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Human Resources Newsletter - November 2015

Open Enrollment November 2-23. Make your 2016 benefit elections on myBenefits. Make FSA elections each year.

Open Enrollment Starts November 2

AU’s 2016 Open Enrollment begins on Monday, Nov. 2, and closes on Monday, Nov. 23. Open enrollment is the one time each year that you can add or make changes to your benefit elections without a qualifying life event. Make your benefit elections for:

  • Medical & prescription
  • Dental
  • Optional life insurance
  • Voluntary personal accident insurance
  • Legal plan
  • Flexible spending accounts
    Unlike your other benefits, health care and dependent care flexible spending account elections do not carry over and must be actively elected each year.

Rates for 2016

  • CareFirst premiums will increase by 5.2 percent, which increases monthly premiums between $6 - $29, depending on your level of coverage.
  • Kaiser premiums will increase by 2.4 percent, which increases monthly premiums between $2 - $12, depending on your level of coverage.
  • Delta Dental premiums will increase by 3.0 percent, which increases monthly premiums between $1 - $3, depending on your plan and level of coverage.
  • The life, disability, and voluntary benefit plan costs will remain the same as 2015.

CareFirst Plan Enhancements and Changes

  • We are making an enhancement to the CareFirst medical plan. The plan will change to the BlueChoice Advantage plan, which adds local and nationwide PPO providers to our in-network benefits. As a result of this enhancement, participants will no longer need to register for the Away from Home program for dependents living outside the local area.
  • To minimize the impact resulting from increasing prescription drug costs, we will be moving to Express Scripts’ national formulary, and will be adding more prescription drug management in which a number of prescribed medications will require preauthorization, drug quantity management, and/or step therapy.

New for 2016 – LifeSecure® Long Term Care Insurance and Expanded Services through Bright Horizons®

  • We are pleased to offer a new, long-term care insurance to faculty, staff, retirees, and their spouses and domestic partners. This voluntary benefit is underwritten by LifeSecure®, a subsidiary of Blue Cross of Michigan. Faculty and staff who apply during the initial eligibility enrollment period, as well as new hires in their first 30 days of employment, will receive simplified underwriting.
  • Two years ago, we began offering emergency child and eldercare services through Bright Horizons®. In 2016, we will expand the Bright Horizons program to include referral services and discounts for non-emergency child care, elder care, pet sitting, tutoring, and housekeeping services.

Open Enrollment Events & Resources

  • 2016 Open Enrollment Benefits and Wellness Fair
    Activities and representatives from insurance carriers, wellness vendors, and the HR staff. If you wish, you can complete your 2016 open enrollment benefit elections at the Fair; HR staff will be onsite with computers to assist you.

    Thursday, Nov. 5
    Mary Graydon Center Rooms 2-5
    9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Financial Education Sessions presented by Fidelity and TIAA-CREF

    Thursday, Nov. 5
    Mary Graydon Center, WCL, and 4401 Connecticut Avenue
    Visit for session information; register on AsuccessfulU.
  • Online Benefits Enrollment from November 2 through November 23

In compliance with the ACA, if you choose to waive medical coverage, we request that you actively affirm that you are waiving coverage on the myBenefits open enrollment site.

During open enrollment, be sure to use the myBenefits site to take a fresh look at your benefit needs for the year ahead and to review your beneficiary designation for the life insurance coverage.

If you have questions or need assistance, email or call 202-885-3400. Check your mail box as the 2016 Know Your Benefits Enrollment Guide was distributed via campus mail early this week. You can also access the guide at any time during the year on the myBenefits site.

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AhealthyU Calendar

Brown Bag Wellness Workshops

  • Decompress Your Stress
    Tue, Nov 3 | 12 - 1 | MGC 200
  • The Truth about Sweeteners, Sugar Replacers, and Sodium
    Wed, Dec 2 | 12 - 1 | MGC 247

Cooking Demonstrations

All Cooking Demos
12:00pm –1:00pm | MGC 2 –3

  • Vegan Thanksgiving Sides
    Fri, Nov 20
  • Felices Fiestas: Spice Up Your Holiday Leftovers
    Fri, Dec 4

Farmers Market

Through Nov 18

Wed | 11am – 4pm | On the Quad

From the Farmer

Tue Afternoons
MGC, WCL, & 3201 New Mexico Ave. 

Group Exercise Classes for Faculty & Staff 

Aug 31 - Dec 4 | Mon - Fri

  • No cost for all AU Rec Sports members, or
  • $5 per class for non-members

Classes include:

  • Cardio Strength
  • Pilates
  • Spin
  • Tai chi
  • Total Body
  • Yoga

Seated Massage
Appointments must be booked in advance.

  • Tue, Nov 17 | 11am – 2pm | 4401 Connecticut Ave., LL Conf. Rm.
  • Wed, Dec 9 | 12pm – 3:30pm| MGC 330N

Weight Watchers®

Join anytime and start attending weekly meetings.

  • Thu | 12pm | MGC 330-N

HR Newsletter Archives

Read past issues of the Human Resources Newsletter

How to Contact Us

Human Resources
(202) 885-2591

PMP and AsuccessfulU Questions?

Do you have a question about the revamped PMP? Having trouble finding or logging in to set up your goals in AsuccessfulU? Email and a member of the HR team will help you.

Follow us on Twitter @AUemployees


New Long Term Care Insurance Program for 2016

Living a long life is becoming commonplace in the United States and planning for it has now become a necessity. Thinking about needing extended health care in the future can be uncomfortable and often gets postponed as an issue to address later in retirement. However, waiting is expensive and may offer fewer planning options. 

You may know of someone who has put aside their career or personal life to provide care for a family member who experienced dementia or a chronic illness. Consider what may happen to those you love if you ever need care over a period of years. Long term care insurance provides a way to mitigate the consequences to families and finances by providing dollars when care is required and concierge services are needed – at home, an adult day care center, an assisted living facility, nursing home, or hospice care facility.  

The Office of Human Resources is pleased to announce new voluntary, Long Term Care (LTC) insurance coverage underwritten by LifeSecure, beginning Nov. 2. The LifeSecure program is flexible, simple, and affordable, and available to full-time faculty and staff. LifeSecure is offering a one-time, simplified underwriting initial eligibility enrollment period of Nov. 2, 2015 – Jan. 31, 2016. The simplified underwriting also is available to spouses/domestic partners who work outside the home as a W-2 employee, and are between the ages of 18-65. 

If you miss the initial eligibility enrollment period, you still can apply at any time but you will be subject to full underwriting requirements. However, all AU LTC applicants will receive:

  • Unisex pricing
  • If you and your spouse/partner both apply and are accepted, you will receive a 30 percent premium discount to each policy.

Detailed benefit descriptions and FAQs are posted on the American University benefits website. Faculty and staff may visit the LifeSecure web portal:, select “Worksites and Associations” in the Login drop down menu, and enter group number 01399V to get more information, a customized quote, and even apply for coverage along with their spouse/partner.

Visit The Meltzer Group/LifeSecure table at the Benefits and Wellness Fair on Nov. 5 or register on AsuccessfulU for one of the LTC Lunch ‘n Learns listed below:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 11, 12 – 1 p.m., MGC 203 – 205
  • Tuesday, Nov. 17, 12 – 1 p.m., 4401 Connecticut Avenue, Lower Level Community Room
  • Thursday, Dec. 3, 12 - 1 p.m., WCL 500

You also may contact, or call 877-509-4099.

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2016 Enhanced Dependent Care/Family Services and Resources

BeneficiariesTwo years ago, we began offering emergency child and eldercare services through Bright Horizons®. In 2016, we are expanding the Bright Horizons program to include referral services and discounts for non-emergency child care, elder care, pet sitting, tutoring, and housekeeping services.

NEW FOR 2016

  • Nannies, Elder Care, Pet Care, and More
    As part of the new, expanded benefits, American University faculty and staff will have subsidized access to a database of nannies and sitters for full-time or part-time care, elder caregivers, pet sitters, and housekeepers.
  • Senior Care Planning Resources
    The Bright Horizons web-based research platform assesses your senior care needs. Or you can use their personal assessment partners at a discounted rate.
  • Test Prep and Tutoring Services
    Referral service for private and small group tutoring for SATs/ACTs, standardized tests, common core subjects, and general help for students.
  • Deals and Discounts at Child Care Centers
    Preferred enrollment at Bright Horizons centers and tuition discounts nationwide at participating child care centers.

