Approximately every 10 years, the calendar falls such that bi-weekly staff receive 27 instead of 26 pays in a calendar year. This will occur in 2015. In December 2015, bi-weekly paid staff will receive a check on December 4, 18, and 31. The December 31 check will not have deductions for medical, dental, disability and other benefits, but will have deductions for payroll taxes, garnishments and retirement contributions.
Other End-of-Year Payroll Reminders
Review your status for Form W-2 distribution. If you opt-in to get your W-2 electronically, generally, you can access your information at least a week before the paper W-2s are mailed. You can check your status and opt-in for electronic distribution of your W-2 on the myAU portal > Work@AU > W-2 Electronic Consent.
Hiring paperwork and employee information changes effective for pay period January 1, 2016 must be submitted before the university closes. Coordinate with your department’s administration and Human Resources to ensure all necessary submissions are made.
If you have any questions or need more information, please contact the Payroll Office at 202-885-3520 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In early 2016, American University faculty and staff who were eligible for AU-sponsored medical coverage at any time in calendar year 2015 will receive a new tax form called the 1095-C.
Form 1095-C is required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and will be needed when you file your income taxes for 2015. Much like the Form W-2 is used to determine whether you owe taxes, the IRS will use the information reported from your Form 1095-C to determine whether you (or your employer) may have to pay a fine for failing to comply with the ACA.
Think of the form as your “proof of insurance” for the IRS. A blank form can be viewed here on the IRS website.
One section of the form identifies each individual covered under your medical plan (you and each covered family member) by Social Security number. To ensure that the information recorded on the form is accurate, if any of your family members are covered under an American University medical plan, please review their Social Security numbers and birthdates as they appear on the myBenefits site (click here to view instructions to review and change dependent information).
Prudential Insurance Selected as Insurance Carrier for Group Life and Disability Insurance Benefits
Prudential Insurance, an industry leader in the group life and disability insurance field, has been selected as the new carrier for the following university benefits:
Base life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance
Optional life insurance
Voluntary personal accident insurance
Long term disability (LTD)
Claims processing of short term disability (STD)
Administration of Federal and DC Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leaves
This change to Prudential follows a comprehensive study, bidding process, and rate negotiations. The study was initiated to identify an insurance carrier that would match our current benefits, improve service, and provide a competitive cost associated with these benefits for the university and its employees. Prudential provided the most competitive proposal, matching the 2015 optional life insurance, LTD, and personal accident insurance rates. These rates will remain in effect for three years.
The life and AD&D insurance benefits will transfer to Prudential effective January 1, 2016. If you added or increased your life insurance during open enrollment, you may be required to provide an Evidence of Insurability (EOI) form. If needed, you will be provided with Prudential's form.
The disability and FMLA leave benefits will transfer to Prudential in spring 2016. More information will be provided as we come closer to the effective date.
If you have questions about this or other university benefits, please contact the Human Resources Benefits Team on extension 3400 or via e-mail at myBenefits@american.edu.
PLEASE NOTE: On December 17, 2015, Payflex changed their website from healthhub.com to payflex.com. If you created a profile on healthhub.com, your user name and password are the same on payflex.com.
If you still have money in your 2015 Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), you can submit claims against your 2015 FSA balance for any eligible expenses you incur from January 1, 2015 through March 15, 2016.
Please note that FSA reimbursements are based on when the services were performed, not when the claim was paid. For example, a hospitalization during calendar year 2015 that was not paid until mid-2016 cannot be reimbursed under the 2016 FSA. This expense would be considered a 2015 FSA expense.
The deadline for submitting claims for 2015 is Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. You may submit your claims via fax or online.
To submit claims by fax:
Fax your claim form toll-free to PayFlex at (866) 932-2567. You also may visit the myBenefits site to obtain a claim form.
To submit claims electronically:
Please visit the PayFlex (HealthHub) website at payflex.com to submit your claims electronically. New payflex.com registrants should note that your Member ID is your Social Security number.
Please contact Human Resources at 202-885-2591 with any questions.
Important Information for AU CareFirst Participants
Please note the following important information about your Express Scripts prescription drug and CareFirst medical coverage for 2016.
Express Scripts Prescription Drug Benefit Changes
Changes to the Express Scripts Prescription Drug benefit include:
More drugs will require preauthorization.
Prescriptions will be reviewed for appropriate drug quantity to make sure that you are receiving the right amount of drugs to minimize waste.
A larger number of drug classes will be subject to step therapy.
Some drugs will be excluded from the formulary and not covered by the plan.
If you or your covered family member(s) are affected by these changes, you will be notified by Express Scripts. Please make sure to open all communications you receive from Express Scripts as it will provide you with instructions to find alternatives to your current drug treatment.
If you or your covered family member(s) are affected by a drug management program and do not take the appropriate actions, you will be responsible for the full cost of the prescription.
If you have questions regarding the information you receive, please call Express Scripts at 877-486-5984, Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Eastern Time.
The CareFirst plan will change on Jan. 1, 2016 to the CareFirst BlueChoice Advantage plan. Please note:
The group number and your ID number will change.
CareFirst will mail new ID cards to all AU 2016 CareFirst participants.
You should receive your new ID cards on or before Jan. 1.The front of the new ID card will have an icon of a suitcase with the letters "PPO,” indicating that the plan accepts BluePreferred PPO and BlueCard PPO providers.
