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Open Enrollment Ends

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November 16, 2004

Nov. 19 is the last day to enroll in the 2005 benefit programs.

Open Enrollment is the one time each year when the University announces benefit plan changes and monthly premium contribution rates for the next calendar year. It is the time when benefits-eligible faculty and staff may make changes to plan selections.

It also is the period to enroll in the Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for Health Care and Dependent Care, whether for new or continued participation in the next calendar year.

To change benefit selections, or to re-enroll in the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Plan, forms must be received by the Benefits Division in Evanston or the Human Resources office in Chicago by 5 p.m. Nov. 19.

For the first time, through a new Human Resources Information System (HRIS) Self-Service feature -- one of a number of self-service initiatives -- employees can now access a summary of the benefit plans in which they are eligible to participate. The HRIS screen shows the benefit plans in which an employee is currently enrolled including health, dental, life insurance, disability, retirement savings plans, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions and claims, as well as information about the dependents and beneficiaries whom they have identified in these plans. Self-service FSA information will replace the distribution of FSA quarterly statements.

To access this new self-service feature go to https://nuhr.northwestern.edu and use your NET ID and Password to access the system.

After logging into the system, click on the icon labeled “Benefits.” Displayed will be links to the Benefits Summary containing health, dental, life, disability, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and retirement savings plan enrollment data. One’s personal FSA annual pledge amount, year-to-date contributions and reimbursement claims will be displayed under the icon labeled accordingly. The self-service feature will not display the Long Term Care Plan and whether an individual has selected or waived coverage. Nor will it display that an individual is participating in the FSA Dependent Care Matching Program. Both are only displayed when viewing paychecks online.

Changes may not be made online. To change personal benefit plan selections for 2005, including the choice of plan, covered dependent or designated beneficiaries, one should use the applicable form provided in the 2005 Open Enrollment Book that was sent to all benefits-eligible faculty and staff. The completed form(s) should be submitted to the Benefits Division no later than 5 p.m. Friday. Benefit plan selection changes will be effective Jan. 1.

Answers to general self-service and benefits summary questions are available on the Human Resources Web site at http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/hris/selfservice/index.html.

For answers to specific questions regarding personal benefit plan selections, call customer service at the applicable health, dental or investment company directly, or call the Benefits Division at 1-7513 or send an e-mail message to benefits@northwestern.edu.

Any problems experienced with the self-service page that occur after logging into HRIS should be directed to the HRIS Help Desk at 7-4800 or hrishelp@northwestern.edu.

Major benefit plan changes for 2005 include the offer of an optional new vision plan; the automatic enrollment of eligible but not participating employees in the Long-Term Disability Plan; a new claims administrator for the Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Plans; the availability of a new Blue Cross-Blue Shield PPO Dental Plan; an increase in mail order prescription drug co-payments and maximum out–of-pocket payment; new premium rates for the Health, Dental and Long-Term Disability Plans; the choice of TIAA-CREF’s nine mutual funds; an increase in the maximum monthly and annual amounts an individual may contribute to the FSA Health Care Account; and decreased premiums and a new plan sponsor for the Accidental Death and Dismemberment Plan.

Employees may obtain further information on these and other changes for 2005 through the Open Enrollment Web site at www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/news/05openrollment as well as the 2005 Benefits Open Enrollment booklet that was sent to all benefits-eligible employees.

Enrollment forms may also be downloaded from the Benefits Division’s Open Enrollment Web site, shown above.

Topics: People