Stanford encourages employees and retirees to review and confirm 2021 medical plan coverage

This year, the Stanford Benefits team is hosting live Benefits Information sessions on Zoom for employees and retirees. And employees can attend a virtual Open Enrollment and Wellness Fair that includes fitness class demos, Healthy Living class teasers and live chats with onand off-campus services.

It’s the time of year for university employees and Stanford retirees to review their health benefits, including adding or dropping eligible dependents from coverage during Open Enrollment begins today and extends through Friday, Nov. 13 (11:59 p.m. Pacific Time). Changes made to benefits take effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

If employees and retirees choose not to act during Open Enrollment, their medical, dental and vision coverage will "roll over" and reflect the 2021 premiums as long as they remain eligible for the plan.

Each year, employees must re-enroll in the following plans: Health Savings Account ; Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA); Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account.

This year, when employees log in to the My Benefits portal, they will see any awarded grants from the Child Care Subsidy Grant Program automatically accepted, and any Medical Contribution Assistance Program awards reflected in their plan costs if they applied by Aug 31.

Open Enrollment is also the only time employees can enroll or disenroll in Critical Illness Insurance or Pre-Paid Legal Services provided by MetLife. Coverage for employees already participating in the plans will automatically roll over in 2021 with no rate increase.

University Human Resources provides extensive information - in printed materials, on its website and through the information sessions - for both employees and retirees to review and confirm their health and life plans.

After Nov. 13, the next opportunity to make changes will be during Open Enrollment next fall, unless they experience a qualifying life event, such as marriage, adding a dependent or a change to their job status.

What’s new in 2021

  • Stanford is increasing its contribution to employees who sign up for a Health Savings Account (HSA) to $750 for employee-only coverage or $1,500 for family coverage. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has also increased the annual contribution limits for HSAs. Individual-only limits will increase to $3,600 of pre-tax dollars and family limits will increase to $7,200 in 2021. These limits include the university’s contribution.
  • In 2021, employees may contribute up to $2,750 in pre-tax dollars to their Health Care FSA (an increase of $50). The IRS has increased the carryover limit; employees may carryover up to $550 of unused FSA dollars.
  • Employees may use their Heath Savings Account and Health Care FSA to purchase over-the-counter products, such as pain relievers and cold and flu medicine. View the eligible expenses here.
  • Employees enrolled in the Stanford Health Care Alliance, the Healthcare + Savings or ACA Basic High-Deductible medical plans can take advantage of Teladoc, which gives employees access to U.S. board-certified providers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through phone, video or mobile app visits. All three plans are offering this service through 2021. Read how it works.

Medical, dental and vision plans

The Kaiser HMO remains the lowest-cost plan, and employee-only coverage in Kaiser remains free for full-time employees. In 2021, employee contribution rates will increase for employees who choose the Kaiser Permanente HMO medical plan and cover dependents. Contribution rates will also rise for employees who choose the Stanford Health Care Alliance plan next year.

Stanford will continue to offer five medical plans for active employees in 2021: Kaiser Permanente HMO; Stanford Health Care Alliance; Trio; Healthcare + Savings; and ACA Basic High-Deductible.

All copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums will stay the same in 2021.

Employee contribution rates will remain the same for the health care plans offered through Trio, the Healthcare + Savings Plan and the ACA Basic High-Deductible Plan.

The Delta Dental Basic plan remains free for full-time employee and dependent coverage; there is a slight increase in the Delta Dental Enhanced plan. There is no change in the cost of the VSP Vision Plan for 2021.

Learn more about 2021 health care programs on the Cardinal at Work Open Enrollment website.

Remote fairs and events

Staff members from Stanford Benefits will hold hour-long Zoom information sessions on 2021 health plans on Oct. 28, Nov. 2, Nov. 3, Nov. 5 and Nov. 9. Each session will close with a Q&A.

In addition, Stanford Benefits and BeWell are offering a virtual fair this year, with three days of live programming from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 27, Oct. 29 and Nov. 4.

The first wellness fair will feature virtual pet therapy. The next two days will feature fitness class demos and health living class teasers, including Pilates and "boot camp" workouts, and sessions focused on practicing meditation and creating positive change. Each day will feature live chats with vendors from noon to 2 p.m. Employees who engage with three or more vendors will be entered in a drawing for a $75 Amazon gift card.

Learn more about the Zoom information sessions and the virtual open enrollment and wellness fairs here.

Health and wellness programs

BeWell promotes a culture of wellness at Stanford by supporting and inspiring university employees to lead healthy lifestyles. BeWell provides Healthy Living classes, webinars and services to help participants achieve optimal well-being.

BeWell encourages employees to commit to health and wellness, while offering personalized support, exclusive perks and financial incentives for participation. The entire BeWell program can be completed remotely. View remote participation details here.

The gateway to BeWell is the Stanford Health and Lifestyle Assessment (SHALA) , an online health risk assessment designed to help participants understand the impact of their current lifestyle on their overall health. Once the SHALA is completed, participants can complete the Wellness Profile to receive personalized wellness support from an expert BeWell coach; explore Engagement options for a deeper focus on their well-being to meet their unique wellness needs; and earn Berries, health-related activities that put wellness goals into action.


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