Visit the Bright Horizons table at the Benefits and Wellness Fair on Thursday, Nov. 5 at MGC 2-5. Or view the video about the Bright Horizons services available to AU faculty and staff.

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BeneficiariesCheck Your Beneficiary Designations During Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is a great time to check your beneficiaries. It's important to review beneficiary designations regularly and whenever you experience life changes – such as marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, or birth of children or grandchildren. Events in life happen and you may not realize that you have forgotten to update your beneficiary information. 

Named beneficiaries on insurance policies and retirement accounts generally supersede instructions in wills, which is why it is important to keep your beneficiary designations up-to-date. 

To check or update your life insurance beneficiaries in myBenefits:

  1. Log on to the myAU portal (
  2. Select Benefits (myBenefits) under the Work@AU navigation.
  3. Click on the “View your current benefit details and beneficiaries” button.
  4. Click on the “Benefits” link.
  5. Click “View Details” of the Life and Personal Accident Insurance Plans
  6. Click the “View/Edit Information” button at the bottom of the plan information.
  7. View your beneficiaries and edit them as appropriate.
  8. Click the “Next” button. 9. Click the “Save” button at the bottom of the page.

To review and update your beneficiaries with Fidelity and/or TIAA-CREF, download the instruction sheet to Check Your Beneficiaries. For additional assistance, contact Human Resources at x2591.

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Learn How You Learn

Ever wonder how you comprehend and process information? To take a quick inventory of your learning style(s), be sure to stop by the Workplace Learning and Development (WLD) table at the Benefits Fair on Thursday, Nov. 5.  

The answer to why you do better in some areas and subjects than in others may depend on your individual learning style. Your learning style influences the way you understand information and solve problems. Everyone processes and learns new information in different ways. 

There are three main cognitive learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (tactile). Many people use a combination of learning styles, while others learn best by using just one. The common characteristics of each learning style can offer insight into how you learn and what methods of learning fit you best. Each preferred learning style has methods that fit the different ways an individual may learn best.  

Visual Learners

  • Use visual objects such as graphs, charts, pictures, PowerPoint presentations
  • Read body language well and have a good perception of aesthetics
  • Memorize and recall various information
  • Tend to remember things that are written down
  • Learn better in lectures by watching them
Auditory Learners
  • Retain information through hearing and speaking (lectures and discussions)
  • Often prefer to be told how to do things and then summarize the main points out loud to help with memorization
  • Notice different aspects of speaking
  • Often have talents in music and may concentrate better with soft music playing in the background
Kinesthetic Learners
  • Like to use the hands-on approach to learn new material (exercises, role plays, and case studies)
  • Generally good in math and science
  • Would rather demonstrate how to do something than explain it verbally
  • Usually prefer group work more than other methods

Everyone has a mix of learning styles. Some people may find that they have a dominant style of learning, with far less use of other styles. Others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances. There is no right mix. Learning styles also are not fixed. You can develop abilities in less dominant styles, as well as develop styles that you use well already.

As you attend WLD classes, be sure to realize that the courses are designed to meet the needs of all learning styles to maximize the transfer of what you learn to the context of your job.

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Gordon Family 2015, Inset Sue & Keith Gordon, 2013

AhealthyU Success Story - Sue Gordon

“If it weren't for AhealthyU providing resources and a university culture that supports wellness, I may not have been motivated to achieve and maintain my weight loss goal. Thanks, AhealthyU!” states Sue Gordon, Director of Career Development in the Career Center.

During a holiday-season family trip to Costa Rica in 2014, Gordon realized that between her gradual weight gain and suffering from “Empty Nest Syndrome” after her children moved out, she felt an overall sense of gloom. “Alarm bells were set off in my head and I decided that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and make some fundamental changes in my life.”

