Open Enrollment begins Monday

All employees must take action; health plan rates dropping for first time in years
By Staff

The 2012-13 benefits Open Enrollment (OE) – a positive enrollment, meaning all employees and retirees under age 65 must take action even if they previously waived coverage – begins at 8 a.m. Monday.

The enrollment requirement does not apply to Medicare-eligible retirees, who may remain with their present choices without participating in open enrollment.

OE continues until 5 p.m. May 25.

This year is more than a positive OE -- the news is positive for employees and retirees, as well. For the first time in many years, employee and retiree health plan costs are decreasing for all plans and coverage levels except one.

Here’s why: First, since its inception July 2010, the University of Colorado Health and Welfare Trust (Trust) has outperformed other local and national health plans, meaning the Trust plans’ year-over-year rate increases are lower than local and national averages. This performance occurred while enhancing your benefits.

Second, the university committed this year to continuing its practice since FY 2008 of providing equal employer contribution for faculty, officers and exempt professionals and classified staff. This year, the employer contribution will be 100 percent of prevailing market, an 11 percent increase in employer contribution over last July. The level was set by the state of Colorado for classified employees, although CU funds its own contributions to the rates.

This is especially significant for classified staff with 50 percent or greater appointments, who will be eligible in July for all the CU plans. One aspect of last year’s higher education efficiency bill was to permit the state’s public colleges and universities to provide their own benefits to classified employees, and CU exercised that provision. Employees in the state Kaiser health maintenance organization plan will see significant rate decreases by the move to CU Health Plan - Kaiser.

Some other changes for employees and retirees worth noting include:

  • All plans have been renamed and branded under the CU Health Plan
  • Cigna will serve as the new administrative services organization, providing a network of providers, claims processing and retail prescription drug sites
  • A four-tiered prescription drug formulary, the list of drugs covered by your health plan, will be implemented for all medical plans, which should decrease the time to fill specialty prescriptions
  • The CU Health Plan - Exclusive (formerly UA Net Plan) will have a new bariatric surgery benefit
  • The CU Health Plan - Medicare (formerly Medicare Primary Plan) will no longer include a $150 deductible for mail-order prescriptions
  • Due to a provision of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the maximum deduction for a health care flexible spending account will decrease from $6,000 per plan year to $2,500 per calendar year.
  • Classified staff with less than 50 percent appointments will continue to be eligible for the state’s benefit plans
  • Classified staff with 50 percent or greater appointments will no longer be eligible for state plans

The application and final rates will be available on Monday, the first day of OE. To learn more about new plan names, plan changes, OE sessions and carrier fairs, and the consequences if you choose to not take action during OE, go to: