Open Enrollment: October 22 through November 11
- starting or re-enrolling in flexible spending accounts (FSAs)
- changing from one medical or dental plan to another
- adding or deleting dependents to your medical, dental or vision plans
- cancelling medical or dental coverage
- adding or cancelling the Hyatt Legal services plan
Some benefits can be changed at any time, and many benefits can be changed when you have a qualifying "life event" status change (like having a baby, or getting married). Outside of those exceptions, Open Enrollment is the only time you can make changes to many of your major benefit programs:
These transactions must be completed on eTrac during the Open Enrollment period, and will take effect on January 1, 2013.
When you make a change that requires verification (such as adding a dependent), you will receive an email informing you of the type of documentation you need to submit to Benefits.
Deadline November 11, 2012
Benefits Fairs 2013
Visit the Benefits Fair on your campus to get answers to your questions. Benefits staff and representatives of many of the companies that provide benefit programs for the university will all be on hand, with lots of freebies, raffle prizes and refreshments.
University Park Campus
Health Sciences Campus
What's new for 2013?
Elimination of UnitedHealthcare HMO (formerly known as PacifiCare)
After careful consideration and evaluation, USC accepted the recommendation of the Employee Benefits Advisory Committee to eliminate the UnitedHealthcare HMO plan, effective January 1, 2013. This decision was driven by diminishing enrollment in the plan, the availability of the same network providers in both Anthem Blue Cross HMO and/or the USC Network Medical Plan, and similar benefits at lower monthly employee cost through another provider.
Those currently enrolled in the UnitedHealthcare HMO plan can expect to receive personalized communications in coming weeks, addressing transition questions and other plan options. If current UnitedHealthcare users do not select another medical plan, they will be defaulted into Anthem Blue Cross HMO.
Healthcare reform, rates, flexible spending changes and more
Medical premiums have risen more than in previous years due to growing medical and pharmaceutical costs, increasing utilization of more costly care, an aging population, and new mandated benefits under federal healthcare reform. However, although premiums are up again, your percentage of the premium (the employee percentage) remains the same. Dental and vision rates have also not been raised.
- Well-woman visits
- Gestational diabetes screening for pregnant women
- Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
- Contraceptive education and counseling
- Contraceptives (generic)
- Breastfeeding support/supplies/counseling
- HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older
- Sexually transmitted infections counseling
- HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women
Changes in all medical plans, resulting from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) signed by President Obama, will continue in 2013. These changes include the elimination of copays for the following women's preventive services (effective January 1, 2013):
The healthcare reform guidelines also place a lower cap on your healthcare Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contributions. In past years, you could set aside up to $5000 in pre-tax income for everyday health care costs like office visits, dental and vision care, prescriptions, etc. Due to PPACA, for plan years starting in 2013 (next year), you may only set aside up to $2500.
Please note that the limit is per employee, so if your spouse has an FSA he or she can also contribute up to $2500, even if you work for the same employer.
USC's FSA vendor, WageWorks, provides a free online calculator to help estimate your healthcare costs and how much you should elect to contribute, up to the $2500 limit.
Note that you can still set aside up to $5000 in your dependent care FSAthese changes only affect the healthcare FSAs.
Because the healthcare reform law will also require USC to default employees into medical care, a few changes regarding new employees will take effect in 2013. New hires now must enroll in benefits within 30 days (instead of 60)this mirrors the 30-day window offered current employees making benefit changes due to life events (status changes). New employees who do not elect medical and/or dental coverage within those 30 days will be defaulted into the USC Network Medical Plan and Delta Dental (employee only coverage). Employees represented by CNA and NUHW will be defaulted into Anthem HMO and Cigna Preventive.
Treatment for autism
Senate Bill (SB) 946 requires fully insured health plans in California to cover "behavioral health treatment" for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) when the services are medically necessary. It also requires health plans to maintain an adequate network of qualified autism service providers. ASD diagnoses include autistic disorder, Asperger's syndrome, and pervasive development disordernot otherwise specified.
SB 946 applies to Anthem Blue Cross HMO, Kaiser, and the medical plans offered to hospital employees covered by collective bargaining agreements. Under the law, plan participants can receive behavioral health treatment, which may include Applied Behavioral Analysis and other behavior intervention programs that are designed to help develop or restore functioning.
