Health care open enrollment offers new 2015 options

BOWLING GREEN, O.—BGSU employees who are eligible for benefits will see some important changes this year, says Sandy Heck, the new manager of benefits in the Office of Human Resources.

Open enrollment, Nov. 3-21, will require more engagement on the part of employees but will come with personal assistance in reviewing choices and completing applications. A new, online tool will also be available for comparing options when choosing a medical plan — including the completely revamped Plan B.

“We want to provide people with information early, before open enrollment even begins, so they have plenty of time to gather the documents they will need and to consider their options,” said Heck. She will be “on the road” throughout October sharing information with constituent groups on the Bowling Green and BGSU Firelands campuses.

This year’s process is a “positive enrollment,” Heck explained, which means that in order to keep their health care plans, employees must complete their enrollment online. In addition, the University is conducting a dependent audit to make sure its records are up to date and to confirm eligibility of all claimed dependents. Documentation will be required for dependents, such as children, spouses and same-sex domestic partners, and must be in English. Failure to submit these documents will result in the dependent being dropped from BGSU’s plan.

In terms of health care coverage and related issues, important new options will be introduced, and some cumbersome requirements will be eliminated (such as the necessity that children up to age 24 be full-time students in order to be covered under their parents’ dental plans and submit regular documentation).

Caremark will replace ExpressScripts as BGSU’s prescription provider.

Perhaps the biggest change is in Plan B, which historically has had few enrollees, Heck said. The new Plan B will be a consumer-driven plan with a pre-tax health savings account that will belong to the employee and be portable. “The University will contribute to the savings account annually,” Heck said. “The new, online comparison tool will allow employees to play with the numbers as much as they like to see which plan, A or B, will work best for them. It will be available by the start of open enrollment.”

Personal assistance will come from Aflac, which is providing a team of benefits counselors who will meet individually with benefits-eligible employees to answer questions, review their health care options and complete their online enrollments. Aflac is offering a range of voluntary benefits including hospital indemnity, accident and critical illness. “But these personal sessions are not sales sessions in any way,” Heck asserted. “They are for enrollment assistance.”

Employees can easily sign up for a session through Canvas on MyBGSU, Heck said, and can use their Canvas calendar to view or change their appointment. Sessions will be available on both campuses and for all shifts. Scheduling can begin later in October.

There’s a lot going on, Heck said, but her team’s goal is to make things as clear and easy as possible for employees. Other new benefits staff members are Susan Goetz and Tena Spratt. The group has a new email account that will help speed communications. Contact them at benefits@bgsu.edu.