Open Enrollment For 2007 Ends at 5 p.m. (C.S.T.) Nov. 30November 28, 2006 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Today (Nov. 30) is the last day for Northwestern faculty and staff members to actively enroll or waive health care or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) coverage. The deadline is 5 p.m.
Twenty-six staff and faculty members on the Evanston and Chicago campuses who submitted their Open Enrollment selections early were automatically entered into a drawing and became randomly selected winners. Twenty have each won a $500 cash prize, two are iPod winners and four won American Airlines tickets that can be used to travel within the United States or Hawaii.
More than 3,000 faculty and staff who submitted their benefit plan selections by using eBenefits -- Northwestern's Human Resources Information System self-service online enrollment system -- by the Nov. 10 incentive deadline were notified via e-mail that they are eligible for a 75 percent discount off membership in the new campus-wide Million Step Activity Challenge Program (a $59 value). The program includes a high-quality pedometer, walking logbook, campus maps, fitness information and an opportunity to win prizes for miles logged. Visit <http://www.fitrec.northwestern.edu/MSC.pdf> for more information.
Awards are sponsored by the Fitness and Recreation Division of Northwestern Athletics, the Benefits Division, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, CNA and Fidelity Investments.
Open Enrollment selections must be made using the online tools that are available to help faculty and staff estimate costs and compare features among the available health care plans. There also are online tools for planning health savings account (HSA) and flexible spending account (FSA) contributions. Personal choices can then be recorded on the Open Enrollment Worksheet that was included in the Open Enrollment Packet and can also be accessed from any computer by logging on to <www.benefits.northwestern.edu>. The completed Worksheet may be used as a guide when making benefit plan selections online using eBenefits.
Those who do not actively enroll or waive health care coverage will be assigned coverage, which may or may not meet their particular needs.
Additional documentation for some plans also are due by Nov. 30. If these forms are not submitted by today's deadline, coverage will be defaulted to whichever plans those individuals had in 2006.
Forms for Documentation of Waived Coverage under a health care plan (if you decide to waive participation in Northwestern's health care plans); Evidence of Good Dental Condition (if you are applying for Blue Cross dental coverage and are not currently a member of the First Commonwealth dental care plan); Dependent Care Match Cover Sheet (if you are interested in the University's Dependent Care match); Beneficiary designation forms for Northwestern's life insurance plans; Medical History Statement (if you are applying for life insurance coverage for the first time or would like to increase your coverage amount); Long Term and Short Term Disability Plan application (if you are applying for Disability Plan coverage for the first time); and Long Term Care Plan application (if you are applying for Long Term Care coverage) are all available at <www.benefits.northwestern.edu> by clicking on “Your Online Resources” and “Forms to Complete.”
Open Enrollment also is an opportunity to begin, increase or decrease retirement plan contributions.
Benefit plan selections made during Open Enrollment are binding for the year unless an individual has a qualifying change in employment or family status (such as the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, etc.). The online enrollment process must be completed within 31 days from the date of the status change.
For those who still need to enroll, the University has open eBenefits computer lab sessions at Rebecca Crown Center, room G593, in Evanston, and Wieboldt Hall, room 205, in Chicago during Open Enrollment that will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. Benefits staff members will be on hand to assist those making decisions.
For those who do not use a computer at work or do not have one at home, there are easy options for accessing the Health Care Decision Toolkit and eBenefits. Either visit a local library, an internet café or a family member or friend who has an internet-ready computer.
All of the necessary tools, plus electronic versions of all the benefits-related newsletters that faculty and staff have received during the past several months, are accessible at <www.benefits.northwestern.edu>.