It's that time of year again: Annual benefits open enrollment begins Thursday, Oct. 1. Action should be taken by Thursday, Oct. 31, in order for changes to be applied to the next year.
Public Employees Benefits Board has decided, for this year only, to make open enrollment voluntary. Employees do not have to do anything if they are happy with their current coverages and insurance plans, including their current participation in the Health Engagement Model. This means that 2020 plan choices will remain intact for 2021.
If an employee wants to update any of their coverages, add or remove dependents, enroll or reenroll in a flexible spending account or change their Health Engagement Model status, they must take action no later than Oct. 31 to make changes during open enrollment.
The benefits office maintains an open enrollment webpage to provide employees with instructions, information and quick links to everything needed to understand this year’s passive open enrollment process.
“We ask that employees set aside time to review their current elections and decide if they need to participate in this year’s open enrollment,” said Cindi Peterson, associate director of benefits. “Those who want to make changes, such as selecting a different medical or dental plan, changing optional benefit coverages, or participating in the flexible spending plan in 2021 among others reasons, will need to take action.”
There are few plan changes for 2021, but not many, Peterson said. A summary of plan changes is available on the human resources website.
To help evaluate options, benefit-eligible employees are encouraged to participate in this year’s virtual benefits fair. Information from each of the medical, vision and dental plans as well as wellness programs and other optional benefit plan providers will be available. Presentations and information sessions will be conducted throughout the week of Oct. 5.
“The benefits office will send reminders throughout open enrollment, but it is up to each individual to manage their benefit elections and take necessary action,” Peterson said. Contact the benefits office for open enrollment questions and assistance.