Oct. 8, 2009

Open change period for non-supervisory merit begins Oct. 23

by Paula Van Brocklin

All non-supervisory merit employees will have an opportunity to change benefits selections during the annual open change period, Oct. 23 through Nov. 23. The open change period for ISU Plan participants is Nov. 2-20, and will be covered in a future edition of Inside Iowa State.

What's changing

The Iowa Department of Administrative Services and the State Executive Council, which determine benefits for Iowa State's non-supervisory merit employees, has frozen out-of-pocket premiums through June 2010 for both the Iowa Select and Program 3 Plus family health insurance plans. The freeze does not apply to single coverage plans or to dental insurance. Coverage also will remain the same.

"We encourage people not to wait until the last minute to take care of their changes."

Jane Walter, human resources specialist

Beginning June 30, 2010, premiums for the Iowa Select family plan will be $249.02 per month, and $255.02 for the Program 3 Plus family plan. There is no cost to employees for the Iowa Select or Program 3 Plus single plans. Blue Advantage and Blue Access single and family plans will continue to be available at no cost to employees.

Dental coverage

This year's open change period also offers a rare opportunity -- a chance to select dental coverage. Walter said this option hasn't been available for a few years, so it's a good time to enroll either yourself or your eligible family members. Employees pay nothing for single dental coverage. The cost of family dental coverage is $36.08 per month. For two employees sharing a double-spouse contract, the cost is $9.16 each per month.

How to sign up

You must complete a paper form to make changes to your benefits (an electronic version is in the works, but won't be ready this year). Pick up forms at the Human Resource Service Center, 3810 Beardshear. Completed forms must be turned into the service center by 5 p.m. Nov. 23.

Forms also will be available at a vendor fair planned for Nov. 3 (9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Pioneer Room, Memorial Union). Insurance company representatives and human resource services employees will be present to answer questions.

For more personal benefits counseling, consider setting up an appointment with a human resources specialist. However, Walter said, try not to wait until the last minute.

"Appointments are needed, especially between Nov. 2 and Nov. 20, because there's an overlap with the ISU Plan open change period," Walter said.

Expect to wait if you drop by HRS to speak to someone during this time. And you may have to leave a voice message if you call the service center, due to high call volume.

"We encourage people not to wait until the last minute to take care of their changes," Walter said.