Annual benefits enrollment opens Oct. 16

By Erin Long | Emory Report | Oct. 15, 2015

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The 2016 Benefits Enrollment Newsletter can be accessed online and was also mailed to Emory employees. It contains details about medical, dental and vision plan costs, as well as ways to save money on health care.

Emory's annual benefits enrollment opens Friday, Oct. 16, and will continue through Nov. 2, giving faculty and staff an opportunity to review their current benefits and make changes for the upcoming year. Elections made during the enrollment period will become effective Jan. 1, 2016.

While there are no major plan changes for 2016, Emory employees will notice an increase in the overall cost of the medical plans. Employee contribution rates will increase by about 10 percent and there will also be increases in deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums and prescription drugs for both the HSA plan and the POS plan.

"This past year, Emory has seen an increase in the utilization of high cost services as well as a significant jump in prescription drug spending, which is the primary reason for the overall cost increase of the medical plan," explains Felicia Smith, director of benefits. "Emory still continues to pay the majority of the plan costs for each employee and we strive to keep costs as low as possible, however, when overall expenses rise, so does the cost of the plan for all of us."

Staying healthy is one way to keep costs down and this year's annual enrollment newsletter offers several tips for saving money, such as using generic drugs whenever possible.

Another way faculty and staff can lower their medical costs is by participating in incentives. The incentives were first launched in 2013 as a way to reduce medical costs by participating in healthy activities such as completing an online health assessment or a telephonic healthy coaching program.

For 2016, up to $500 in incentives are available for both employees and spouses/same-sex domestic partners, and several new incentive programs are offered.

Beginning on Oct. 16, faculty and staff can enroll online through self-service with their network ID and password. To help faculty and staff through the annual enrollment process, several resources are available on the annual enrollment website, including a plan selection cost estimator tool that allows you to compare the medical plan options and estimate for upcoming costs.

Employees also have the option to attend benefits enrollment meetings offered throughout October or watch the presentation online.

"We really want to encourage everyone to take the time to actively participate in annual enrollment," Smith says. "It is a good time to look at the benefits you currently have, think about the expenses you may have for the upcoming year, and make any adjustments you need to make."