Ten things to do during annual benefits enrollment

By Erin Long | Emory Report | Oct. 26, 2020

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Learn more about Emory University’s 2021 employee benefits at the annual enrollment website.

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With so much going on right now, it could be easy to forget about annual enrollment, but taking the time to review your benefits is always a good idea. Emory University’s annual benefits enrollment opened on Monday, Oct. 26, offering you the once-a-year opportunity to make changes to your benefits selections.

Changes and any new plan rates will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021, and remain in effect through Dec. 31, 2021.

Key things to note about this year’s enrollment include: there’s a new medical plan option to consider with Kaiser Permanente; rates will not increase for the current medical plans (Aetna POS and Aetna HSA plans); and there is a new, easy-to-use online tool (ALEX®) that can help you better understand your benefits options.

Here are 10 things you can do during annual enrollment:

1. Learn more about the Kaiser Permanente plan. Get to know how this new plan works so you can decide if it will better meet your needs. This plan is very different from the Aetna HSA and POS plans — if you select the Kaiser Permanente plan, you will get your care from Kaiser’s providers and facilities (you will not be able to use Emory’s providers; see these FAQs for more information). The Kaiser Permanente plan provides a comprehensive network that includes primary care providers, specialty care providers, lab and pharmacy, all located at Kaiser Permanente’s 26 medical facilities throughout the Atlanta metro area. To learn more, attend a Benefits Enrollment Zoom session with Kaiser Permanente representatives available to answer your questions. There is also information about the Kaiser Permanente plan on the annual enrollment webpage, including printed guides and an introductory video.

2. Use the new ALEX® tool. This new, interactive tool can help you find your lowest-cost medical plan options and will provide you with personalized, confidential recommendations about your benefits.

3. Attend a benefits session. Hear directly from university benefits staff as they give an overview of benefits programs and review the changes for 2021. All sessions are held via Zoom. Dates and times are posted on the annual enrollment webpage.

4. Set aside money for your Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Paying for your medical or child care costs with pretax dollars saves you money because you pay less in taxes. You can contribute from $200 to $2,750 to a Health Care FSA and up to $5,000 to a Dependent Day Care FSA. Your FSA selections do not automatically roll over each year; the IRS requires that you decide how much to set aside annually.

5. Increase your life insurance. During annual enrollment, you can increase your supplemental life insurance by up to $20,000 and your spouse’s by $10,000 without providing evidence of insurability. It’s quick and easy and provides more financial protection for you and your family.

6. Consider adding Short-Term Disability (STD) coverage. While Emory automatically provides coverage for Long-Term Disability, you must be disabled for 180 days before you can receive funds. STD has very affordable rates and provides a benefit equal to 60 percent of your base salary, beginning after the waiting period you choose and lasting up to 180 days. You can select from waiting periods of 15, 21, 30 or 60 days. If you are not currently enrolled in STD, consider adding it (note: STD is available to staff and postdocs only).

7. Increase your retirement contribution. If you’re like most Americans, you’re not saving enough for your retirement. Although you can make changes to your retirement contributions at any time throughout the year, annual enrollment is a good time to increase your contribution. If you need to do a quick checkup to see if you’re on track for your retirement goals, Emory offers free retirement counseling (by phone or virtually) from all three retirement vendors.

8. Check your beneficiaries. While completing your enrollment in Self-Service, it only takes a few minutes to check and make sure you have the right people listed as your beneficiaries on your life insurance.

9. Complete healthy activities to receive your incentives for 2020. You have until Nov. 14 to complete most of your 2020 incentives. These can help you save on medical costs. Incentives not used this year will roll over.

10. Enroll. Log on to Self-Service/PeopleSoft and get started. Emory’s annual enrollment period will close at midnight on Friday, Nov. 6. Any changes you make will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

These are just a few things you can do during the annual enrollment period. There are also many other benefit programs to review.

For more information about your benefits options for 2021 and how to enroll, visit the annual enrollment webpage and read the 2021 Benefits Guide.