When: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 12 noon – 1pm (lite lunch provided by ING)
Where: 341 McElhinney Hall
Description: Social Security as a Part of my Retirement Income ING Financial has invited Mr. Andy Harwick of Social Security Administration to speak on when and how to apply for social security. Mr. Harwick will also address how social security works with TRS and what you can expect from social security. ING Financial will provide a light lunch for this workshop.
UnitedHealth Care Workshop
When: May 29, 2013 11:30a – 1:00p (Brown bag, please feel free to bring your lunch while you learn)
Where: 341 McElhinney Hall
Description: UnitedHealth Care is our third-party administrator for the HealthSelect medical insurance plan sponsored through the Employees Retirement System of Texas. This is an informational presentation about what UHC offers HealthSelect participants. There will also be time after the presentation for questions you have about the UnitedHealth Care network.
Annual Enrollment 2013 will be July 22 – August 2, 2013. Like last year, enrollment will be conducted with different enrollment periods by group. You will have two weeks to make enrollment changes.
In July, you’ll receive your Annual Enrollment packet, which includes information on your benefits, Annual Enrollment choices, which will be mailed to you July 10, 11, 15, 16 or 17th. You should receive your Annual Enrollment packet at least one week before your enrollment period starts which is July 22 – August 2, 2013. Please note that dependents will be in the same enrollment periods as the employees they have coverage through. For example: Sharon is an active employee who works at UH. Her husband is retired and is in Medicare. Sharon and her husband will both have their enrollment in the summer, July 22 – August 2, 2013.
As in past years, you will have a couple ways to make benefit changes, including:
- signing in to your online account on the ERS website, or
- calling ERS (877/275-4377)
Please encourage all employees enrolled in a state health plan, who have not yet done so, to sign in to their accounts on the ERS website and certify whether or not they or their covered dependents 18 years old or older use tobacco. Even if employees and their dependents don't use tobacco, they still must certify their status as non-tobacco users. More>>
Many people have allergies. Signs often include sneezing and sniffles. You also may have a runny or stuffy nose. Your eyes may be itchy or watery. Or, you may have a headache. More>>
If you recently changed your address, email address, or phone number, don't forget to update that information in your online ERS account by May 31, 2013 at 5 p.m. More>>
Ask any parent. One of the scariest things about raising a child may be letting him or her drive. With proms, graduations, and beach trips, you may feel more nervous than ever about your child's safety on the road—and with good reason. More>>A dozen ways to get more fruits and veggies
You've heard the mantra—get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. In reality, you should aim for five to nine servings. Unfortunately, the typical American eats only about one serving a day. More>>
Previous Benefits Updates - In Case You Missed Them!
Disability Carrier change effective September 1, 2013 from Dearborn to Aon Hewitt Absence Management, LCC
The Employee’s Retirement System of Texas (ERS) Board of Trustees has awarded the third-party administrator contract for our disability insurance plans to Aon Hewitt Absence Management, LLC (Aon Hewitt). The contract will cover a four-year term from September 1, 2013 through August 31, 2017. Aon Hewitt’s offices dedicated to ERS are located in The Woodlands, Texas.
ERS disability coverage is available to active employees as an optional benefit and provides benefits for disabilities resulting from occupational and non-occupational illness or injury.
- Short-term Disability Insurance provides a maximum benefit of 66% of an enrolled employee’s monthly salary up to a maximum of $10,000 or $6,600, whichever is less, for a period up to five months.
- Long-term Disability Insurance coverage provides a maximum benefit of 60% of an enrolled employee’s monthly salary up to a maximum of $10,000 or $6,000, whichever is less, for a period ranging from 12 months up to age 65, depending on the employee’s age at the time of disability.
As of December 2012, 113,653 ERS employees were enrolled in Short-term Disability Insurance and 89,298 employees were enrolled in Long-term Disability Insurance. Premiums paid by employees who elect to participate in these plans cover the full cost of these benefits. The ERS Board of Trustees will determine the amount of premiums for Plan Year 2014 at its May Board meeting
Click here to find seasonal savings on financial services! Get your taxes done for a discount, or refinance and lower your monthly mortgage payments.
The ERS TexFlex program currently allows members to contribute up to $5,000 a year into a health care FSA. As of September 1, 2013, changes to federal law will lower the health care maximum contribution from up to $5,000 to up to $2,500. This change is required by the Affordable Care Act.
On September 1 of each year, participants are automatically re-enrolled in TexFlex accounts at the same annual contribution amount unless they make a change during Annual Enrollment. If the member's Plan Year 2013 annual contribution was more than the new limit, however, ERS will automatically reduce the annual contribution to the new limit for the upcoming plan year.
TexFlex is a use-it-or-lose-it program. The money contributed to a TexFlex account doesn't roll over to the next plan year, so members must use it all. For Plan Year 2013, members have until November 15, 2013 to spend TexFlex money, and until December 31, 2013 to file claims for reimbursement of funds spent before November 15, 2013. This aspect of the program did not change.
