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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Nov. 3, 2006

For Merit employees

Merit employee enrollment ends Nov. 13. See story.

Window for faculty, P&S and supervisory merit starts now

by Samantha Beres

The changes in medical coverage this year for faculty, professional and scientific (P&S) and supervisory merit employees include a seamless transition to a new HMO, restrictions on the indemnity plan and changes in premiums for all plans.

The open enrollment period runs from Nov. 3 through Dec. 4. The new benefits year begins Feb. 1. Benefits manager Mike Otis encourages employees who are making changes to enroll early and make use of available online resources.

In 2007, Iowa State will change its HMO network from Health Alliance to Wellmark BlueAdvantage.

"The design remains the same," Otis said. "You can retain your primary care provider (PCP). We want this to be seamless for each individual."

Basically, BlueAdvantage offers a larger network of providers, so a larger population, especially Extension employees, will have access to this medical plan. For those who keep the HMO plan, PCPs will be transferred automatically. There will be some changes in care that involve chiropractors and oral surgeons.

The indemnity plan is not open to new participants. Only the approximate 380 people already enrolled have the option to keep the plan.

What an employee pays out of his or her wage toward medical insurance will depend on the plan. For those using the new HMO, monthly employee contributions will decrease. For example, the family cost will go from $139 to $82; yourself and spouse costs will go from $138 to $96. Singles will see an increase in their credit.

For indemnity plans, employee costs will rise due to premium increases. Monthly costs for singles will go from $134 to $158, self and spouse from $489 to $557, families from $590 to $673.

New premiums for the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plan will cause a slight increase in monthly costs to the holder. Singles will raise from $7 to $8, self and spouse from $198 to $212 and families from $221 to $236.

ISU will continue to contract with Medco for its pharmaceutical coverage. There have been no changes in dental coverage, but faculty, supervisory merit and P&S staff may also make changes regarding dental coverage during open enrollment.

Changes can be made using AccessPlus. Those who would like to speak to an ISU benefits representative are encouraged to attend one of two open houses to be held in 3150 Beardshear. They will be on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Wednesday, Nov. 29, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For all employees

During open enrollment periods, faculty, merit, P&S and supervisory merit employees may enroll in, make changes or end their flex spending accounts. Without a request for change, the amount of deduction currently elected will continue into 2007.

Employees also may apply for supplemental and dependent life insurance and disability insurance. This must be done in person at 3770 Beardshear.

For additional information, call 4-7680 or e-mail The ISU Plan Open Change Guide is available online at