
    MetLife Dental
    10.50
    50.00
    52.00
    VISION
    OptiChoice
    $ 3.29
    $ 6.57
    $ 9.86

    What Can You Do To Minimize Your Costs?

    With premiums and out-of-pocket costs for the medical plans increasing this year, here are some tips for you to help minimize your costs:

    1. Utilize the Health Care Pre-Tax Expense Account to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs. This account allows you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs for you and your dependents. The University is increasing the maximum annual contribution amount from $3,000 to $4,000, allowing you the opportunity to save even more tax dollars.

    2. Consider enrolling in one of the HMO or POS plans. These are Penn's most cost-effective plans, providing a very high level of coverage at the lowest premiums. And even if you're unsure about using a managed care plan, remember that one level of the POS plan also provides an out-of-network benefit, which allows you to go outside of the managed care networks and see any provider you wish without needing referrals.

    3. Use a provider who is part of the University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS). This provides the highest level of coverage under most of Penn's plans, at 100% coverage after applicable copays. The actual costs of services from UPHS providers are also provided at a discounted rate for Penn employees, and Penn has recently negotiated even better discounts with the Health System as part of our efforts to reduce and control health care costs.

    4. Look for ways to save on prescription drug costs. With prescription drug costs rising as rapidly as they have been, you may be able to reduce your costs based on how you use Penn's prescription drug plan through Caremark. For example, try to use generic drugs whenever possible--not only are the overall costs for generic drugs lower than for brand name drugs, but Penn's prescription drug plan also provides a higher level of coverage for generics than for brands. Also, you may be able to save on costs for long-term maintenance prescriptions by using Caremark's mail order program.

    5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining your own health can help to minimize your health care costs. Penn provides a health and wellness program which encourages and assists employees in living healthy lifestyles. The healthier you are, the less likely you are to need costly health care services--which means you spend less on copays, deductibles, and the like.

    Questions?

    If you have questions about the health benefits offered by Penn, visit the Human Resources web site at www.hr.upenn.edu/benefits or call the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236).


      Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 27, April 1, 2003

    HOME ISSUE CALENDAR BETWEEN ISSUES ARCHIVE DEADLINES CONTACT US