Q: What is the effective date for the new health care FSA maximum annual limit?
A: The new limit goes into effect on September 1, 2013.
Q: What is the new maximum annual limit for the health care FSA?
A: The new maximum annual limit is $2,500 ($208 per month if you get paid over 12 months, or $277 if you get paid over 9 months).
Q: Will the maximum limit of a TexFlex day care account change?
A: No, the limit will remain $5,000 for day care accounts.
Q: What will happen to employees who were contributing more than the new limit?
A: Their contributions will automatically be changed to the new limit, unless they make a change during Annual Enrollment.
Employees who have Long-Term Care (LTC) insurance through ERS may have recently received a letter from John Hancock regarding their LTC policy. Those employees with this LTC coverage has had a policy number change however, as long as you continue to pay your premiums, your LTC insurance will not change. The letter was sent to inform participants of a change in the administration of their LTC policy. Going forward, John Hancock will be the participants' direct contact for any questions about LTC coverage. Participants can contact a John Hancock representative toll-free at (800) 400-9396.
Do you have a hard time understanding the referral process? Do you know how to follow an explanation of benefits (EOB)? See the following tips from HealthSelectSM of Texas.
HealthSelect requires that your primary care physician (PCP) provide referrals to in-network specialists for in-network benefits to apply.
- Remember to double-check with your PCP to make sure your referrals are up to date. If UnitedHealthcare does not show your referral on file, your PCP will need to submit a new referral.
- Your PCP must use UnitedHealthcare’s online provider portal to submit a referral.
- Use your personal online account at www.healthselectoftexas.com to verify that a referral is on file.
- Any PCP referrals transferred from the prior carrier (Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas) cannot be viewed through your personal online account.
- Contact HealthSelect toll-free at (866) 336-9371 to inquire about any referrals that aren’t showing up on your personal online account.
Explanation of Benefits
You can view the explanation of benefits (EOB) you receive from HealthSelect through your personal online account at www.healthselectoftexas.com. EOBs provide information such as billed charges, services provided, how much the plan paid, and your financial responsibility for the claim. The Sample Explanation of Benefits (EOB) Statement (PDF)(536 KB) explains the information provided in each EOB section.
Vision problems and eye conditions can affect people of all ages. That's why it's so important to take care of your eyes—starting early in life. More>>
Beginning April 1, 2013, you can use debit cards as either “debit” or “credit” cards. If you choose debit, you will need a personal identification number, or PIN, to use the card. If your spouse or a dependent also has a card for your account, they will use the same PIN you use. You will need the PIN for debit transactions at any location that accepts your PayFlex card – pharmacies, doctors’ offices, other health care providers, day care providers, etc.
To get a PIN, contact PayFlex Card Services on or after April 1, 2013 by calling toll-free at (888) 999-0121. If you try to call the number before April 1, you will hear a message telling you to call back on or after April 1. Once you have your PIN, you can use the card right away. You will not need a PIN to use the card for credit.
This change is part of a new federal law that will reduce the amount of credit card fees that merchants pay. Some merchants may require you to choose debit and not let you use credit. This change does not affect the fees you pay for your TexFlex account or TexFlex debit card.
Starting on May 1, 2013, you will also have to activate a new card before you can use it. If you already have a card, it was pre-activated, and you don’t need to do anything. New or replacement cards issued on or after May 1, however, will have to be activated by the owner. You can activate the card the same way you would activate any other debit or credit card. Each card will contain an activation label with a toll-free number. You will dial (877) 261-9951 to activate your cards.
If you have questions about these changes, please call the number on the back of your debit card.
There will be a Retirement Planning Event entitled: “Retirewise” presented by Metlife, Thursday, April 11th and Thursday April 25th. These sessions will be held in Human Resources as follows:
When: Thursday, April 11 and April 25th (11:30a – 2:30p)
Where: HR Training Room 341 McElhinney
Who should attend: This course is open to all employees
How long: 3 hours each session
Topic: Retirewise (Course HRTV13 and 16)
Workshop Series: It’s never too late—or early—to plan for your retirement
MetLife understands that one of the biggest financial challenges people face is planning and saving for retirement. To help our employees address this challenge, MetLife is pleased to offer Retirewise®, a complimentary workshop series that can help you achieve your retirement goals. Regardless of your age, this workshop will bet you started putting all the pieces together.
This session provides you the opportunity to:
- Attend a four-part complimentary workshop series (in two sessions) that covers a range of important financial and retirement topics
- Receive a comprehensive workbook that provides resources you can reference during and after the workshop
- Schedule an optional one-on-one consultation with the same Retirewise representative who delivered the workshop
View an interactive presentation to learn more about the benefits of attending. Participants must commit to attending BOTH 3 hour sessions. MetLife will provide a light lunch for these two sessions.
