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Office details benefits changes for 2002

Benefits open enrollment, which runs through Thursday, Nov. 15, is the only time during the year when eligible employees may change health or dental plan coverage, apply for basic or supplemental life insurance, or set up flexible spending account contributions for 2002 to pay out-of-pocket medical, dental or dependent care expenses with before-tax dollars.

The following benefits changes have been made for 2002.


Effective Jan. 1, MIT will introduce a three-tier prescription drug copayment program. Under this program, members pay the lowest copayment for generic drugs, a higher copayment for preferred brand-name drugs and the highest copayment for non-preferred brand-name drugs. Contact your health plan or the Medical Department web site for information about which copayment tier applies to your medication. For more information about provisions under your specific health plan, visit the appropriate web site given below. The plans differ in the following respects:

Flexible MIT Health Plan (out-of-network)--the plan pays 80 percent of the cost for covered drugs. Under either of the MIT Health Plans, for a 90-day refill of maintenance medications, members pay $20 for generic, $40 for preferred brand-name and $70 for non-preferred brand-name.

Network Blue New England and Blue Choice--mail order offers a 90-supply of maintenance medications at the same rates.

Blue Cross Option 2 (out-of-state only)--the plan pays 80 percent with no deductible and 100 percent after the out-of-pocket limit of $200 per person or $400 per family. For maintenance medications purchased through the mail service program, members pay $10 for generic drugs and $20 for brand name drugs for a minimum of a 21-day supply and a maximum of a 90-day supply. The deductible does not apply to drugs purchased through the mail.

For more information on either Blue Cross plan, see the plan's pharmacy program web site.

Tufts Health Plan--For a 90-day supply of maintenance medications, members pay $20 for generic, $40 for preferred brand name and $70 for non-preferred brand name.


Basic life insurance coverage was improved for eligible part-time employees who work at least 50 percent of the normal full-time work schedule in their department, laboratory or center. As of July 1, 2001, the plan provides $50,000 of MIT-paid coverage until the July 1 following age 65, when coverage begins to reduce in accordance with a schedule in the plan.

The amount of accidental death and dismemberment coverage also will be improved for eligible part-time employees, providing $100,000 of protection.


Employees should note that their 2001 FSA contributions will not automatically continue into 2002; they must re-establish FSA account(s) each year.

Starting in 2002, Flexible Spending Account (FSA) claims will be processed by Benefit Concepts, Inc. Information packages explaining the new procedures will be mailed to those who enroll in the medical-dental or dependent care spending accounts for 2002. Benefit Concepts offers new features such as direct deposit of reimbursements and web access to account balance and claim status information. FSA claims for 2001, which must be filed by March 31, 2002, will continue to be processed by the Lincoln Laboratory Fiscal Office.


The dollar amount you can contribute to the MIT 401(k) Plan will increase from $10,500 to $11,000 for the calendar year 2002. Participants 50 or older will be able to contribute an additional $1,000 or a total of $12,000. You can change the percent of salary you contribute to the 40 (k) Plan at any time by calling 1-877-MIT-SAVE (648-7283) or by going to However, you should wait until mid-December if you want the change to apply only to 2002 earnings. Information on these changes will be sent to eligible participants later 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 2002.

Personal Enrollment Guides were sent to all benefits-eligible members of the MIT community last week. The guide summarizes current benefit coverage and provides instructions for making benefit elections. As with last year, employees have the choice of enrolling by phone or by computer equipped with Netscape 4.6 to 4.74.

Employees do not need to do anything to maintain current levels of coverage for 2002 unless they want to enroll in a Flexible Spending Account.

Employees may change their MIT 401(k) Supplemental Plan elections at any time during the year by calling 1-877-MIT-SAVE or visiting the plan's web site. MIT 401(k) Supplemental Plan 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 or by e-mailing On the main campus, the Benefits Office is in Room E19-215 and x3-6151. At Lincoln Laboratory, the Benefits Office is in Room A-128 and (781) 981-7055.

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

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 7, 2001.

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