Campus News

Healthy outlook

Human resources administrator discusses what's new during open enrollment for health, dental insurance plans

Columns: Are the health plans different next year? What’s new or going away?
Next year, we’ll have the same plans we had last year, but we are adding to the PPO group: A PPO and an HSA PPO with an alternative network. These new plans areidentical to the current PPO and HSA PPO except that they have on average 13 percent less service providers than the current network and the rates are lower than the PPO and HSA PPO.

All of the existing health plans premiums (except for Kaiser at 8.3 percent) will increase 9.7 percent.

Columns: What do employees need to know about open enrollment this year?
If you are covering dependents age 45 or older on your health plan, their Social Security number needs to be entered in HR Connection or those dependents will dropped effective Jan. 1, 2011.

This is a requirement from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is a federal mandate and requires that your Social Security number be attached to your health insurance records.

Columns: How does the Federal Health Care Reform Bill impact employee health care coverage?
As of Jan. 1 if you have a dependent child younger than 26, you may add the dependent to your health insurance plan. These dependents are no longer subject to the full-time student status or marital status restrictions as in the past.

Once your child turns 26, they can no longer be covered. You should request a change through HR Connection to drop any ineligible dependents.

Other changes include the removal of the $2 million lifetime plan maximum from all of our health plans and the removal of the annual wellness maximum ($750) and $20 co-pay for wellness office visits on the PPO and PPO Alternative network plans.

Columns: Almost 1,300 employees signed up for the high deductible plan last year. How is that going?
Most people love it. You manage your own pre-tax Health Savings Account money for health care expenses instead of paying a higher premium cost. This plan is not for employees who do not want to be involved in their health care.

Columns: Will the high deductible plan receive seed money from UGA for 2011?
Yes, they’re going to continue seed money for another year. It will be half the amount that it was last year, or one-fourth of your deductible.

The seed money deposits will be put in your HSA account in January and July.

Columns: How does the new tobacco surcharge work?
All tobacco users are required to designate their current tobacco use status in HR Connection during open enrollment as a “yes.” The tobacco use surcharge is $50 a month. If you quit smoking (or using tobacco) at any time after Jan. 1, 2011, you may request a change through HR Connection and attest that you are no longer a tobacco user to have the surcharge removed.

Columns: What prescription plan changes are there?
On the PPO and PPO Alternative network plan, the co-pay for brand name drugs increased from $25 to $30. There’s also a one-month generic co-pay waiver program.

Columns: One of the health plans is a Kaiser Permanente plan. Are they coming to Athens?
They were supposed to build a Kaiser medical facility in Athens, but it is my understanding the Athens facility has been cancelled.

Columns: How do you find a doctor for your health plan?
You can check on the Blue Cross Blue Shield website,, or you can call Blue Cross Blue Shield at (800) 424-8950. Do not call your physician’s office to verify if he/she is an in-network provider. Human Resources also can help you locate physicians in all of the health plan networks.

Columns: What options are there for employees whose health insurance coverage has drastically increased in price over the last few years?
You need to choose a plan you can afford and that will satisfy your health insurance needs. We have several benefit consultants who can meet with you one-on-one if you want to review your health plan choices.

Information sessions
Travis Jackson and Jason Parker, executive senior managing consultants in Human Resources, will lead the open enrollment information sessions this year. The sessions are:

Oct. 27 2-4 p.m. Masters Hall, Georgia Center
Oct. 28 2-4 p.m. Tate Theatre
Nov. 2 9-11 a.m. Tate Theatre
Nov. 3 2-4 p.m. Chapel
Nov. 8 9-11 a.m. Masters Hall, Georgia Center
Nov. 9 10 a.m.-noon Chapel
For retirees:
Oct. 25 10 a.m.-noon Masters Hall, Georgia Center
Nov. 4 2-4 p.m. Masters Hall, Georgia Center
For UGA employees who cannot make it to the sessions, the presentation also will be available online at For additional questions, e-mail