Open enrollment for benefits begins
If enrolling for health, disability and retirement benefits seems confusing, below are some frequently asked questions and answers to help make the process easier.
When is Open Enrollment for faculty and staff this year?
Open Enrollment begins Oct. 21 and ends Nov. 1. New benefit elections will be effective Jan. 1, 2014.
Where do I go to get my questions about benefits answered?
One of the best ways to get answers about your benefits is to attend the university’s Benefits Fair between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 22 in Koury Athletics Center.
Why should I go to the Benefits Fair?
The fair is designed to give you the opportunity to learn about your benefits and talk with representatives about benefit election options for the next calendar year. You can make benefit election changes at the fair. There also will be door prizes and refreshments.
Who will be at the Benefits Fair?
In addition to human resources staff, representatives will be available from AFLAC, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Delta Dental, Elon’s Faculty/Staff Wellness Program, Employee Assistance and Counseling Program (EACP), Flores & Associates, Lincoln Financial Group, Proponent Federal Credit Union, TIAA-CREF (retirement plan), Truliant Federal Credit Union and Vision Service Plan (VSP).
What can I do online while at the Benefits Fair?
- You can add, drop or make changes to your medical, dental and/or vision insurance Buy-Up option.
- Add or make changes to your additional, ROTH and/or group supplemental retirement annuity (GSRA) plans.
- Add or re-enroll in the Flexible Spending Accounts.
Isn’t there an annual maximum contribution amount for Flexible Spending Accounts? What do I need to know?
The annual maximum contribution amount for the Medical Flexible Spending Accounts is $2,500. This limit is per participant and not per household. Therefore, if a husband and wife both participate in their respective employer’s FSA plans, they may have a combined household pre-tax contribution of $5,000 for the taxable year but neither may contribute more than the $2,500 per person pre-tax limit. For example, one cannot contribute $2,000 and the other $3,000. The annual maximum contribution amount for Dependent Care FSA is $5,000.
Do I need to attend the Benefits Fair to make changes to my plan? If not, how do I make changes on my own?
No. You can make all your changes online through OnTrack between Oct. 21 and Nov. 1. From OnTrack select “OnTrack for Employees.” Log in using your OnTrack username and password. Select “Benefit Enrollment.” On this page, you will see a list of your current benefits. Scroll to bottom of page and click “continue.” You can check the boxes of the benefits that you want to add, change and/or delete. Then click “continue.” After you make your selections, you can click “save information and go to the next form” or “do not save changes and go to the next form” and then click “continue.” Do not use the back button to go to previous page. To access previous page, you need to start the process over by clicking on “main menu” at the top of the OnTrack page. To add dependents, you will be asked to add their information to the dependent/beneficiary pool. If you select a tier other that “Employee Only” for any benefit, it will cover a dependent. When selecting the flexible spending accounts, you must select the annual amount. After you have gone through all the process and made your selections, you will have the option to “save choices and complete later,” “save and go back to make other elections or corrections,” “manage dependents/beneficiaries,” or “ready to sign,” which completes your enrollment. Once you are ready to sign, you must check the “electronic signature for final enrollment” box and click “submit” in order to complete the process.
Is there anything I can’t change while accessing my benefits through OnTrack?
Yes. Under the retirement section, there will not be an option for you to change the mandatory contribution. It is only viewable. However, you will have the option to add, change or opt out of the voluntary additional, GSRA or ROTH retirement plans. Under the life insurance section, there will not be an option for you to elect or change the Basic Life Insurance plan. It is viewable because the university pays for this benefit. You can change your beneficiaries by clicking “here.”
What if I want to keep everything the same? Is there anything I need to do?
All benefit-eligible employees will need to complete the open enrollment process online if they are adding, deleting and/or making changes to their benefits through OnTrack with Benefits Enrollment Online. Any employees who do not go into the online system during open enrollment to add, delete or a make a change to their benefits will maintain the same benefits at their current level with one exception. Flexible spending participants must re-enroll in those plans every year because previous elections do not rollover.
Did I understand correctly? If I want to keep everything the same and I’m not a flexible spending participant, I don’t have to do anything?
Yes. You don’t have to do anything and you will maintain your current benefits, including medical, dental, vision, dependent/optional life, long-term disability, etc.
If I want to make changes, can it all be done online?
Yes, however, if you are adding, deleting or making a change to the long-term disability insurance, it will have to be done via a paper form. When selecting this option during open enrollment, employees have to complete an Evidence of Insurability form and then mail it to Lincoln Financial who will in turn determine eligibility and notify you directly regarding approval or denial. If you are changing beneficiary information, it also must be done via paper form.
How do I know if I’m eligible for benefits?
Employees who work at least 30 hours a week or teach 24 semester hours per academic year are eligible for benefits.
I’m a new employee and haven’t been through orientation yet. Should I go to the Benefits Fair to make my benefit selections?
You are welcome to attend the Benefits Fair. However, you will make your benefit selections after you’ve been through orientation because those selections will become effective prior to Jan. 1, 2014. Those details will all be explained during orientation.
I’m a new employee who just attended orientation and made all my benefit selections. Do I need to do it again?
If you just attended orientation and recently made benefit selections, you do not have to do anything for your coverage to continue in 2014. The only exception is if you are participating in flexible spending. Flexible spending participants must re-enroll in those plans every year because previous elections do not rollover.
I currently don’t participate in the retirement plan, but I want to start. What do I need to know?
You have to be employed by Elon University for a calendar year before you are eligible to participate in the mandatory TIAA-CREF retirement plan with the university. The only exception is if you were previously employed at an educational facility that also offered a 403(b) plan. When you are eligible, employees are required to contribute a minimum of 4 percent of their annual salary and the university contributes 8 percent. When that time comes—typically around the first of the month of your one-year anniversary—you will receive an email from Human Resources that explains the plan in detail as well as what you need to do to enroll.
If I’m not making any changes to my benefits, should I bother attending the Benefits Fair?
The Wellness Office will be providing free flu shots. There will be door prizes and refreshments. It’s also an excellent opportunity to see the Human Resources staff and get all your questions answered.
What if I’m busy that day and can’t make it to the Benefits Fair, but I have questions?
The staff from the Office of Human Resources will be available at the fair to help anyone who needs assistance with the open enrollment process so if you have questions, please try to attend. However, after the Benefits Fair, call the Office of Human Resources to schedule an appointment if you need assistance with the online open enrollment process.
What is the deadline for completing the open enrollment process?
Friday, Nov. 1, 2013.