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USC Changes Structure of Employee Benefits

All plan participants will receive a personalized form mailed to their home address this month.

Photo/Michael Del Muro

The USC administration has made a significant change in the structure of employee benefits for 2004-05, requiring faculty and staff to re-enroll in their health plans.

Open enrollment � the only time that changes can be made to parts of a benefits package � will be held from Monday, Oct. 18, through Wednesday, Nov. 24.

Employees who do not reapply for medical, vision and dental benefits during that period will lose them on Dec. 31. Pre-tax payment accounts (PPAs) for health care and child care have the same Nov. 24 deadline.

All plan participants will receive a personalized form mailed to their home address early this month that will include current enrollment information.

“Open enrollment will start earlier this year and run for a longer time because we will be implementing a new four-tier structure which requires that all employees re-enroll,” said Lisa A. Macchia, director of health plans.

For many years, Macchia said, the university has had a three-tier structure (employee; employee + 1; and employee + 2 or more dependents).

Effective Jan. 1, there will be a four-tier structure: employee; employee + adult (spouse/registered domestic partner); employee + child(ren); and employee + adult (spouse/registered domestic partner) + child(ren).

The change is based on the recommendation of the USC Employee Benefits Advisory Committee, chaired by James Manegold, associate dean of the USC Leventhal School of Accounting and an associate professor of accounting.

“The rationale for this change,” Macchia said, “is that it distributes actual health benefit costs more equitably.”

Generally, she said, while children go to the doctor more frequently, the cost is lower than that for adults.

Employee contributions will be reduced significantly for single parents with one or more children, and coverage contributions will increase for the employee and spouse and for two-parent families with children, Macchia said.

For example, the single-person contribution for the USC Network Plan stays at $70. The employee + adult contribution will increase to $151, up from the two-party contribution of $140; the employee + child(ren) contribution will be $119 (a new category with a significant reduction from 2004’s $210 for an employee covering two or more children); and the employee + adult + child(ren) contribution will be $217, up from $210.

Employees enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente plan will see modest increases. The single-employee contribution rises $2, and the new category of employee + child(ren) is just $5 more than the current rate of $72 for an employee + one dependent. However, the employee + adult + child(ren) rate rises $13 (from $102 to $115 per month for an employee + two or more dependents in 2004).

Similar differences in rates apply to CaliforniaCare and PacifiCare monthly coverage.

There are nominal changes in contributions for the Vision Service plan, with the single-employee rate of $6.90 per month remaining the same.

The contribution for monthly coverage for a single employee under the Delta Dental plan remains at $18, with United Concordia coverage rising $1 each month. There are nominal increases in other combinations of dental coverage.

The 2005 benefits package retains the services of RxAmerica as the Network plan’s pharmacy benefit manager, Macchia said, and the mail-order service remains the same.

“Every year USC attempts to offer a rich benefits package while keeping such benefits affordable for faculty and staff, as well as the university,” Macchia said. “We are pleased with the results of our efforts for 2005, but remain apprehensive about costs in the future.”

In addition to medical, dental and vision plans, benefits at USC include exercise programs, retirement programs, a variety of insurance plan choices, the USC Neighborhood Homeownership Program, educational benefits and child-care programs.

The open-enrollment period offers an opportunity to review beneficiary designations for retirement plans and insurance programs.

Two benefits fairs will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 3, and Thursday, Nov. 4, respectively, on the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.

The UPC and HSC fairs will be held at Von KleinSmid Center Plaza and the Quad, respectively.

The rate structure for benefits can be seen by going to http://www/usc.edu/dept/Benefits/ and clicking on the enrollment box on the left-hand side of the page.

For more information, call the Office of Benefits Administration at (213) 740-6027 or send e-mail to benefits@usc.edu.

USC Changes Structure of Employee Benefits

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