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Open Enrollment Deadline is Now Nov. 30

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November 7, 2005

The deadline to make changes to benefit plan participation and coverages for 2006 has been extended until Nov. 30.

Open Enrollment, the one time each year when the University announces benefit plan options for the coming year, ends at 5 p.m. that day. The deadline had previously been set for Nov. 18.

Faculty and staff are advised to review current benefits plan selections on-line through HRIS self service at https://nuhr.northwestern.edu/ before making selections.

Information about the benefits plans is available as follows:

• Visit the Open Enrollment section on the Benefits Division web site athttp://www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/news/openenrollment.html

• Visit http://www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/news/openenroll/openenrollment-faq.html  for open enrollment Frequently Asked Questions

Changes for 2006 include new physician office, emergency room and prescription drug co-payments; new $1,500 out-of-pocket maximum for prescription drug co-payments for PPO, Aetna HMO and HMO Illinois members; new monthly premium rates; new salary brackets for the payment of PPO premiums; new PPO disease management programs; a new PPO annual wellness benefit of $500, an increase from $250; and new HMO inpatient and outpatient surgery deductibles.

This year the salary brackets for Plan A (Blue Cross PPO) monthly premium contributions vary with University earnings. This recommendation by the General Faculty Committee (GFC) and the Staff Advisory Council (NUSAC) resulted in 20 earnings brackets in 2006 compared to the five brackets of earlier years. The result will be a more equitable cost of health care in relation to each individual’s earnings.

Other benefit plan changes include an increase in the Blue Cross Dental Plan maximum benefit amount; a decrease in Short Term Disability and Life Insurance premiums; an increase in the FSA Health Care Account maximum annual pledge amount; offering of a Backup Childcare Match Program for the FSA Dependent Care Account; and an increase in Long Term Disability premiums. Premium changes reflect projected claim costs for 2006. Standard Life Insurance Company will replace Aetna, Inc. as the sponsor of the life insurance plans.

For a detailed description of changes, visit the benefits web sit athttp://www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits/news/openenrollment.html

The University will continue to absorb the majority of the 2006 health care cost increases, representing more than $3 million, and it will continue to contribute 74 percent of the total plan costs, representing about $32 million. The health care plan cost increases are balanced between premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

Topics: University