Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting

Monday, December 5, 2011 8:25 – 9:55 AM


Present:   Bettina Cothran (Chair), Amy Heron, Debbie Lee, Dave Millard, Stella Richardson,         

                 Barry Sharp, Teresa Snow, Wayne Book (retiree rep), Darlene Wright (Dir. Benefits) & Kim

                 Watkins (Benefits Manager).


Absent:   Tommy Little & Amy Laviers (student  rep.)





Committee was informed that Richard Dagenhart has retired and will not be on the FBC for spring.


Minutes from 10/31/11 were reviewed and approved.


Follow-up on Crime Alerts

There was a brief discussion and follow-up on crime incidents reported through automated crime alert system at GT--GT is actually lower than many universities in terms of crime.  Much of what is occurring at this time is off campus and under the jurisdiction of the Atlanta Police Department.  The APD is stepping up patrols of the area in response.


Darlene Wright:  2011 Open Enrollment Update


Open enrollment ended on 11/18.  The benefits team conducted 60 information meetings across campus.  Overall there was a 65% employee participation rate.


Currently OHR is updating forms and working on file integration to ensure employees get policy cards by the end of the year.  Retiree enrollment is still a manual process which takes some additional time.


Biggest issue was BOR change in benefits eligibility.  Out of the 170 current part time employees, 103 were moving to a higher percent to become benefits eligible.  Remainder could not for various reasons.


Action Item—Darlene Wright will report shift in plans at next meeting.  Data was not available yet.


Darlene Wright:  Benefits for New Hires

New hire benefits coverage changes next year.  The BOR will allow faculty benefits to start on date of hire.  For all others, benefits will start on 1st of the month following date of hire.


Darlene Wright:  Long Term Care Update

The Long Term care plan will no longer allow new enrollment after Jan 1st.  The government bond that funds plan has experienced a drop in return and the program is no longer financially viable.  It is unlikely that another plan will become available.  OHR will communicate information with the campus soon. 


Darlene Wright:  HMO Update

Darlene Wright met with USG contact.  Future of HMO is very uncertain.  GT has a little over 3000 enrolled.  The long term plan is to maintain PPO and HSA PPO.


Darlene Wright:  Child Care Update

Second childcare center has been approved and funded.  Center will be housed in the graduate student complex.

In addition, Darlene Wright is continuing to explore new initiatives such as getting discounts for GT employees at various childcare centers in Atlanta.


Action Item—Darlene Wright will provide further updates in January.


Darlene Wright: Hearing Aids Update

Darlene Wright spoke to USG contact.  Currently there are no plans to offer hearing aid benefits. 

Discounts are available through BC/BS of Ga.  There are links on their website to access hearing aid discounts.  Currently, the benefits office is still trying to verify with Kaiser whether they offer discounts.


Action Item—Darlene Wright will check with Kaiser and provide an update at next meeting.


Darlene Wright: Flexible Spending Account Update

FSA may change in 2013.  It is likely that allowable amounts will decrease due to healthcare reform.


Action Item—Further updates will be provided as they become available.


Kim Watkins:  Overview of Retiree Benefits 

Employees should reach out to department or OHR when getting ready to retire.  OHR wants to see employee 45 days or more before they retire in order to go over benefits. 

TRS employees:

Benefits outside of USG moves to direct billing.

Retiree should previously have met with TRS to discuss what pension option they want.  OHR needs account number for healthcare premium withdrawal (note:  during the first month, they will have two deductions).

If the retiree is 65 years of age or older, they should contact SSA and enroll in Medicare parts A & B.

Active employee and spouses who are covered under GT medical plan do not need to enroll in Medicare until they retire and begin drawing social security.

GT employees with at least 10 years of service and age 60 or over can carry health benefits with them.


ORP employees:

Should have same discussions with benefits office.  However, the employee deals directly with their vendor with respect to their retirement account.


Other Key Points:

Survivor benefits: for retiree spouses are available for spouse until they remarry


Important Retiree Medicare Information from BOR Website

“In retirement, Medicare becomes primary and the insurance through the University becomes secondary. If you do not enroll in Medicare Part B and continue to use your insurance through the University as your primary insurance in retirement, you will be responsible for paying a surcharge equal to the full cost of the medical premium.”

Note:  In addition, Medicare may assess a 10% penalty (currently you have 8 months from time you retire or lose eligibility at GT to enroll w/o penalty).



Dave Millard made the comment that some physicians will not deal with Medicare.

Kim Watkins stated that typically HMO’s do not coordinate with Medicare, including BlueChoice.

Kaiser does coordinate through the senior advantage program and will file all claims for employee.  The plan participant only has to worry about HMO deductible.


If doctors are not under plan, then the participant would need to switch to PPO.  Also, if person moved outside of Georgia, we would recommend the PPO. 


In the event you see a doctor that does not accept Medicare, then the GT plan becomes primary insurance.


Retirees can keep medical benefits for as long as they live.  However, if they drop out of plan for any reason, they can no longer participate.


In addition, Medicare bases your premium.  Off of last year’s taxes.  After you retire and your income goes down, you can resubmit documentation and the premium will go down.  There is a booklet on GT website outlining rates.


Retiree Seminars will be held in the spring in April.  There will be separate seminars for TRS and ORP employees.


Other Business:


Walgreens will no longer be participating in ExpressScripts prescription drug plan.  Plan participants will need to move their prescriptions elsewhere.  OHR will communicate with employees.


Fidelity is changing some accounts.  It is the same fund—just a lower expense ratio.




Upcoming FBC meetings for Spring 2012 Semester


February 27th

April 9th


Meetings will occur in the OHR Conference Rm (220) unless otherwise noted.