2021 Benefits Preview for Faculty and Staff

Open enrollment runs Oct. 5-23.

September 23, 2020

GW Open Enrollment

Faculty and staff will have the opportunity to change benefits elections during the annual open enrollment period, which this year runs from Oct. 5 through Oct. 23. Most changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

All benefits-eligible faculty and staff received information on the 2021 benefits enhancements and changes by email on Monday. The information also is available online.

Open enrollment offers faculty and staff the chance to explore the health and wellness benefits that GW offers, including well-being programs such as Headspace and Real Appeal.

“This is the annual opportunity to ensure your benefits continue to support your needs and goals for the upcoming year,” said Jennifer Lopez, associate vice president of Total Rewards. “We are pleased to share that there will not be any major changes to your benefits programs for 2021.”

The open enrollment period will end at 8 p.m. Eastern on Oct. 23.

Health care

The university will continue to offer the GW PPO and the GW Health Savings Plan (HSP), administered by UnitedHealthcare, and there are no changes to salary bands for medical plan contributions.

GW has made an additional investment in the medical plan subsidy for 2021 to offset the total plan costs. As a result, full-time faculty and staff will experience a nominal increase of 1.5 percent in their contributions across all salary bands and plans.

Approximately 75 percent of full-time faculty and staff medical plan participants will see an average increase of less than $5 per month. The monthly employee contribution increase will range from less than $1 to about $12, depending on an employee’s plan, coverage level and salary band.

New Medical Faculty Associates benefit coverage tier

Beginning in 2021, the university will offer a new benefit coverage tier for Medical Faculty Associates (MFA) provider services. The new benefit coverage tier for the GW PPO and HSP medical plans will provide lower copayments and lower employee coinsurance for plan participants who use MFA providers.

In 2021, Aetna Dental plan participants will see increases ranging from $1 to $6 per month, depending on the plan and coverage level elected.

Tax-advantaged accounts
The annual maximum for health savings account (HSA) contributions will increase by $50 for individual coverage and $100 for family coverage.

The GW match for the HSA continues: GW will match dollar for dollar up to $600 for those enrolled for employee-only coverage and $1,200 for those covering dependents under the GW Health Savings Plan.

Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) contribution limits also will increase by $50. There will be no changes to the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA) limit.

Life and AD&D insurance
Guaranteed issue (GI) amounts for optional life insurance will be enhanced for 2021.  GI is the amount of life insurance available to an employee without having to provide evidence of insurability (EOI), or proof of good health. In 2021, the optional employee life insurance GI amount for eligible employees is increasing from $250,000 to $500,000. The GI amount for optional spouse life insurance is increasing from $30,000 to $50,000.

During open enrollment, employees who have optional employee life insurance coverage below $250,000, or are not yet enrolled, can elect up to an additional $250,000 of coverage without EOI. Employees with $250,000 or more in optional employee life insurance can increase their coverage up to the new GI of $500,000 without EOI.

Increased optional life/AD&D maximums
In 2021, the maximum amounts available for optional life and AD&D insurance will increase:

  • Optional life insurance and AD&D coverage for the employee in increments of $10,000, up to a maximum of $1,000,000.
  • Optional life insurance coverage and AD&D for the employee’s spouse or domestic partner in increments of $5,000, up to a maximum of $500,000 or 50 percent of the employee’s applicable coverage, whichever is less.
  • Optional life and AD&D for the employee’s dependent children up to age 26 in increments of $2,000, up to a maximum of $20,000 or 50 percent of the employee’s applicable coverage, whichever is less.

The waiting period for the voluntary short-term disability program will decrease from 30 days to 14 days, shortening the amount of time an employee waits to receive paid benefits by two weeks. There will be no increase to the cost of voluntary short-term disability coverage.

Flu shots

  • For on-campus employees: Flu shots will be available through Occupational Health. Dates and locations for the October clinics are in the process of being scheduled. Visit the Occupational Health website for details.
  • For teleworking employees: Employees covered by a GW medical plan through UnitedHealthcare can visit their primary care physicians, area pharmacies and convenience care clinics to receive a flu shot at no cost.

Virtual open enrollment fair
This year, the open enrollment fair will be held virtually. Each week, employees will have the opportunity to join webinars hosted by GW Benefits and benefit vendor partners, such as UnitedHealthcare and Aetna. The webinars will provide details about benefit programs, including information on helpful tools and resources.

Webinars will be offered multiple days and times throughout the open enrollment period. In addition, benefits partners will be available for 10-minute one-on-one appointments to discuss questions that may arise during the benefit election process.

Questions regarding any of GW’s health and welfare employee benefit plans may be directed to the Benefits Call Center at 1-888-4GWUBEN (4498236) or [email protected].

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