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

Nov. 7, 2008

Non-supervisory merit open change period runs through Dec. 1

by Paula Van Brocklin

The benefits open change period for non-supervisory merit employees began Oct. 31 and ends Dec. 1.

This year, the biggest change to employees' benefits is the elimination of two United Healthcare (UHC) plans. However, due to low participation in these plans, very few ISU employees will be impacted.

The Iowa Department of Administrative Services and the State Executive Council, which decide benefits for Iowa State's non-supervisory merit employees, determined the UHC plans were no longer necessary.

"After a review of the 2009 rates and input from an independent consultant, the state determined the plans were no longer cost-effective or necessary," said Jane Walter, human resources specialist. "The rates would have been more costly for employees than in the past."

Employees still may choose coverage from one of four Wellmark plans -- Program 3 Plus, Iowa Select, Blue Access and Blue Advantage. Walter said Wellmark has expanded its network for Blue Access and Blue Advantage (the managed care plans) in Iowa, giving more access to employees across the state.

These plans remain the same as 2008, but employee premiums for the Program 3 Plus and Iowa Select family plans will increase to $230.38 and $224.96 a month, respectively. Single coverage has no premium cost to employees. Employees also have no premium cost for the Blue Access and Blue Advantage single and family plans.

Non-supervisory merit employees will be able to insure non-student adult children between the ages of 19 and 25 who are unmarried and Iowa residents. Once enrolled, however, adult children cannot be dropped from coverage until the next open change period, or unless there is a qualifying event (i.e, the child gets married, takes a job with benefits or other qualified event).

The open change period also gives employees the opportunity to enroll or make changes to basic and voluntary life insurance, Avesis vision and flexible spending accounts for out-of-pocket medical and daycare expenses.

Non-supervisory merit employees who wish to alter their benefits for 2009 must complete paper forms, available at the Human Resources Service Center, 3810 Beardshear, or by calling 4-4800. Forms also will be available at the Vendor Fair Nov. 12 (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Pioneer Room, Memorial Union). Changes go into effect Jan. 1, 2009.