HR's Open Enrollment period begins April 14

When it comes to managing health care benefits, the Division of Human Resources (HR) recommends using the Open Enrollment period as a time for faculty and staff to reflect on their personal health needs.

The 2014 Open Enrollment window—the only time of year when Penn employees can make changes to their health care options, barring a qualifying life event change—runs from Monday, April 14, through Friday, April 25.

“Think of this like checking your batteries in your smoke detector when the clocks change,” says Sue Sproat, executive director of HR benefits. “Open Enrollment is a time to review all of your benefits for you and your family and make sure that everything is up-to-date.”

This year’s Open Enrollment period will offer a few changes from previous years.

Open Enrollment

Employees can now roll over as much as $500 of the money in their Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA).

“This allows people to have some more flexibility with how they use their pre-tax flex spending dollars, and when they use it,” Sproat says. “When it was ‘use or lose,’ if you had money left over, many colleagues actually forfeited some funds, or made last minute purchases of more contacts or eye glasses at the end of the period. Now they don’t have to do those things.”

Another change coming July 1 is that approximately 40 prescription drugs will no longer be covered on Penn’s approved formulary, but clinical alternatives have been selected. Employees affected by this change will be contacted directly by Express Scripts, Penn’s prescription drug carrier, with more details about the change and alternative drugs available to them.

Employees who participate in an Independence Blue Cross plan—whether PennCare/Personal Choice PPO or the Keystone Health Plan East HMO—will receive new ID cards and new member numbers in mid-June. Sproat says this change will affect approximately 10,000 employees.

PennCare/Personal Choice PPO and Keystone HMO plan participants will also see a redesigned, user-friendly Explanation of Benefits statement and updated online tools for navigating their health care needs.

Dental plan participants will also notice a slight change to the Penn Faculty Practice dental plan—it will now be known simply as the Penn Dental Plan.

HR will host Open Enrollment fairs on Wednesday, April 23 at Houston Hall and Thursday, April 24 at the New Bolton Center. Both events run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Representatives from Penn’s health care providers and administrators will be onsite to share information and answer questions about medical plans, prescription drug coverage, dental plans, vision coverage, flexible spending accounts, and the Penn Benefits Center. The fair on Wednesday, April 23 will also offer free health screenings and wellness information.

HR will also host a series of 45-minute Open Enrollment presentations at various locations through Thursday, April 17. Each will be followed by a Q&A session with HR staff.

For a complete list of dates, times, and locations, visit the HR website.

Originally published on April 10, 2014