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HR Seeks Input on Health Benefits, CareFirst, Kaiser Enhance Plans

You cast your vote on Election Day, and once again, it’s time to make your voice heard.

AU wants your opinion as it reviews its medical plans in order to better tailor benefits to your needs.

Human Resources has invited all faculty and staff to participate in an anonymous online survey, the answers to which will help the university determine which benefits to modify or add, and how best to incorporate wellness programs. The survey takes about 25 minutes to complete and may be accessed until Nov. 14. All faculty and staff were e-mailed a link to the survey and a password on Nov. 4.

Last week, AU also announced several new services offered in the CareFirst and Kaiser health plans, beginning Jan. 1, 2009:

  • acupuncture
  • chiropractic services
  • hearing aids
  • infertility (IVF)
  • out-of-network contraceptive devices (already covered through Kaiser)
  • psychological testing (already covered through Kaiser)
  • sexual reassignment (not available through Kaiser)
  • travel inoculations (not available through Kaiser)

CareFirst members will see only a 1.6 percent increase for the eight additional services.
Initially, as a result of AU’s superior performance in 2008, CareFirst offered its AU subscribers no increase for the second consecutive year, while maintaining all benefits.

However, AU’s Benefits Advisory Project Team saw this as an opportunity to expand and enhance the services available to faculty and staff. The new benefits will only cost employees an extra 28-cents to $5.84 per month.

Based on the university’s 2008 group plan performance, Kaiser levied a 7 percent increase on AU members. The HMO also passed on a 2.2 percent increase related to D.C. business tax, for a total increase of 9.2 percent in plan premiums. In order to offset the increase, which amounts to $1.43 to $29.21 per month for employees, AU negotiated four new features, frequently requested by the university’s Kaiser subscribers.

For detailed rates, log on to the my.american.edu portal, click on “employment” and “2009 benefits.” This is also where you should go to make changes to your benefits plan. Open enrollment runs through Nov. 21, and all changes will become effective Jan. 1, 2009.
For more information, contact Human Resources at 885-2591.