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Open Enrollment Runs Through Nov. 13

One time each year for employees to make changes to benefits plans

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October 26, 2009 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Open Enrollment for calendar year 2010 begins at 8 a.m. Monday, Oct. 26 and ends at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13.

Staff and faculty members were asked to update information about current dependents, and add their Social Security numbers and update their home addresses in the Self-Service Web site by Sept. 30 because all mailed materials, including the Open Enrollment Guide, will be sent directly to their homes this fall.

Domestic partners also must be declared before Open Enrollment begins 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. 

Upcoming changes for 2010 include:

  • Extended insurance coverage for unmarried dependent children through age 25 (until first of month following 26th birthday), regardless of residency and employment status
  • Mental health and substance abuse treatment will be covered like any other medical condition
  • Preventive screenings will be covered according to age and sex guidelines under the Premier and Select PPO plans and the $500 annual limit will be eliminated

Some other changes include:

  • Life Insurance changes during Open Enrollment will require Evidence of Insurability. The Health FSA maximum annual election amount will increase from $10,000 to $12,000.
  • The annual contact lens allowance will increase from $150 to $200 for UnitedHealthcare Vision.

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 University's employer match will again be to first-time enrollees in the Health Savings Account. The match is made in order to provide funds in a participant's account to pay for early year health expenses before the participant's contributions start accumulating in the account.

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 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
  • Those who reapply for the Dependent Care Match must include a copy of their most recent federal tax form 1040

Faculty and staff members are encouraged to attend the Health and Benefits Fair on Oct. 28 in Evanston or Oct. 29 in Chicago. Not only will there be opportunities to win prizes and special offers, valuable tools and other pertinent information useful in helping to improve overall health and well-being also will be provided. Seasonal flu shots will be available for $25.

In addition to the annual fair, questions will be answered during one of many Open Labs scheduled in Evanston and Chicago.

Open Labs on the Evanston campus will be held in Room G593 of the Rebecca Crown Center, 633 Clark St., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 30; 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 3; 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 9; 12:30 to 3 p.m. Nov. 12; and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 13.

Chicago campus Open Labs will be held in Room 1-730 of the Tarry Research and Education Building, 300 E. Superior St., from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 28, Nov. 2, Nov. 9, Nov. 12 and Nov. 13.

Individuals who do not wish to make changes to their Health, Dental, Vision, Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance or the Disability plans do not need to take any action.

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

eBenefits, an HRIS Self-Service online feature, is available to make benefit plan selections during Open Enrollment.

Decisions made during Open Enrollment are binding for the entire year. An individual can not make any changes until next year's Open Enrollment period unless he or she has an IRS qualifying change in family or employment status (such as marriage, birth, adoption) and the Benefits Division receives notification of such a change within 31 days following the date of the qualifying event.

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. These documents include enrollment applications for life insurance and long-term care coverage, if you wish to enroll in these plans for the first time or decide to increase your coverage amount. The Benefits Division also must receive a copy of 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 in late October

 as well as in future e-mails directed to faculty and staff.