University Announces Benefits Enhancements for 2018

GW will offer new coverage and tools for employees to manage health care; open enrollment begins Oct. 9.

September 11, 2017

The university will continue to offer two plans administered by United Healthcare for health care benefits in 2018, adding new coverage offerings while limiting increases to employees’ monthly premiums.

Employees will have the opportunity to change benefits elections during the annual open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 9 through Oct. 27. Most changes will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018.

 “We are pleased to continue to offer GW employees a competitive package of benefits,” said Ann McCorvey, George Washington University’s deputy executive vice president and treasurer. “While the university will continue to cover the majority of plan premium costs, modest increases will be made to keep pace with the increasing costs of health care.”

The university determined 2018 benefits offerings after a series of meetings with the GW Benefits Advisory Committee, a group of faculty and staff members who provided input on GW’s benefits plans and programs, including ideas, concerns and possible solutions. GW Benefits used the feedback to determine how to best meet the needs of GW’s diverse group of employees.

All employees received more information on 2018 benefits by email on Friday. The information also is available online.

Health care

The university will continue to offer the GW PPO and the GW Health Savings Plan (HSP).

Among this year’s enhancements, applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy will be offered under both health plans in 2018. Participants will be eligible for coverage of ABA services for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

Additionally, CVS Health Transform Diabetes Care, a comprehensive management program designed to improve health outcomes and lower pharmacy costs, will be added to GW’s pharmacy benefit. It will include personalized support and coaching, visits at CVS MinuteClinic locations at no out-of-pocket cost and access to digital tools for diabetes management. Beginning in 2018, diabetic medications and supplies must be filled through CVS retail or mail order.

Castlight, a tool that helps find a doctor and compare medical services and prescription prices, will continue to be available for anyone covered under a GW health plan in 2018. (Employees and their dependents covered under a 2017 health plan can access the tool beginning Wednesday.)

Increases to employees’ monthly health care premiums will depend on the individual employee’s benefits salary band, type of plan and number of dependents covered. The increases will range from $1 to $37 monthly. For those who open a health savings account as part of their HSP, GW will continue to match up to $600 for individuals who contribute at least $600, and up to $1,200 for those covering dependents who contribute at least $1,200.


The university will continue to offer three Aetna dental plans: a DMO as well as high and low PPOs. Monthly premiums will increase slightly, by 3 percent, for the PPOs and decrease, by 3 percent, for the DMO.

Other Highlights for 2018

  • GW will expand its selection of voluntary benefits with the addition of group home and auto insurance through Liberty Mutual. Participants will receive preferred pricing on home and auto insurance packages, with premium rates that are often lower than the marketplace average.
  • Life, disability and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) benefits will be administered through Liberty Mutual. Employees do not need to take any action unless they choose to change their current coverage.  
  • Annual contribution limits for flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs) will increase slightly.
  • Some benefits will remain unchanged, including: vision plans, the Health Advocate program, legal resources, tuition remission and retirement savings programs. In addition, the GW health plans will continue to provide access to a preferred network with lower costs for imaging and labs and Centers of Excellence for specialized care as well as coverage for virtual visits.

More Information

A comprehensive guide with details of 2018 benefits offerings will be available later this month.

The university will offer information sessions for employees to gain a general understanding of benefits as well as open enrollment fairs to offer employees help with more personalized questions:

Information Sessions

Foggy Bottom

Sept. 20
2-3 p.m.
Betts Theater

Sept. 28
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Betts Theater

Virginia Science and Technology Campus

Sept. 19
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Exploration Hall


Foggy Bottom

Oct. 17
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Marvin Center Grand Ballroom

Oct. 25
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Marvin Center Grand Ballroom

Virginia Science and Technology Campus

Oct. 19
10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Enterprise Hall, Room 175

GW Benefits also offers helpful tips for employees via its new blog GWell and on Twitter.

University News


New Tool Will Help Employees Find Doctors, Compare Prices

September 11, 2017
Castlight is available beginning Wednesday for those covered under a 2017 GW health plan. Those who register before Oct. 27 could win a $400 Visa gift card.