Monday, November 23, 2009

Benefits updates

Dependent Verification Project Update
The Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB) program recently mailed 81,000 letters to employees who had dependents enrolled under their account as of Sept. 1, 2009. The letter requested verification of dependent eligibility for PEBB benefits. If you received a letter, please respond by Nov. 30, 2009. If you didn’t receive a letter and think you should have because you had dependents on your account Sept. 1 or if you overlooked or lost it, you can expect another letter late in December reminding you of the need to provide verification. PEBB will contact you by mail before taking any action related to your dependents and their coverage.

You can find more information about the dependent verification process on PEBB's website at by selecting "Verify My Family Members."

Flexible Spending Accounts
Most of us will be experiencing higher out-of-pocket costs for our health care in 2010 through higher copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. That makes this a good year to contribute to your own Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Your peers who use the FSA contribute pre-tax dollars from their paychecks into an account held in their name for them to pay for family health-related expenses. You won’t pay taxes on these dollars, so they will go considerably further in paying copays, deductibles, prescriptions, crowns, glasses, naturopaths, and hundreds of other common medical expenses for yourself and your IRS-qualified dependents. And, you can tap the full amount you plan to set aside for 2010 at the beginning of the year so it’s a great way to pay an expense early in the year while spreading the payments over the whole year.

One caution – federal regulations require unspent funds from these accounts to be forfeited if you don’t use them up during the year. To help you avoid this, you will receive a letter late each year alerting you to any unspent money in your account and reminding you that you have until March 15 to use FSA funds from the previous year.

Go to to learn more.

Open enrollment information regarding the Certificates of Coverage (COC) for various medical plans is below. Aetna has made a significant change in its COC.

Open Enrollment News
1. What is a COC? Each health plan develops a COC which includes details of what that plan offers and provides. It is essentially their commitment and contract with you. While the plans are not required to provide their COCs until December, Aetna, UMP, UDP, and DeltaCare have completed their 2010 COCs and posted them on their respective websites.

2. Aetna Public Employee Plan members. Aetna has just announced that the University of Washington provider groups and hospitals will no longer be Aetna providers in 2010. Watch your mailbox for letters from Aetna and take advantage of this open enrollment season to make any changes warranted by this news.

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