August 15, 2016
Topic: Human Resources
Faculty, staff and retirees may change their benefits for 2017 during this year's open enrollment period, Oct. 24-Nov. 4.
Eligible individuals may change their medical, dental, vision and legal plans. Faculty and staff may also enroll in a Flexible Spending Account.
There are no major benefit changes for 2017. However, individuals are encouraged to take the time before open enrollment begins to review their current benefits and coverage.
"One of our commitments is to make sure our faculty, staff and retirees have all the information they need in plenty of time to make the best choices for themselves and their families," said Rich Holcomb, senior director for benefits. "Open enrollment isn't until the end of October, but many people start planning earlier by picturing what's on the horizon for next year."
Although the Benefits Office recommends that faculty, staff and retirees review their benefits each year, no action is required to keep current benefits — with one exception. IRS rules do not allow Flexible Spending Account enrollments to continue across calendar years. Faculty and staff need to re-enroll to participate in an FSA for 2017.
Starting this fall, the Benefits Office will make new tools available through the Human Resources website to help individuals get the most out of their health care.
"Navigating health care can be a challenge, even for experts who work in the field," said Marsha Manning, manager of medical benefits. "We're excited to highlight some great tools to help our members have important conversations with their health care providers and seek out the safest, highest-value care."
New tools include guides to common tests and treatments from the Choosing Wisely campaign, steps to select a safer hospital and prepare for a safe hospital stay, and decision-making support about whether to seek care at the doctor's office, urgent care or the emergency room.
Open enrollment is the ideal time for faculty and staff to review their dependent coverage in anticipation of life events coming up in the next year. For example, a young child who may go to the dentist for the first time in 2017 would need to be added to the employee's dental plan during open enrollment. Anyone planning to retire in 2017 should update their dependents during this year's open enrollment. Retirees cannot add new dependents to their coverage.
Because eligible faculty and staff can enroll in or change their life insurance, long-term disability or retirement savings plans at any time, these benefits are not included in the annual open enrollment period.
New benefit plan rates will be available on Wolverine Access beginning Aug. 20. The Benefits Office will send additional open enrollment information to eligible faculty and staff by email, and will mail an open enrollment book to retirees at their home addresses in early October. Information also is available online.
Employees and retirees will use Wolverine Access self-service to make benefits changes beginning Oct. 24. Retirees will have the choice to enroll online or complete the enrollment form included in their open enrollment books. Benefits changes must be complete by 5 p.m. Nov. 4. All changes and new rates take effect Jan. 1 and continue through 2017.
For questions about benefits or open enrollment, call the Shared Services Center at 734-615-2000, or 866-647-7657 (toll free) Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the Benefits Office website for information on all U-M benefits.