UC Berkeley News


November is Open Enrollment month
One health plan is discontinued, another is introduced, and further highlights of the benefits season

| 31 October 2007

Open Enrollment for UC's health-and-welfare benefits plans runs from Nov. 1 through Nov. 27.

This is an important Open Enrollment for UC faculty and staff because the university has restructured medical-plan options for 2008 to help preserve meaningful choices and quality benefits while limiting cost increases, ensuring that faculty and staff will continue to have access to quality health benefits at competitive prices in 2008.

It's your health: Make an informed decision

• There will be an Open Enrollment Medical Plan Information Fair on Friday, Nov. 9, from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Lipman Room on the 8th floor of Barrows Hall. The fair will feature new information from UC’s medical-plan vendors, including the new health plan from CIGNA and the new behavioral-health benefits from United Behavioral Health.

• The Benefits Staff will be holding Conference Calls for Department Benefits counselors, faculty, and staff to answer questions regarding this year’s Open Enrollment changes.

Conference Calls will be held in November on Tuesdays and Thursdays (Nov. 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, and 27) and on Monday, Nov. 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. If there are no participants by 1:15, Benefits Staff end the call.

To participate, call 1 (866) 606-4704, and then enter access code 3278756.

In fact, there are decreases in employee premiums in some medical plans, and only slight premium increases in other plans - noteworthy in this era of spiraling healthcare cost increases, when many employers are cutting benefits. For the coming year, UC will consolidate the HMO offerings, add a new medical plan, introduce a new wellness program, and provide enhanced, standardized behavioral-health benefits for most plans.

As in the past, UC employee premiums are based on salary bands to help protect employees in the lower pay ranges, and those with children, from the impact of premium increases.

Highlights of this year's Open Enrollment include:

. A new health plan, CIGNA Choice Fund, combines a Health Reimbursement Account with a Preferred Provider Organization (HRA/PPO) plan.

. PacifiCare is being discontinued; if you are a PacifiCare member and you do nothing, you will default to Health Net.

. Behavioral-health benefits will now be provided by United Behavioral Health for almost all of the health plans (Kaiser members may use Kaiser or UBH this year).

. There is a dedicated wellness program, StayWell Health Management, which offers an incentive for taking a health assessment. This year, there is no cost to employees for this plan, but it is not available to Kaiser members or those faculty and staff not enrolled in a medical plan.

. The legal plan is open for enrollment.

. Employees may enroll or re-enroll in the Health Care Reimbursement Account (HCRA) and Dependent Care Account (DepCare). You must annually re-enroll in HCRA and DepCare to continue your participation into the following calendar year.  

All relevant information, as well as the link to the log-in page for making changes, is on UC's At Your Service website (atyourservice.ucop.edu). Once there, select the "Open Enrollment 2008" icon.

While online, you can review your current plan enrollments; read about plan benefits, services, and changes for 2008; see what the medical-plan rates for 2008 are; use some helpful planning tools; and take open-enrollment action. All changes will take effect Jan.1, 2008. When taking action, be sure to confirm your choices and save your confirmation statement until you see all of the changes you've requested reflected on your Jan. 1, 2008, pay statement.

If you were hired before Aug. 31, 2007, you should have received the general Open Enrollment information booklet at your home address. The booklet is also available in the "Open Enrollment 2008" section of the At Your Service website.

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