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July 17, 2014
Welcome to the July 17, 2014 edition of HR & Benefit News. After reading these articles, please let us know if you have any questions. Always feel free to send us your comments and questions for future publications.
New Website Address for UT System Office of Employee Benefits
The new, updated OEB website is up and running with a new URL: www.utsystem.edu/offices/employee-benefits . For the next several months if you go to the former website address ( www.utsystem.edu/benefits ), you will automatically be redirected to the new website. Please update your shortcuts and bookmarks to directly access the new website .
Please contact OEB staff if you have any questions or comments about the new website.
New Physical Location and Mailing Address for UT System Office of Employee Benefits
During the week of July 21 – 25, OEB is scheduled to relocate to the Wells Fargo Building, 15th and Guadalupe Streets, 5th Floor. Our phone numbers will remain the same. However, our mailing address will change to the UT System Administration’s main address at 210 W. 6th Street, Suite B.140E, Austin, TX 78701. During this week OEB staff will stay connected as much as we can, and hopefully there will only be a minimal delay in responding to institution and member issues.
REMINDER Programmatic Changes Memo Available on SharePoint
Don’t forget to keep up with the latest programmatic changes that can be accessed on the secure SharePoint website. Please contact Marc Parrish if you have any questions .
REMINDER Annual Enrollment for COBRA Participants and Surviving Dependents
At the start of each Annual Enrollment (AE) period, OEB sends letters to all COBRA and Surviving Dependent subscribers currently enrolled in medical, dental, and/or vision coverage. These indicate to contact OEB directly for the appropriate election form(s) if they want to make any coverage changes. Each year we receive a small number of questions and requests for enrollment forms which are all handled here at OEB.
The following information is being provided just in case any COBRA or Surviving Dependent participants happen to contact your offices for assistance. If you do receive any calls or emails on this subject, please feel free to answer any general questions that you feel comfortable addressing and to refer participants on to OEB for additional assistance as needed. Craig Eivens and Laura Garlock will be the lead contacts during AE for this project this year.
Important COBRA AE Information
- Participants may add or drop medical, dental, and/or vision coverage for themselves and/or any eligible dependents. They have the same AE options as active employees for these three coverage types.
- There are separate election change forms for each type of coverage because plan vendors handle COBRA enrollment separately for each different type of coverage.
- Completed election forms must be postmarked by July 31 and sent to the appropriate vendor at the specific address listed on each form. Completed forms should NOT be sent to your offices or to OEB.
- Disability Rates* - The letter includes regular COBRA rates and mentions that COBRA Disability rates can be requested from OEB if needed. If your office needs these rates for some reason, please see the document information below.
Important Surviving Dependent AE Information
- Participants may only lower their coverage level or discontinue coverage (i.e. drop dependent(s) and/or the subscriber from particular coverage).
- Participants may not add coverage or add additional dependents to coverage.
- There is one election change form for Surviving Dependents that includes medical, dental, and vision.
- Completed election forms must be postmarked by July 31 and sent to the participant’s Institution Benefits Office where requested updates to coverage for these participants are processed in accordance with the limitations listed above.
COBRA & Surviving Dependent AE Documents Several different documents are created each year by OEB that are specific to these AE processes, including:
- Four election forms , three for COBRA (medical, dental, and vision) and one for Surviving Dependents available to participants from OEB upon request via either email or hard copy;
- Three rate charts , two for COBRA (regular and disability rates) and one for Surviving Dependents available to you for informational purposes at the Systemwide HR Central SharePoint site ; and,
- Two letters , one for COBRA and one for Surviving Dependents available to you for informational purposes in Documents Library folder also on the Systemwide HR Central SharePoint site.
* Often, people believe the disability rate for COBRA is a discounted premium and want to sign up for it. The disability rate is actually a significantly higher premium (150% of the standard premium vs. 102% for regular COBRA) that is charged during a COBRA extension period. This extension can be up to 11 months and is available for participants who become disabled during the early part of their COBRA coverage period or just prior to it and need to continue their COBRA coverage until their Medicare eligibility takes effect.
2014-2015 COBRA Notices and Forms
COBRA forms for employees and dependents with coverage terminating in August or later will be available on SharePoint in early August.
YOU ASK, WE ANSWER UT SELECT Medical Out-of-Pocket Maximum for Plan Year 2014-2015
Question: Is it true? Are there new maximums for annual out-of-pocket expenses? Answer: As explained in various OEB communications, the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that for Plan Year 2014-2015 beginning September 1, 2014, a UT participant’s maximum out-of-pocket expenses for essential medical services cannot exceed $6,350 during the plan year. The medical annual out-of-pocket maximum of $2,500 per participant will continue; however, this new maximum of $6,350 will include not only deductible and coinsurance but also copayments such as primary and specialist office, hospital inpatient stay, outpatient surgery, and emergency room payments. Since bariatric surgery is not an essential health benefit, the bariatric surgery deductible of $5,000 does apply to the new $6,350 maximum. Based on Plan Year 2012-2013 experience, we anticipate a few hundred having the potential to meet this new maximum. For future reference, beginning with Plan Year 2015-2016 on September 1, 2015, out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs and related devices such as diabetic supplies will be included in the ACA-required maximum. Therefore, it is anticipated that many more UT participants will reach this maximum. Since these costs above the maximum must be paid by the plan (which is entirely self-funded by the UT System), this may have an adverse impact on the premium rates for FY2015-2016.
NEW Annual Enrollment Dates and Deadlines
Below are key dates to remember for Annual Enrollment and preparation for the new plan year beginning September 1, 2014 : July 2
- The Annual Enrollment newsletters were emailed to all UT employees and retirees with an email address on file. Newsletters for subscribers without no email address are printed and mailed for delivery by no later than July 15.
- 2014 Annual Enrollment period begins.
- The Annual Enrollment section on the OEB website is launched.
- The Annual Enrollment Coverage Option letters are emailed to employees and retirees with an email address on file. Letters for subscribers with no email address are printed and mailed for delivery by no later than July 15.
- Annual Enrollment letters to COBRA participants and Surviving Spouses are mailed for delivery by no later than July 15.
- 2014 Annual Enrollment period officially ends
- Evidence of Insurability (EOI) applications started during the Annual Enrollment period must be completed and received by Dearborn National (voluntary group term life, short term disability and long term disability coverage) and CNA (long term care coverage). Note: EOI is not required to enroll in the UT SELECT Medical and Prescription Drug plan.
- Evidence of Eligibility (EOE) documentation started during the Annual Enrollment period must be completed and received by the applicable UT institution.
- Last day of the current plan year.
- Last day of the UT Southwestern pilot project.
- New UT SELECT Medical ID Cards will be received by UT subscribers.
- Plan Year 2014-2015 begins.
All UT employees and retirees who access the My UT Benefits online system during Annual Enrollment must declare their tobacco usage prior to having access to their personal coverage information in order to make their election changes. If an individual does access his/her online system and makes no coverage changes for the 2014-2015 plan year, their tobacco usage declaration in effect will remain unchanged for the new plan year.
Don’t forget that appropriate documentation is required for all newly enrolled dependents. The required documentation is described in Policy 230 (Dependent Enrollment and Eligibility) of the OEB Administrative Manual, which can be accessed on the OEB website or in SharePoint. Details of this process are available in this policy as well as in the July newsletter. An employee or retiree who wishes to add a dependent during this Annual Enrollment period is encouraged to use the online My UT Benefits system to add the dependent and upload the documentation .