Please register in PASS. Contact the HR Service Center at 713/743-3988 if you have questions/concerns.
If employees have changed their email addresses, mailing addresses, or phone numbers, they should update that information in their online ERS accounts. More>>
Dental Choice PlanSM Updates for Plan Participants
The Dental Maximum Benefit is the amount of benefits the State of Texas Dental Choice PlanSM will pay in a calendar year. Once you reach the Maximum Benefit, you must pay all additional expenses. The annual dental maximum is $1,500, and it "starts over" each January 1. This means that as of January 1, 2013, you have access to another $1,500 for dental expenses through December 31, 2013. The annual maximum applies for each covered person.
If you are a State of Texas Dental Choice PlanSM participant, any covered dental expenses that applied to your deductible during the last three months of 2012 will apply to your 2013 deductible. More>>
On February 1, Minnesota Life, the administrator for ERS’ life insurance, made it possible for members to submit proof of good health (also known as evidence of insurability, or EOI) for Optional Term Life Insurance and/or Dependent Term Life Insurance online. EOI is an application process in which an employee wishes to make benefits elections after their initial 30 days of employment or during the annual open enrollment period.The new web-based process should make it more convenient for members to apply for Life EOI—and faster for them to get a response—although the option to mail or fax paper EOI forms will still be available. More>>
HealthSelectSM of Texas tips to keep you on track
With a HealthSelect Online Personal Account, you can easily manage your health benefits. More>>
FML Policy Changes
We have been reviewing our FML/Parental Leave (FML) practices in HR and are working to improve the timeliness in approving/denying FML applications for our employees. Effective 12/1/2012, we require ALL FML documents (application and certification) to be forwarded directly to Human Resources for processing. The FML application is no longer required to have the supervisor’s and College Business Administrator’s signature. Employees are still required to inform their supervisors/departments of their requested leave as well as submit a leave request form for the time off.
When an employee is interested in going on FML, they need to contact Human Resources (713/743-3988 or stop by the HR Service Center—Room 325 McElhinney) to receive and provide the FML application and physician’s certification. The employee will receive the necessary forms to complete along with detailed instructions on completing, and returning the forms to the HR Service Center for processing.
Within five business days of receiving the application, the employee’s supervisor (as noted on the application), Department Administrator and College Business Administrator will be notified of receipt of the application for FML. Within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of receiving the application in Human Resources, the employee and supervisor will receive an approved or denied response from Human Resources unless not practicable under the circumstances.
Please review the updated policy at http://www.uh.edu/af/universityservices/policies/mapp/02/020201.pdf (for FML) and http://www.uh.edu/af/universityservices/policies/mapp/02/020202.pdf (for Parental Leave).
We anticipate seeing significant improvement in the timeliness in responding to your employee’s FML requests.
HealthSelect coinsurance maximums and non-network deductibles start over January 1.
Remember that HealthSelectSM of Texas medical coinsurance maximums and deductibles for non-network services are based on the calendar year, January 1 to December 31. At the start of each calendar year, you are responsible for any applicable deductible or coinsurance amounts. These amounts don't carry over from the previous calendar year.
Please be advised that under the Affordable Care Act, contraceptive prescription drugs are covered at 100%, effective September 1, for all Texas Employees Group Benefits Program health plans. Some restrictions apply, such as that drugs must be prescribed by a physician and be FDA approved, and that 100% coverage will not apply to brand-name drugs with a generic equivalent. Deductibles do not apply to these medications.
The contribution maximums for each of the Texa$aver 401(k) and 457 Plans have increased by $500 to $17,500 for the 2013 calendar year. More>>
Resources for Employees Facing Separation
We understand that separation from UH is a difficult time for employees. In an effort to ease your transition, HR has compiled resource information to assist you. Information includes resources for the following areas: Retirement; Benefits; Job Search; Bills; Legal and Medical; and Frugal Living.
For more information go to: http://www.uh.edu/hr-communications/separated-employees/
CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER 325 McElhinney
The Human Resources Team is here to assist you with all your HR needs. In an effort to serve you better, please use the Customer Service Center as your start point when coming to HR. All appointment check-ins, information inquiries and employment document finalizations should start at the Customer Service Center in 325 McElhinney, located as you exit the elevator on the 3rd floor. Representatives will assist you directly or make sure you are directed to the right person.
Contact Information: Phone 713-743-3988 or EMAIL at CSC@uh.edu
Customer Service Feedback: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HRCustomerServiceFeedback
Communications and Updates: http://www.uh.edu/hr-communications/index.php/#custservice
Please contact the HR Customer Service Center for any questions 713-743-3988 or via email at CSC@uh.eduu . Angie, Mindy and Jose are ready to assist you or direct you to the appropriate resource.