Oct. 27, 2011

ISU Plan open change period is Nov. 1-18

by Paula Van Brocklin

Dates to remember

  • Nov. 1: Open change period begins at 8 a.m.; participation statements available on AccessPlus
  • Nov. 9: Webcast, 10:15-11:15 a.m.
  • Nov. 18: 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

Faculty, professional and scientific staff, and supervisory merit employees may alter their ISU Plan benefits Nov. 1-18, during the annual open change period.

What's new for 2012?

The cost of health insurance for both PPO and HMO coverage will increase slightly beginning Feb. 1, 2012. But the rates for some employees may not change, depending on their plan and tier of coverage. New rates will be available in the open change materials, available on AccessPlus beginning Nov. 1.

The biggest change for 2012 pertains to flexible spending accounts. Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, ASIFlex will administer 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 will administer claims daily.

Employees should experience a smooth transition from Wellmark to ASIFlex, according to human resource services (HRS) staff. The processes for enrolling, changing or ending flexible spending accounts will continue through AccessPlus. However, be sure to change your flexible spending contribution for 2012 during the open change period or else your 2011 election will carry over to 2012.

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

Non-supervisory merit employees may make changes to their benefits through 5 p.m. Nov. 17.

How to make changes to your benefits

ISU Plan participants can log on to AccessPlus beginning at 8 a.m. Nov. 1 to change their benefits elections. Some changes may require paper forms, which are available from HRS (4-4800). If you plan to make no changes, you do not need to update your benefits; your current choices will carry over to 2012.

More information

HRS is hosting an interactive webcast for ISU Plan members Nov. 9 from 10:15 to 11:15 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."