Oct. 13, 2011

Open change period for non-supervisory merit begins Oct. 17

by Paula Van Brocklin

Mark your calendar

  • Oct. 17: Open change period begins at 8 a.m; participation statements available on AccessPlus
  • Nov. 9: Webcast, 9-10 a.m.
  • Nov. 17: Open change period ends at 5 p.m.
  • Dec. 2: Confirmation statements available on AccessPlus
  • Dec. 9: Final day to report errors on confirmation statements
  • Jan. 11, 2012: Final statement of 2012 elections available on AccessPlus

Non-supervisory merit employees will have an opportunity to review and change their health care benefits during the annual open change period, Oct. 17-Nov. 17.

What's new for 2012?

Health and dental coverage for non-supervisory merit employees will remain the same for 2012. The cost of those benefits also will be similar to 2011, with a slight increase expected for family premiums. Final costs will be available in the open change guide and participation statements on AccessPlus beginning Oct. 17.

The only significant change for 2012 is related to flexible spending accounts. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, ASIFlex will become the administrator of Iowa State's flexible spending plans. Wellmark currently is the university's administrator and will continue to process 2011 claims through April 30, 2012 (the 2011 claim-filing deadline). ISU chose ASIFlex over Wellmark, in part, because it can administer claims daily and at a lower cost.

The switch to ASIFlex, based in Columbia, Mo., on Jan. 1, 2012, should be fairly simple for employees. The processes for enrolling, making changes or turning off flexible spending accounts will continue through AccessPlus. Just remember to change your flexible spending contribution for 2012 during the open change time, otherwise your 2011 election will carry over to 2012.

Beginning in January, employees who wish to have their claims direct deposited or automatically filed will need to complete new authorization forms for ASIFlex, which will be available on the human resource services (HRS) benefits website. The website also will contain directions for filing claims and two new links -- one for filing 2011 claims (using Wellmark) and one for 2012 (using ASIFlex).


Employees may continue to insure children up to age 26 on their medical, dental and Avesis vision plans for 2012. To qualify, children must be under age 26 on Jan. 1, 2012. Children may be covered even if they are married or have a job with health care benefits. If children already have benefits, the ISU coverage would supplement their primary health plans.

If children turn 26 in 2012, coverage must end Dec. 31, 2012. However, if children are unmarried and enroll as full-time students during the year, they can remain on their parents' ISU health or dental plans until they either get married or stop being full-time students. Remember, there may be tax implications for employees who insure students over age 26.

Act now for dental coverage

Non-supervisory merit employees have the option of enrolling themselves or adding spouses and dependent children (including those up to age 26) to their dental plans again this year. However, this opportunity does not happen every year and it likely will not be an option next year. So, act now if you need to add family members to your dental coverage.

The ISU Plan open change period for faculty, professional and scientific, and supervisory merit employees is Nov. 1-18. Look for more details about the ISU Plan open change period in the Oct. 27 Inside Iowa State.

How to make changes to your benefits

Non-supervisory merit employees may alter their medical, dental, flexible spending and Avesis coverage online through AccessPlus. However, enrolling in or increasing employer-sponsored life insurance will require a paper form. If you prefer to make all your changes on paper, contact HRS at 4-4800.

More information

HRS is hosting an interactive webcast for non-supervisory merit employees Nov. 9 from 9 to 10 a.m. To participate, log on to http://connect.extension.iastate.edu/benefits. At the login page, enter your name under the "Enter as a Guest" heading, then click "Enter Room."