The USC Network Medical Plan is not subject to state-mandated benefits, but beginning January 1, 2013, that plan will cover medically-necessary rehabilitative therapy to complement the services already covered, including evaluation, assessment and medication management. Rehabilitative therapy will require pre-authorization.
New medical and dental services at UPC
If you're enrolled in the USC Network Medical Plan and work at UPC, access to a USC doctor will get easier in 2013 as the Keck Medical Center of USC opens its University Park location on the fourth floor of the new student health center at 1031 W. 34th Street. Appointments will continue to be available at Keck Medical Center's HSC, downtown and La Cañada locations. USC physicians offer a broad range of specialties including asthma/allergy, women's health, family medicine and general internal medicine. Visit their website to locate a USC Primary Care physician, or call them at (800) 872-2273.
USC's Oral Health Center will also be located in the new building, on the fourth floor right next to Keck Medical Center. Their number is (213) 740-2012.
Changes to retirement plan loan program
- Eligible participants will be permitted to have one outstanding loan at a time but there will be no limit on the number of loans a participant may initiate. A participant who has account balances in both the USC Retirement Savings Program and the USC Hospital 401(k) Plan will be permitted to take a loan from each, providing otherwise eligible.
- Participants who have two outstanding loans on January 1, 2013, will be grandfathered under the previous rules for the duration of the payment period for the two loans. However, a participant with two grandfathered loans will not be eligible to apply for another loan until all loans are paid off.
- There will be a seven day waiting period between the crediting of the final payment of one loan and the approval of the next loan. Paperwork submitted before the end of the seven day waiting period will be held by Benefits and processed at the end of the waiting period.
- A loan that has been deemed or defaulted after January 1, 2013 will be considered to be an outstanding loan and the participant will not be permitted to take another loan. Prudential suspends loan availability following any deemed or defaulted loan.
A number of changes are taking effect January 1.
New rules on hardship distributions from the retirement plan
Employees who take a distribution from their retirement plan due to a financial hardship will now have their contributions to all USC retirement plans suspended for six months, effective August 1, 2012. It is the employee's responsibility to reinstate their contributions at the end of the six month period.
- Tax deductible medical expense for immediate family that is not paid by insurance
(documentation: explanation of benefits and bill from provider)
- Purchase of principal residence
(documentation: signed purchase agreement and estimate of closing costs or escrow instructions)
- Tuition incurred during the next 12 months for post-secondary education for immediate family
(documentation: fee bill showing applied scholarships, financial aid and other payments)
- To prevent eviction or foreclosure on principal residence
(documentation: bank foreclosure notice or court-ordered unlawful detainer)
- To pay for burial or funeral expenses for immediate family member
(documentation: invoice from funeral home and death certificate)
- Expenses for the repair of damage to principal residence that would qualify for a casualty deduction
(documentation: insurance statement and invoice from service provider)
- by other distributions or loans from any retirement plan; the participant must have already exhausted all loan opportunities through the USC Plans,
- through reimbursement or compensation by insurance or otherwise,
- by reasonable liquidation of assets or those of the spouse or minor children, to the extent such liquidation would not itself cause an immediate and heavy financial need,
- borrowing from commercial source (e.g., a bank or credit union) on reasonable commercial terms
Under the provisions of the USC Retirement Savings Program and the USC Hospital 401(k) Retirement Plan, a plan participant who is employed by USC may apply for a hardship distribution from his/her retirement plan because of one of the following documented immediate and heavy financial needs:
The employee must provide specific and detailed documentation and certify that the need cannot be met:
The amount available for a hardship distribution is limited to employee contributions only, not earnings, and cannot exceed the amount needed to pay the documented expenses plus mandated withholding and penalties, if applicable. The distribution will be taxed as ordinary taxable income and an additional 10% IRS penalty will apply if the participant is under age 59½. Notarized spousal consent is required for distributions from the USC Retirement Savings Program.
Please contact Benefits at (213) 740-6027 or firstname.lastname@example.org (for USC Retirement Savings Program) or Retirement at (213) 821-8131 or email@example.com (for USC Hospital 401(k) Plan) before you begin the application process to make sure you understand the documentation that is required to approve your request.