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2008-2009 Health Insurance Information Now Online

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
October 1, 2008

The new medical and dental rates that go into effect Jan. 1, 2009, are now available online, providing employees with the opportunity to review the costs before open enrollment begins Oct. 27.

It is during open enrollment that employees can switch health care plans or opt into or out of coverage. Previously, staff members who elected not to be insured through UNH received $ 550; in 2009, that figure rises to $800 for eligible employees.

Also new for 2009 is an enhancement to the dental plan options that will allow enrollees who spend less than $500 a year to accumulate up to $250 in additional annual benefit amounts that can be carried over to the next year.

“It’s all part of the strategy to contain the benefits costs and maintain competitive benefits,” says Sharon Demers, assistant vice president of human resources. “The university and USNH are continually looking for ways to provide incentives for improving and maintaining good personal health, as well as methods to contain and/or mitigate increases in health care costs.”

And, as of Jan. 1, 2009, all eligible employees will  receive an annual contribution of  $500 in a health reimbursement account (HRA). The HRA can be used to pay for qualified health care expenses and any unused balance can be rolled over into the next year. 

“There will be sessions during the Benefits and Wellness Fair where employees can talk about how best to utilize their benefits,” Demers says. “People should attend to get their questions answered. We will have people there to answer questions about the HRA.”

In 2008, Harvard Pilgrim increased its rates for the USNH medical plan by 13.64 percent. Rather than increase the employee percentage of contribution in 2008, a one-time annual surcharge was implemented based on a person’s plan ($26, individual; $52, two-person; $78, family).

Staff contributions to the point of service plan have risen from 14 to16 percent for an individual plan; 19 to 21 percent for a two-person plan, and 21 to 23 percent for a family plan, amounting to a two percent increase for employees in 2009.

HMO rates are 8 to 10 percent for an individual, 12 to 14 percent for the two-person plan and 16 to 18 percent for the family plan.

Details will be mailed to staff and will also be available at the Benefits and Wellness Fair on Oct. 28. Information on 2009 rates can be found at http://www.usnh.edu/hr/benefits/2009-openenrollment/ratesheets.html.   

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