NUFlex open enrollment, the annual period for university employees to enroll in or make changes to University of Nebraska benefits plans, is Nov. 19 to Dec. 7.
For the fifth time in seven years, healthcare premiums for medical and dental benefits will not increase in 2013 for full-time employees. That good news extends to deductibles and co-pays, which also will not increase.
“There was a minimal increase to the employer, but nothing will be going up from the employee contribution in 2013,” said Keith Dietze, director of university-wide benefits for the NU system. “Employees are doing a better job of using their healthcare — using preventative benefits more and more, using generics, those kinds of things — which leads to us being able to avoid those big increases.
“That is truly something we should all be proud of.”
All employees — except those opting for the new Employee Plus-One benefits — must complete benefits enrollment information online through Firefly, https://firefly.nebraska.edu. Due to complications related to federal tax law, employees opting for the Plus-One benefits must enroll in person at the UNL Benefits Office, 32 Canfield Administration Building.
The NUFlex open enrollment period is the only time university employees can make benefits package changes during the calendar year.
Dietze stressed that all employees must designate their individual tobacco and nicotine use status during the NUFlex period.
“If you forget to designate tobacco and nicotine, or don’t see it listed on your final confirmation statement, you will be paying smoker premiums,” said Dietze. “And make sure you review the confirmation statements. When it comes to 5:01 p.m. Dec. 7, whatever you’ve enrolled in is what you have for the entire year. At that point, no changes can be made until the following year.”
The university will not be mailing printed copies of the benefits confirmation statement this year. Instead, the form will be automatically emailed to employees for review.
Another form that will go digital is the explanation of benefits for vision care. This form will not be sent via the provider, EyeMed, after a purchase. Instead, the EOB will be available electronically via the EyeMed website.
Employees can also complete the Health Risk Assessment and receive enhanced wellness benefits. Those include an annual preventative care allowance of $300 for adults and $600 for children ($250 and $500, respectively without the HRA); generic drugs ordered through the Caremark mail service for free (zero co-pay); and a free colonoscopy (100 percent coverage up to $2,500) every 10 years starting at age 50.
Some of the most visible changes for NUFlex benefits in 2013 are a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Dietze said the name for reimbursement accounts — which can be used to hold a designated amount of pre-tax pay in reserve for medical bills — has changed to flexible spending accounts. Also, the maximum designation for the flexible spending accounts is $2,500 for individual adults, down from the previous max of $5,000. Family coverage remains at the $5,000 maximum.
The Affordable Care Act also requires employers use W-2s to report to the federal government the amount of health premiums the university paid to each employee. Dietze said employees do not pay taxes on this figure.
Also, under the act, makers of medical devices will be taxed at 2.3 percent on devices like stents, pacemakers, wheelchairs, etc. This is not a direct charge to benefits plans.
“Really the changes under the Affordable Care Act are minimal this year,” Dietze said. “The big year will be 2014. However our benefits coverage is grandfathered in and will not change.”
Employees who have questions about benefits should contact the UNL Benefits office at 402-472-2600 or in 32 Canfield Administration Building.
— Troy Fedderson, University Communications
More details at: http://go.unl.edu/nu_benefits