The City’s open enrollment period for employees to select their health benefits coverage will run from Oct. 1 to midnight on Oct. 31. Employees will once again enroll online. All employees must enroll whether they are making changes to their coverage or not.
Employees electing not to have their medical coverage from the City should contact Human Resources about waiving coverage.
Aetna remains the City’s provider for medical, dental and vision coverage. Dental and vision coverage have no changes. Lincoln Financial Group continues to provide voluntary supplemental insurance options.
This year, the City will use its new Munis computer system that will launch on Oct. 1. Unlike the Aetna system last year, the Munis system will be available to employees from home or any outside computer.
“I know that will be helpful for many people, especially our retirees,” says Jay Light, benefits manager. “People want to review their coverage with their spouse and families.”
The system will be active starting on Oct. 1. Employees can find the link to Open Enrollment 2014 on the City’s website home page, roundrocktexas.gov, in the left hand corner in the box headed Jobs (see sidebar). Employees’ username will be their employee number and their password is the last four digits of their Social Security number.
Informational meetings in October
Human Resources will be conducting informational meetings around the City throughout October to review changes to the City’s coverage and answer questions.
“I strongly encourage everyone to attend one of these meetings,” says Jay. “A lot is changing with our coverage this year and we want employees to be informed when making their coverage decisions.”
Revisions by the City as well as the implementation of the Affordable Care Act by the federal government mean that employee medical coverage will have significant changes for 2014.
The City’s high and low plan options will be discontinued in January; all employees will have the same plan.
“Really, the high and low plans were not distinctive enough to justify having two options,” says Jay. “The only real difference between them was the deductible. We decided streamlining the coverage would make more sense for the City.”
In addition, the City will have three tiers of coverage to choose from instead of four: Employee only; Employee and Family; and Employee and Children.
“We eliminated the separate Employee and Spouse tier but spouses are now covered under Employee and Family,” says Jay. “Many employers are eliminating coverage for spouses because they are not technically obligated to provide it since spouses are not considered dependents. The City decided to include spouses in the Family tier.”
Costs for health care coverage for employees are changing as well. Some employees will see their costs go down while many on the Employee Only tier will see substantial increases.
“About half of employees will actually be paying less next year,” says Jay, “but those paying more will be paying a lot more. The City does not have the financial resources to be able to continue to subsidize those costs. As it is, the City increased its costs per employee by $95 a month, slightly less than $1 million a year.”
A new benefit for 2014 is free generic drugs, both retail and mail order.
“We had the free generics by mail this year and now we are expanding that to include free generic drugs from retail,” says Jay.
Hearing aids will also be covered up to $4,000 a year, coverage the City has never provided before.
The informational meetings will also provide some good resources for employees, such as mobile apps for finding an in-network provider wherever you are and a new “inner network” from Aetna that gives deep discounts to patients who use their providers. Human Resources has put together a comprehensive Benefits Guide that will be very helpful.
“The most important thing to remember is that everyone has to enroll next month,” Jay says. “After midnight on Oct. 31, the City’s hands are tied. We won’t be able to get you coverage.”