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October 21, 2002

New benefits package for Open Enrollment

Wynell Lauver is communications consultant for Human Resources

This year’s Open Enrollment period for University employees, which begins today and runs through Nov. 8, brings with it a new benefits program for 2003, with many changes and enhancements, including a new medical plan and new voluntary benefits.

“This year, we are pleased to offer progressive enhancements to our plan, including HealthChoice (new PPO), group legal and long-term care insurance,” said Alice Miller, vice president for Human Resources. “Another key change is that employees age 21 and older will be eligible for an Emory contribution in the retirement plan. In addition, a new voluntary, short-term disability plan will be open to regular half-time staff and post-doc employees without a one-year wait, effective Jan. 1.”

All employees should by now have received their personalized Open Enrollment packets through campus mail. The packets include Your Guide to Benefits and the necessary enrollment forms. Employees can enroll “on paper” or online at

What’s new for 2003?
• New medical plan, HealthChoice PPO, designed for employees who expect minimal medical expenses but can afford higher deductible and coinsurance amounts.

• New prescription drug plan for all three medical plan choices, administered by Caremark.

• New mental health coverage for all three medical plan choices, administered by UBH.

• New life insurance vendor (ING), with the opportunity to elect additional life insurance coverage up to $300,000 at affordable rates without medical underwriting. Employees may also purchase life insurance for spouses/same-sex domestic partners up to $50,000 without underwriting.

• New voluntary long-term care insurance, covering expenses for care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities or the home.

• New voluntary group legal plan, providing legal services with participating attorneys for a low monthly fee.

In addition, Emory will continue to offer the EmoryChoice HMO, EmoryCare PPO, Traditional Dental, Dental Access, Dental Choice (available to current enrollees only) and Emory Vision Care. Certain co-pays and coinsurance amounts have been increased slightly for 2003.

To save money on taxes, employees can enroll in a flexible spending account for dependent care or health care. The Georgia Higher Education Savings Plan continues to be a great way to save for college costs through payroll deduction.

Your Guide to Benefits explains all the benefit choices in detail, including how to enroll online. For more information or to discuss choices with a benefits specialist, Open Enrollment meetings have been scheduled in convenient locations around campus, as listed in Your Guide to Benefits.

Employees who wish to retain the same health, dental, vision and life insurance they currently have, and who do not wish to set up a flexible spending account or enroll in voluntary benefits, do not need to submit anything during Open Enrollment.

Other changes effective Jan. 1, 2003
• Emory’s contribution to the retirement plan will continue for eligible employees at 6 percent of base earnings. However, the matching contribution will be reduced; the new matching contribution will be 1.5-to-1, University-to-employee ratio up to a 3 percent Emory contribution.

• The spouse/same-sex domestic partner courtesy scholarship for graduate school will no longer be available (except for individuals already enrolled in a degree program).

• Employees hired on or after Jan. 1 will have a graduated courtesy scholarship benefit for dependents, based on years of service.

• The age/service requirement for participation in retiree benefits will increase so that age plus years of service must equal at least 75.

Retiree benefits plan changes
• Retirees under 65 will be eligible to choose EmoryChoice, EmoryCare or the new HealthChoice plan, with coverage identical to active employees.

• Retirees over 65 may choose EmoryCare or one of two new retiree plans: HealthPlus and Emory Medigap.

• Emory’s subsidy for retiree medical benefits has been set at 50 percent of the total cost for 2003, to increase at no more than 4 percent per year thereafter. Employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2003, will not be eligible for an Emory subsidy, although they may participate in the medical plans if they meet the age/service requirements.

For assistance or questions, contact the benefits department at 404-727-7613.