TWU's benefits area of human resources is here to assist and support faculty and staff members (and their families). We administer the Optional Retirement Program and Voluntary Savings Account programs. In addition, we offer confidential benefits counseling services that are intended to help you gain a better understanding of your benefits programs such as health, dental, term life, leave plans such as sick leave, family medical leave and much more.
ANNUAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD
This year’s annual enrollment began Sunday July 31, 2016 and ends August 12, 2016. This is your opportunity to make changes to your State Benefits as well as your TWU Voluntary Benefits. However, no action is required to maintain your current benefits.
2016-2017 PLAN UPDATES
If you do not make an election to your current plan the election will remain in place for the 2016-2017 plan year.
- The employee’s retirement contribution for TRS members will increase from 7.2% to 7.7%.
- Premiums for health and dental insurance will increase effective September 1, 2016. The attached rate sheet, provided by ERS, includes the premiums for the health and dental insurance premiums, all other existing plan, and the new Consumer Directed Health Plan and the new Vision plan.
- In addition to our current Health Select plan, ERS has announced a new Consumer Directed Health Plan as an additional option for employees to choose for medical coverage. This is a high deductible plan that includes a HSA (Health Spending Account). Additional details regarding the new medical plan are currently available online via the ERS webpage. Consumer Directed Health Plan Prescription drug benefits available soon per ERS.
- UnitedHealthcare has been awarded the contract as the New Pharmacy Benefits Manager beginning January 1, 2017. This fall, ERS will provide more information on the transition of your existing prescription benefits to UnitedHealthcare.
- HealthSelect participants can now complete Health Risk Assessments by registering for Rally, a new online health management program. Log into your personal account at www.myuhc.com/hs click the Health and Wellness tab, and click on Rally to set up an account.
- As currently available Virtual Visits HealthSelect of Texas participants and eligible dependents can consult with a licensed physician from their mobile device without leaving their home or office. This 24-hour online service can be used, for a $10 co-pay, to diagnose and treat such non-emergency medical conditions as sinus problems, sore throat, pink eye and bronchitis.
- Real Appeal is a new online weight loss program currently available to eligible HealthSelect of Texas participants not enrolled in Medicare Part B – employees, retirees, and their covered dependents ages 18 and over – with a body mass (BMI) of 23 or higher.
- Remember that all participants who are 18 and over must certify whether or not they use tobacco. Those who are already certified do not need to recertify unless your status has changed.
- The ERS Board of Trustees named Superiors Vision Services, Inc. as the third-party administrator of the new State of Texas Vision plan available to all employees and their eligible dependents.
- Long-Term Care is available through the Discount Purchase Program. This is a direct bill program offered at a group rate.
- No changes to Optional Life Insurance, Dependent Term Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Dismemberment, or Long or Short Term Disability.
- Evidence of Insurability is required to elect Optional Life, Dependent Term Life, and Long or Short Term Disability.
- No changes to the Dental plans.
Flexible Spending Accounts
- Employees can enroll in a Commuter Spending Account (CSA) administered by ADP, to use pre-tax money for eligible transit and parking expenses incurred when commuting to and from work. CSA works on a month-to-month basis. You can enroll in, change your election amount or cancel at any time of the year.
- This is the time to increase or decrease your Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) for either a Health Care Reimbursement account or a Day Care Account. $500 in unused expenses will roll over to next year from your Health Care account.
- The annual limits to your Health and Dependent Care accounts will remain the same. If you do not make an election to your current plan the election will remain in place for the 2016-2017 plan year.
- Because Consumer Directed Health Care participants are not eligible for an FSA account a Limited Flexible Spending Account, (LFSA) allows them to set money aside for eligible vision and dental care only.
Commuter Spending Account Enrollment coming in January 2016
Enrollment begins January 1, 2016
Beginning January 1, 2016, employees will be able to enroll in a CSA to pay for transit and parking expenses incurred when commuting to and from work. CSAs let you use pre-tax dollars to pay eligible parking and transit expenses like parking lot fees and vanpool, bus and train fares. Like flexible spending accounts, CSAs are subject to IRS regulations.
Two types of CSAs:
- The parking account can pay for eligible parking expenses near the employee’s workplace or at a location from which the employee commutes to work via mass transit or vanpool.
- The transit account can pay for eligible mass transit – bus, train or subway - or vanpool expenses associated with travel to and from work. The IRS does not consider gas or toll road fees to be eligible expenses. (Generally, a vehicle is eligible for vanpool expenses if it seats at least six adults, not including the driver, and uses at least 80 percent of its mileage to transport employees to and from places of employment.)
Employees can find more information about CSA on the TexFlex website or contact ADP at (844) 884-2364 Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CT.
FY 2016 Retirement Rate Changes
The September 2nd issue of the weekly ERS Employee News communication regarding a change to ERS contributions and a corresponding increase does not apply to TWU or any other higher education institution.
This letter included details regarding retirement contributions for non-higher education State Employees. The article references an increase to the ERS (Employees Retirement System) contribution along with an increase in pay to offset this increase. The 2.6% increase in contribution and 2.5% pay increase only applies to non-higher education state employees such as employees of the Department of Transportation.
TWU employees and all state higher education agencies contribute to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) of Texas. The TRS contribution increase was .5% with a change from 6.7% to 7.2%. All references to retirement contributions to ERS can be disregarded.
To review FY 2016 benefits changes and to subscribe to the newsletter go to the ERS home page.
Please note there are often significant differences between State Higher Education Institutions and State Agencies. When subscribing to the newsletter select the News for Non-State Agency Employees.