NUFlex enrollment period begins today

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Federal health care reform is impacting annual benefits enrollment for UNL employees.

The NUFlex enrollment period is Nov. 15 to Dec. 3. For the second year, all university employees must complete benefits enrollment updates and changes online through the Firefly Employee Self Service program at

Live online NUFlex meetings related to the benefits changes will be offered on Nov. 15 and Dec. 1. UNL officials will also assist employees with the online enrollment on Dec. 2 and 3. More information on these meetings is available below.

"Employees will see some changes directly related to new health care reform," said Greg Clayton, director of benefits and risk management for UNL. "We are now offering coverage to dependents up to age 26. And, the biggest change in my mind is a shift in reimbursements for some over-the-counter drugs."

Health care reform has extended dependent coverage from up to age 24 to age 26. UNL employees can now enroll dependents who are under age 26 into the NUFlex program. When the dependent turns age 26 or becomes eligible for a group medical plan through an employer, the NUFlex coverage must be dropped.

Per federal regulations, UNL employees have until Dec. 15 to register dependents under age 26.

Also as a result of health care reform, a number of over-the-counter drugs cannot be claimed on health care reimbursement accounts without a doctor's prescription.

"There is a list of over-the-counter items, such as aspirin and cold medicines, that are no longer eligible for reimbursements," said Keith Dietze, director of benefits for the NU system. "If you want to claim them, you have to get a prescription from a doctor."

For more information, go to

Clayton said this is the first step toward tightening the use of health care reimbursement accounts.

"As outlined in federal health care reform, by 2013 the maximum you can put into a health care reimbursement account will be $2,500. Right now, the maximum is $5,000," said Clayton.

Employees will see mostly minor shifts in premiums for 2011.

The premium for medical coverage is unchanged for full-time university employees. However, the University of Nebraska's employer contribution toward medical premiums will increase 6 percent.

"We saw an increase in claims this year, but our goal was not to increase the medical premium," said Dietze. "And, we were able to accomplish that by increasing the university's contribution."

Employees with an employment status of .5 to .95 will see a premium increase proportional to their employment level.

Medical deductibles and stop-loss limits for all three levels of medical coverage will change for preferred providers (PPO) and non-preferred providers (Non-PPO). These were last increased in 2004. Deductibles for PPO will increase by $50 for all but the high option. Deductibles for Non-PPO will increase by $50 for all plans. Stop-loss limits will increase by $100 for all levels of medical coverage.

Costs related to the CVS Caremark Prescription Drug program will also change in relation for each 30-day prescription. The annual deductible for brand name drugs increases from $50 to $57. Generic drug costs are unchanged at $9. Brand name drugs on the formulary list increase from $28 to $31, while those on the not on the formulary list rise from $47 to $52.

Employees can also complete a voluntary online health risk assessment and receive enhanced wellness and preventative services benefits. The survey (which takes about 10 minutes) is available via the Firefly portal.

Enhanced benefits offered through completion of the survey are: an annual preventive care allowance of $300 (for insured age 2 and over); dependent child (under age 2) preventive care allowance of $600; 100 percent coverage, up to a $2,500 maximum, for routine preventive colonoscopy once every 10 years beginning at age 50 (services must be provided by a Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO Provider) and no copay for generic prescription drugs through CVS Caremark's mail service.

Other benefits related changes:

- Employees will be able to sign up for dental and vision coverage this year.

- The university contribution toward dental coverage will increase by $1 per month for "employee and spouse" and "employee and child" coverage options. Dental price tags for full time employees will increase $1 to $3 per month in response to increases in dental care usage.

- Costs for vision coverage are unchanged.

- Employees can update their life insurance tobacco/nicotine designation if necessary.

Online NUFlex information meetings will be offered from 2 to 3 p.m., Nov. 15 and 10 to 11 a.m., Dec. 1. Those meetings will be available at

The UNL benefits office will be available to help employees with questions and/or the online enrollment process from 1 to 4 p.m., Dec. 2 and 9 a.m. to noon, Dec. 3 in Canfield Administration Building, room 316.

UNL employees can also contact the Benefits office at 472-2600 for more information or assistance.

"We hope employees read the NUFlex information provided and attend the meetings or give a call if they have any questions," said Dietze. "The deadline to make benefits changes is 5 p.m., Dec. 3. And, we encourage employees to complete the NUFlex benefits enrollment early because that server gets very busy by Dec. 3."

- Troy Fedderson, University Communications

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