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Open enrollment starts November 2; benefits fairs scheduled

MIT will hold its annual benefits open enrollment period from Monday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 15, and the Benefits Office is sending Personal Enrollment Guides to all benefits eligible employees through interdepartmental mail on October 29-30.

The guide summarizes current benefit coverage and provides instructions for making benefits elections. Like last year, users will have the choice of enrolling by phone or by using a computer with access to the web using Netscape. Employees will not need to do anything if they want to maintain their current level of coverage for 1999 unless they want to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account for 1999.

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 1999 to pay out-of-pocket medical, dental or dependent care expenses with before-tax dollars. FSA contributions will not automatically continue into 1999; employees must re-establish their FSA account(s) each year.

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

Further information about open enrollment, including access to physician listings as well as other benefits news can be found on the Benefits Office web site. Anyone who needs printed copies of plan descriptions or physician directories may call the Benefits Office Information Request Service at x3-5000. Questions may be sent by e-mail to 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 (617) 781-7055.

Anyone who is disabled and needs special assistance or accommodation to complete enrollment/change elections may notify the Benefits Office staff so arrangements can be made.

This year, as in the past, employees are invited to attend the Benefits Fairs at which representatives from each of the health plans, the dental plan and the life insurance plan will be available to answer questions about their plans. In addition, members of the Benefits Office staff will be in attendance to answer any other benefit questions.

Fairs will be held at the following times and places:

  • ������������������Tuesday, Nov. 3 -- Haystack Observatory Conference Room A, 10-11am
  • ������������������Tuesday, Nov. 3 -- Bates Linear Accelerator, 2-3pm
  • ������������������Wednesday, Nov. 4 -- Lincoln Laboratory East Atrium, 10am-4pm
  • ������������������Thursday, Nov. 5 -- Bush Room (10-105), 10am-3pm

MIT's health insurance carriers will conduct a variety of screenings at the campus benefits fair on November 5. Anyone enrolled in one of the health insurance plans may attend any of the screenings, though people wanting a flu immunization must make a reservation in advance by calling the Benefits Office at x3-6151.

The screenings are as follows: Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts -- sun damage; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care -- flu immunizations; MIT Health Plan -- blood pressure; Tufts Health Plan -- stress profile.


Elimination of Healthsource/CMCH Plan -- Effective January 1, 1999, the Healthsource/CMHC plan will no longer be available through MIT. Those who are currently enrolled in Healthsource/CMHC and who do not enroll in another health plan during open enrollment will not have health insurance as of January 1, 1999. The Benefits Office has worked with plan members since last summer to help them move to other plans.

The Healthsource/CMHC plan was added to the options available to employees at a time when the HMOs being offered did not adequately cover the physicians and hospitals in the northwest and western suburbs of Boston. Today, many of the Healthsource/ CMHC physicians also participate in Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Tufts Health Plan and Blue Choice. During open enrollment, representatives from these plans will be available to answer questions at the Benefit Fairs.

MIT Health Plans -- On January 1, 1999, the MIT Health Plan's eyewear discount will increase to 25 percent for complete pairs (frames and lenses) of prescription eyeglasses purchased at the MIT Optical Shop in the Stratton Student Center. Prescription sunglasses are also available. For more information, call MIT Optical at 258-LENS.

Also on January 1, 1999, MIT Health Plan members are eligible for a $20 discount on many health education and fitness workshops sponsored by MIT Medical's Health Education Service, including tai chi, yoga, fitness for women and fitness for men. For more information, call Health Education at x3-1316 for a copy of the workshops calendar.

Early retiree enrollment -- For the first time this year, 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 1999.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 28, 1998.

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