Open enrollment for benefits starts November 1


The Benefits Office will hold the annual benefits open enrollment period from Monday, November 1 through Sunday, November 14.

Personal Enrollment Guides are being sent to all benefits eligible employees through the interdepartmental mail on October 27-29. The guide summarizes current benefit coverage and provides instructions for making benefits elections. Like last year, employees will have the choice of enrolling by phone, or by computers with access to the web using Netscape.

Employees do not need to do anything if they want to maintain their current level of coverage for 2000 unless they want to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account for 2000.

Open enrollment is the only time during the year that employees may:

  • Change health plan coverage
  • Change dental plan coverage
  • Apply for Basic or Supplemental life insurance under the current plan, if they elected to "freeze" coverage under the prior plan
  • Set up Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions for 2000 to pay out-of-pocket medical, dental or dependent care expenses with before-tax dollars. FSA contributions will not automatically continue into 2000; FSA account(s) must be reestablished each year.

Employees may change their MIT Retirement Plan and Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) elections any time during the year. MIT Retirement Plan and TDA information is not included in the Personal Enrollment Guides or on the benefits self-service system.

Further information about open enrollment, including access to physician listings, is available on the Benefits Office web site at http://web.mit.edu/benefits/www/. To request printed copies of plan descriptions or physician directories, or to ask questions, send e-mail to benefits-www@mit.edu or call the Benefits Office Information Request Service at x3-5000.

The Benefits Office on campus is located in Rm E19-411; the telephone number is x3-0500. At Lincoln Laboratory, the Benefits Office is located in Rm A-128 and the telephone number is (781) 981-7055.

Employees who are disabled and need special assistance or accommodation to complete enrollment/change elections should notify the Benefits Office staff so arrangements can be made.

This year, as in the past, there will be Benefits Fairs at which representatives from each of the health plans, the dental plan, the life insurance plan and the new long-term care insurance plan will be available to answer questions. Benefits Office staff will also be in attendance to answer any other benefit questions.

The fairs will be held on the following dates and times:

  • Thursday, October 28 -- Haystack Observatory conference room A, 10-11am
  • Thursday, October 28 -- Bates Linear Accelerator, 2-3pm
  • Tuesday, November 2 -- Student Center Mezzanine Lounge, 10am-3pm
  • Thursday, November 4 -- Lincoln Laboratory East Atrium, 10am-4pm

MIT's health insurance carriers will conduct a variety of screenings at the campus benefits fair on November 2. The screenings are as follows: Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts -- sun damage; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care -- body fat analysis; MIT Health Plan -- blood pressure; Tufts Health Plan -- stress profile.

CHANGES FOR 2000

In an effort to manage the rising costs of prescription drugs while still providing a valuable benefit to members, several of the health plans are announcing changes to their prescription drug benefit.

MIT Health Plans -- On January 1, the prescription co-payment will increase to $10 from $6 per prescription, refill or prepackaged item (up to a 30-day supply) if filled at the MIT Medical Pharmacy. The co-payment for all oral and injectable travel vaccines will increase to $15 from $10 per dose.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care -- Beginning on January 1, Harvard Pilgrim will introduce a three-tier pharmacy benefit. At participating pharmacies, members will pay $5 for generic drugs, $10 for brand formulary and $25 for brand nonformulary up to a 30-day supply. By mail order, the cost is $10 for generic, $20 for brand formulary and $75 for brand nonformulary up to a 90-day supply.

Tufts Health Plan -- Tufts will also implement a three-tier prescription drug co-payment structure effective January 1. Members will pay $5 for generic, $10 for preferred brand name and $25 for a non-preferred brand-name prescription or refill for a 30-day supply at a participating pharmacy. When ordering maintenance medications through the Managed Mail Service, members will pay $10 for generic, $20 for preferred brand-name and $50 for non-preferred brand-name drugs.

NEW LONG-TERM CARE PLAN

Effective December 1, 1999, MIT will offer a long-term care insurance plan to employees and retirees through John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. Information about the plan has been mailed to employees' homes. There will be information meetings at which representatives from John Hancock and the Benefits Office will be available to answer questions about the plan. Those wishing to attend one of these meetings are asked to RSVP (for campus meetings only) to (888) 453-2030. The schedule of meetings is as follows:

  • Monday, Nov. 1 -- Lincoln Laboratory auditorium, 10am and 3pm
  • Friday, Nov. 5 -- Student Center Mezzanine Lounge, 11am and 1pm
  • Monday, Nov. 8 -- Student Center 20 Chimneys, 2pm and 4pm
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10 -- Lincoln Laboratory auditorium, 10am and 3pm
  • Monday, Nov. 15 -- Student Center Mezzanine Lounge, 9am and 11am
  • Tuesday, Nov. 16 -- Student Center 20 Chimneys, 10am and 2pm
EARLY RETIREE ENROLLMENT

Personal enrollment guides are being sent to early retirees' homes during the last week of October. Early retirees (under age 65) will make their open enrollment elections by phone using the MIT Benefits Self-Service System. The system will allow retirees to listen to a review of their benefits and to record benefits changes. Early retirees will not need to do anything if they want to maintain their current level of coverage for 2000.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 20, 1999.


Topics: Campus services

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