Since then Gordon has lost nearly 30 pounds with the help of Weight Watchers®, exercise, and a sense of determination to feel better and healthier. She said, “Joining Weight Watchers allowed me to monitor what I ate, and their weekly meetings offered support and helped me stay motivated. I also participated in a number of AhealthyU-sponsored programs like the Pedometer Challenge and their 'Total Body' and 'Light Spin' fitness classes. My purchase of a Fitbit® – which I got about three months into my weight loss process – proved to be an additional bit of motivation since my every move was being tracked."

Gordon’s dedication, hard work, and change in lifestyle have shown lasting results, as she’s managed to maintain her target weight now for more than six months. To continue her success, Gordon said, “I still monitor what I eat and use the Weight Watchers tracker periodically. I exercise regularly – running, biking, walking, and AhealthyU’s exercise classes. I also now bring my lunch to work – typically a salad with a protein – as it not only helps me to lose and maintain weight, but also save money.”

Discussing the benefits of her lifestyle changes, Gordon said, “I feel so much better now. I have so much energy. Most mornings I get up and either run or walk with my two puppies. Previously, I rolled over and hit the snooze button repeatedly. My success has also motivated my husband, and we now go for walks and runs together. The best part of all this that my old clothes no longer fit, and I’ve had to revamp my entire wardrobe.”

If you are considering taking advantage of any of the healthy-living resources offered by AHealthyU, Gordon said, “From Weight Watchers to the Pedometer Challenge, if you participate, you will get healthier. It’s just all about commitment to changing your behavior.”  

Weight Watchers at Work is getting ready to kick-off their next session at AU. Weekly meeting are on Thursdays at noon in MGC 330-N. Visit for more information.

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AhealthyU Financial Wellness

Financial Wellness Seminars

Register now for the Financial Wellness Seminars presented by Fidelity and TIAA-CREF. 

Sessions will be held on Thursday, November 5th in MGC 245, 4401 Connecticut Avenue, and WCL.  

Topics include: 

  • Building a Portfolio for Any Weather
    9:30am | 4401 Connecticut Ave, Room 102
  • Tomorrow in Focus: Saving for Your Ideal Retirement
    10am | MGC 245
  • Designing Your Financial Roadmap
    1pm | MGC 245
  • Money at Work 1: Foundations of Investing
    1:30pm | WCL, Room 103

Sessions are open to all faculty and staff. You do not have to be a TIAA-CREF or Fidelity participant to attend. Visit AsuccessfulU to register. For more information, visit

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The Staff Council Fall Reception will be held on Nov. 16 in MGC 2-5 from 1:30 - 3:30

Staff Council Update

This past summer, Staff Council welcomed a new group of representatives. Together with veteran members, the group has been making plans for activities and events for the year ahead.

The 2015 Staff Council Fall Reception will be held on Monday, November 16, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. in MGC 2-5. Come and see what Staff Council is working on, visit staff-related resource tables, enjoy desserts, enter the raffle and mingle with colleagues from across the university. President Kerwin is scheduled to speak at 2:00 p.m. RSVP to attend the Fall Reception.

Staff Council meetings take place the first and third Tuesday of every month from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in MGC 245. All staff are welcome to attend and may submit topics for discussion. If you have a particular idea for events or service opportunities, submit them using the Staff Council contact form.

To view the list of all current Staff Council members and to find out their constituencies and committees, click here. Staff Council can be followed on facebook, or visit their website.

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This Summer Dive into Workplace Learning and Development's Professional Development Courses.

WLD November Training Calendar

Register for the instructor led courses listed below by logging into AsuccessfulU, AU's online training registration system via the portal. 

How to Access the Learning Module in AsuccessfulU:

  • Click here to access AsuccessfulU’s portal page.
  • Click the "Go to AsuccessfulU" button in the middle of the page.
  • From the "Home" tab on the top left of the page click on "Learning" from the drop down menu.
  • This will launch your personal profile in the “Learning” tab. You can search and register for training sessions here.
Wed, Nov 11
1 - 5 p.m.
Working as a High Performance Team
Thu, Nov 12
9 a.m. –5 p.m. People Management Basics
Wed, Nov 18
9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Leadership: Creating the Climate for Innovation
Thu, Nov 19
12 - 5 p.m.
Giving and Receiving Ideas
Fri, Nov 20
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Generations in the Workplace

Please contact the Workplace Learning and Development team at with any questions.

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Workplace Learning and Development

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