Annual Benefits Enrollment

The 2015 Annual Benefits Enrollment period to make new elections begins on Monday, November 10th and concludes at midnight on Tuesday, November 25th.

See the 2015 Benefits Enrollment Guide for an overview of things to consider during this year’s enrollment.

You will make your benefit elections for 2015 online through the Garnet Gateway.  See the Online Annual Enrollment Tutorial for More Information.

There are links to more detailed information on your benefit plan options and frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding this years enrollment.

Quick Links:

2015 Annual Benefits Enrollment Highlights:

Effective January 1, 2015 Aetna will once again provide our medical and dental insurance plans. Medical options include:

  •  The Aetna PPO Plan is a traditional co-pay style medical plan with hospital services subject to a deductible and cost sharing similar to the Cigna Open Access Plus PPO Plan we have today.
  • Aetna Consumer Choice (HSA) Plan is a new plan that couples a high deductible health plan with a tax advantaged Health Savings Account.

You must make a medical plan election: As the medical plan options are changing, you are required to elect either the Aetna PPO Plan, the Aetna Consumer Choice (HSA) Plan during the online annual enrollment period or opt out of coverage if you are covered under another medical plan.

A Health Savings Account, or HSA for short, is a tax advantaged account that both Bates and you can contribute to and it is owned by you. You can use funds from your HSA to pay for current medical expenses (including dental and vision) for yourself and your tax dependents or save for future healthcare expenses.

Unlike our current Healthcare Reimbursement Account any contributions remaining in your HSA roll over from year to year and the account is yours when you leave Bates. PayFlex is Aetna’s partner in providing the Health Savings Account recordkeeping services. See Page 4 for more details.

New Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account: If you elect the Aetna Consumer Choice (HSA) Plan you will not be eligible to participate in the Healthcare Reimbursement Account. Instead you will be able to enroll in the new Limited Purpose Flexible Spending Account (LFSA). If you enroll in the Aetna PPO Plan you will still be eligible to participate in the regular Healthcare Reimbursement Account. See related story on Flexible Spending Account changes on Page 4.

 Individual Benefit Enrollment Counseling Sessions: The decision of whether the Aetna PPO Plan or the Aetna Consumer Choice (HSA) Plan is better fit for you is an important one. We recognize that everyone has a different set of circumstances and we want to give you the resources you need to make an informed choice. Counselors from Better Benefits ME will be available on campus for individual counseling sessions.

The Health Insurance Contribution Credit has been modified for 2015. The Aetna Consumer Choice (HSA) Plan payroll contributions for 2015 are a reduction from both the Open Access Plus (PPO) and Open Access Plus in-network only (HMO) plans in effect in 2014. A Health Insurance Contribution Credit will only be available to those employees who would have an increase in contributions by choosing the Aetna PPO Plan.

Dental Insurance: There is no change in plan design or payroll contribution rates for the dental plan offered through Aetna.

 Long-term Disability (LTD) and Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Carrier is changing to Prudential: All current coverage and beneficiary designations you currently have will transfer from UNUM to Prudential. All supplemental Life and AD&D rates remain unchanged. Under Prudential you may elect $20,000 of dependent life insurance without having to submit a health questionnaire on your children (Unum previously required a health questionnaire for coverage in excess of $15,000). All other coverage limits remain the same.

 New Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Our EAP program will now be administered through ComPsych. You may set up a personalized web account at and save articles and information in a personalized Lifebook. You will still have the same 6 free face-to-face counseling sessions available to you and those who are significant in your life. You may also speak with a telephone counselor 24/7 by calling 1-800-311-4327.

Online enrollment will feature email notifications as well as online ability to apply for the Health Insurance Contribution Credit or Higher Dependent Care Subsidy Amounts.