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Benefits Sets Sept. 30 Deadline to Update Personal Information

New law requires health plan insurers to report information for coordination of benefits

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September 23, 2009 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern staff and faculty members have until Sept. 30 to provide the Benefits division with important information required well in advance of the kick-off of Open Enrollment for calendar year 2010.

Open Enrollment for 2010 gets underway at 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26, and ends at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13.

A new Mandatory Insurer Reporting Law requires group health plan insurers to report information that the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary requires for purposes of coordination of benefits. Two key elements that must be reported are Social Security Numbers (SSNs) or Health Insurance Claim Numbers (HICNs) and Employee Identification Numbers (EINs). 

As a result, all benefits-eligible staff and faculty must update information about current dependents and add their Social Security numbers, as well as update their home addresses in the Self-Service Web site by Sept. 30. All materials, including the annual Open Enrollment Guide, will be mailed directly to homes this fall.

Domestic partners also must be declared before the start of Open Enrollment on Oct. 26 if they are being enrolled for the first time and have not yet completed the domestic partner declaration form. That form is available on the Benefits division Web site. 

Open Enrollment is the one time each year to enroll or re-enroll in the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Health Care and/or Dependent Care accounts and to continue participation in the Limited Use Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account (HSA) plans available to Value PPO members. It also is the period when benefits-eligible faculty and staff can make changes to specific benefit plan selections.

The Open Enrollment period allows faculty and staff to enroll online. However, there is no need to re-enroll in a health care plan or waive participation unless you are changing your health care plans or whom you wish to cover.

It is necessary to:

  • Re-enroll in your FSA and/or HSA account, otherwise it will terminate as of Jan. 1, 2010
  • Validate dependent information and eligibility
  • Update your voluntary retirement contributions based on new IRS maximums and salary changes
  • Include a copy of your most recent federal tax form 1040 if you are reapplying for the Dependent Care Match

If you do not wish to make changes to their Health, Dental, Vision, Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance or the Disability plans during the Open Enrollment period you do not need to take any action.

To access the Health Care Decision Toolkit through Open Enrollment go to https://www.nuhealthtoolkit.com.

To prepare for Open Enrollment faculty and staff can review current benefits plan selections online through the Human Resources Information System (HRIS) Self-Service Web site at https://nuhr.northwestern.edu. The 2010 changes and premiums for all benefits are currently listed on the Benefits Open Enrollment site at www.northwestern.edu/hr/benefits.

Benefit plan selections will not be completed until employees finish the online enrollment process and the Benefits Division has received all required documents by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13.

Such documents include:

  • Enrollment applications for life insurance and long term care coverage, if you are enrolling in these plans for the first time or increasing your coverage amount
  • Your most recently filed IRS 1040 form if you are interested in receiving the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Dependent Care Account University match

Additional information will appear in the Open Enrollment brochure that will arrive in the mail in late October, in the Oct. 1 issue of the Northwestern Observer and in future e-mails directed to faculty and staff.