Replace the ID cards that you are using currently with the newly issued CareFirst cards to use effective Jan. 1, 2016.
You also may access an electronic version of your ID card as of Jan. 1 by logging into your CareFirst account online or on your mobile device. Click here to view instructions to access your electronic CareFirst ID card.
Did You Know Preventive Check-ups Are Covered 100% Through Kaiser and CareFirst?
The human body is a complex machine and it needs regular preventive maintenance to keep it running optimally. By scheduling routine physicals with your doctor, you can address any health concerns, risk factors, and even screen for early detection of chronic diseases.
If you have medical coverage through AU, preventive check-ups are fully covered through CareFirst or Kaiser Permanente. Don’t wait until you have a serious condition – schedule your preventive check-up today.
For more information about your CareFirst or Kaiser coverage, visit the Medical section under Health and Life navigation in myBenefits.
Get Personalized Medical Care with PCMH Physician Support
If you or a dependent are covered under the AU CareFirst BlueChoice Advantage plan and are seeking a more comprehensive approach to your care, consider using a Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Primary Care Physician (PCP).
PCPs who participate in the PCMH program focus on improving your overall health and preventing health problems before they begin. PCMH doctors coordinate your care and access tools and resources to design custom treatment plans, directing you to the proper care centers and monitoring your health conditions closely with the help of a large network of specialized nurses. Coordinating your health care through a PCMH PCP may help avoid issues such as multiple tests or even possible drug interactions that may occur when communication with your PCP is inconsistent.
Participation in the PCMH program is voluntary and there is no additional cost to use a PCMH PCP. Just look for the PCMH symbol next to your doctor’s name or click the option to show PCMH participants when searching for a Primary Care Provider. The PCMH network is exclusive to Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia service area.
In response to members’ requests, CareFirst now offers online claims submission. Members now can submit non-participating, out-of-network medical and behavioral health claims through My Account on www.carefirst.com.
If you have submitted a claim in the last 12 months, CareFirst will be contacting you to let you know about this enhanced service. Benefits of submitting your claim online include:
Faster processing of claims than traditional mail
No delayed or denied claims due to unreadable paper forms
Immediate notification when a claim is received by CareFirst
Saves time and money – no need to spend time writing, stamping, and mailing claims
Convenience - members can take a photo and attach their receipts using their smartphone or tablet
The Rave Guardian App Improves Your Safety On and Off Campus
AU’s Public Safety department encourages all faculty, staff and students to download the Rave Guradian mobile app. Rave Guardian is a leading safety mobile phone app and can automatically deliver your critical profile data to participating 9-1-1 centers throughout the US.
Rave Guardian is free and relies on a trusted network of your friends and family, as well as the AU Campus police, to help ensure your safety. The app features a panic button to connect immediately with campus police, a confidential text option to report anonymous crime tips, and a safety timer that can be activated when traveling between locations. If your safety timer is not deactivated before it expires, campus police and your specified network of friends or family will be alerted to check on your status.
Once you download the RAVE Guardian mobile app*, you will need to select “I’m with a school” and enter your AU email address to create your username. You then will be prompted to create your profile. Your profile is secure and enables you to include any important information such as your schedule, usual route, medical issues, and any other details that may help police identify and check in on you in case of an emergency. You also will need to establish “guardians” friends or family members who will be informed of your profile information, previous route, and GPS location to help check on you. (If you are traveling off-campus, local police will assist AU Campus police in locating you.)
We would like to thank the more than 150 staff members who responded to our survey earlier in the semester about what programs/resources are working for staff and what they’d like to see us prioritize this year.
Many noted an appreciation for the social and service opportunities offered by Staff Council, and wanted further ways to get involved in issues affecting staff. Some of the main topics of concern related to parking, availability of telecommuting/flex, staff/faculty relationships, staffing and compensation, education benefits, and leave. We appreciate your input, and have made these concerns the focus of our advocacy efforts going into the year. Here are some of the action steps we’ve taken so far:
A summary of the concerns was provided in our report to the Board of Trustees in advance of their upcoming meeting, and we provided a detailed list of questions to the Parking Office. We have received a response from the Parking Office clarifying certain practices and policies and encourage you to visit Staff Council’s website for additional information.
We held an information forum as an opportunity for staff to connect with the Human Resources Benefits Team to review open enrollment and discuss any questions and concerns with the current benefits offered.
We are pursuing other forum opportunities related to the concerns raised so that staff have the opportunity to connect with administrators and human resources personnel.
We are connecting with the faculty senate to discuss ways to better collaborate and improve relationships between faculty and staff.
We kicked off the fall semester with our first Book and Media Swap, as well as a Personal Electronic Recycling Drive on October 14. We also hosted a Veteran’s breakfast in the Veteran’s lounge on November 11, and of course enjoyed seeing many of you at our fall reception on November 16. A special thanks to President Kerwin for his address to staff and his celebration of all of our efforts.
On November 19 and 20, Staff Council participated in the Board of Trustees meetings. We had representatives at the committee meetings for Academic Affairs, Alumni Affairs and Development, Athletics, and Campus Life, and Andrea Carpenter attended as chair of Staff Council.
We hold our open meetings every first and third Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. in MGC and welcome your participation. Also check us out at american.edu/staffcouncil where you can provide questions, comments, or other feedback.