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

Oct. 24, 2008

ISU Plan open change period is Nov. 3-21

by Paula Van Brocklin

Faculty, professional and scientific staff, and supervisory merit staff will have an opportunity to review and adjust their ISU Plan benefits during an open change period Nov. 3-21.

Employees enrolled in the ISU Plan soon will receive a letter at home and an e-mail at work explaining changes to this year's benefits package and when participation statements will be available on AccessPlus. (The participation statement is a side-by-side cost comparison of your current benefits versus the same selection for next year.) In addition, a brief overview of this year's changes follows.

What's changed?

This year's plan nearly mirrors last year's with the exception of a new option for covering adult children who are not full-time students. But there are stipulations. Besides being non-students, the children must be between the ages of 19 and 25, Iowa residents and unmarried.

Adding coverage for an adult child you don't claim as a tax dependent could result in you having a taxable benefit on a portion of the university's contribution for health coverage (called imputed income). Human resource services staff recommend speaking with a tax professional prior to choosing this coverage to make sure it's the best fit for your situation.

"It may be less expensive to buy a short-term plan for the adult child than to pay taxes on imputed income," said Jane Walter, human resource services specialist.

Rate increase

Premium rates for 2009 are increasing by 11 percent across the board, but the university's credits also are going up by 9 percent, for an average increase of 2 percent to faculty and staff.

"The ISU medical plans are self-insured and the rates established reflect increased claim costs to the university resulting from utilization of the medical and pharmacy benefits by our employees," said Mike Otis, associate director of HRS.

Need more information?

Additional information about the ISU Plan benefits changes will be available on the HRS web site, beginning Nov. 3. Or, plan to attend the annual vendor fair Nov. 12 (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Pioneer Room, Memorial Union). And if you feel you need to speak with an HRS specialist in person, contact the new Human Resource Service Center at 4-4800, 3810 Beardshear, to schedule an appointment. But don't procrastinate.

"Don't delay in making appointments," Walter said. "If you wait until the last minute, we could be hard-pressed to see everybody by the deadline."

Employees who wish to make changes to their benefits should log onto AccessPlus during the open change period. If you need to make changes to voluntary coverages, such as Avesis vision or voluntary life, contact the benefits office for a paper form. All ISU Plan employees will receive an e-mail when confirmation statements are available in AccessPlus. Review these statements to verify your changes.


Faculty, professional and scientific staff, and supervisory merit staff can adjust their ISU Plan benefits during an open change period Nov. 3-21.

The open change period for non-supervisory merit employees is Oct. 31 through Dec. 1. Benefits changes for this group, which are determined by the state of Iowa, are still pending. Look for more information in an upcoming Inside Update weekly e-mail.