The annual Open Enrollment period at Rensselaer is an important time for Rensselaer employees to review their current benefits, assess coverage needs, and make changes to benefit plan elections, for both you and your dependents. The Open Enrollment period is Nov. 14-28. To kick things off, the Division of Human Resources will host the annual Benefits Fair and Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day event on Friday, November 14, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the East Campus Athletic Village.
Even if you are satisfied with your current health plan, it is important for you to take the time to understand what plans are right for you and your family. Doing so may help you to save some money. We encourage everyone to compare your existing coverage, premiums, and out-of-pocket costs. Here are some tips for reviewing your health coverage:
• Look for the “What’s New in Benefits in 2015” memo that will provide an overview of plan changes.
• List your expenses. These will vary from year to year, but what you have spent over the course of the last 12 months may be a good predictor of what you will spend the next calendar year. Do not forget to include medical co-payments and deductibles, as well as dental, vision, and prescription drug expenses.
• Re-evaluate your coverage to account for life changes. For example, marriage, the birth or adoption of a child, or retirement are events that should trigger a thorough review of your health coverage.
In addition, consider all out-of-pocket costs, not just the premium you pay. Compare your coverage to your spouse’s to see if he or she is eligible for employer-sponsored health insurance. Some questions to reflect on include: will you come out ahead if you switch to your spouse’s plan? If you have dependent children, which plan best suits their needs?
Employees may also opt to offset health-care costs by contributing pre-tax dollars to a health flexible spending account (FSA), or to reduce child-care expenses by contributing to a dependent-care FSA. The money that is contributed is not subject to federal income and Social Security taxes (nor generally to state and local income taxes). The tax-free dollars can also be used to pay for health-care costs not covered by insurance or for dependent-care expenses.
Rensselaer’s Total Compensation Program continues to be instrumental in ensuring stable employment and stable pay growth for our faculty and staff. Rensselaer is recognized locally and nationally for the depth and breadth of its compensation and benefits programs. We offer core benefits such as medical and dental insurance, retirement programs, tuition reimbursement; and additional services such as travel accident insurance, adoption assistance, and the Pinch Hitter Elder & Child Care Program.
Overall, our goal is to continue to provide you and your eligible family members with an affordable and comprehensive benefits package while managing escalating health-care and prescription costs.
Curtis Powell, SPHR
Vice President for Human Resources