myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR Archives

myHR: April 22, 2019 Open Enrollment Special Edition

It's Time for Open Enrollment

A mother and father holding a small child in outdoor settingPenn’s Benefits Open Enrollment is here. During Open Enrollment you can update your healthcare elections for the coming plan year. This year, Open Enrollment runs from April 22 through May 3. This special edition of myHR details the plan changes and gives you information to help you consider which benefits plan is best for you and your family.

Do You Need to Make Changes?

Two dads with strollers talking on sidewalkIs it time to reconsider which Penn benefits plans is best for you and your family? If you need to make a change, now is your opportunity to do so. Some of the changes you may need to make during Open Enrollment include:

  • Enrolling in a healthcare plan for the first time, or dropping an existing plan.
  • Switching to a different medical, dental, or vision plan.
  • Increasing or decreasing your life insurance coverage.
  • Changing how much you contribute to a flexible spending account.
  • Adding or dropping a dependent from your benefits coverage.*

* If you add a new dependent, you’ll receive a letter requesting verification of that dependent’s eligibility under Penn’s plan rules.

You may also need to update your life insurance beneficiary. If you’ve been putting off this task, Open Enrollment is a good time to get it done. To make this update, visit Penn’s secure Benefits Enrollment website, look under “My Information,” then select “Current Benefits.” You can also call the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236). 

Please note that Open Enrollment does not apply to the retirement plan, and that you can make changes anytime throughout the year.  But the Open Enrollment period is a good reminder to review your retirement plan elections.  Simply visit Penn’s Online Retirement System or call the Retirement Call Center at 877-736-6738.

If You Don’t Make Changes

If you don’t make changes during Open Enrollment, you’ll receive the same coverage you had last year.

If You Waive Coverage

Under the Affordable Care Act, if you waive your University coverage, you are still responsible for obtaining coverage through some other source. For example, you can obtain coverage through a spouse’s plan, your parent’s plan (if you are under age 26), or via the Health Insurance Marketplace.

When Changes Are Effective

Changes made during Open Enrollment will be effective as of July 1, 2019. New rates for all plans will be reflected in July 2019 paychecks. Your contributions for medical, dental, vision, and flexible spending accounts are made with pre-tax dollars. You pay for employee and dependent life insurance with after-tax dollars. All contributions are taken from your paycheck in the month for which your benefits are effective. Your pay must support your contributions for the benefits elected.

Making Changes After Enrollment

The choices you make during Benefits Open Enrollment will remain in effect through June 30, 2019, unless you experience a qualifying event. Qualifying events include the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, divorce or separation, death of a dependent, and change in your dependent’s eligibility for benefits. Keep in mind that the IRS limits the types of changes you can make for qualifying events. If you experience a qualifying event, please contact the Penn Benefits Center within 30 days at 1-888-PENN-BEN (1-888-736-6236), Monday–Friday, 8am–6pm, and Saturday, 8am-5pm (Eastern).

How to Enroll or Update Your Selections

close up of hands using mobile computerMaking changes to your benefits coverage is easy and convenient. You can update your selections online at Penn’s secure Benefits Enrollment website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from Monday, April 22 through Friday, May 3 You will need your PennKey and password to access the site. 

If you prefer, you can call the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN, (1-888-736-6236) Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm, and Saturday, 8am-5pm (Eastern). 

Plan Changes Effective July 1, 2019

No Increase in Medical and Dental Rates

Two moms and their babyYour cost for medical and dental coverage will not increase for the 2019-2020 plan year.

Thanks to plan design changes, favorable claims experience, enhanced prescription drug management, wellness initiatives and better employee consumerism, Penn's faculty and staff enrolled in a medical plan will not see an increase in the 2019-2020 plan year.

Although the healthcare market in general has experienced approximately 5% medical cost inflation over the past few years, Penn's plan costs have been much lower than the industry trend.

Enhanced Life Insurance with MetLife

On July 1, MetLife will become Penn's life insurance provider. Penn's Basic Life Insurance for eligible faculty and staff will continue to be 1 x your benefits base salary up to $300,000. Penn provides Basic Life Insurance coverage at no cost to you. Additionally, the cost for Supplemental Life Insurance has been significantly reduced.

A One-Time Opportunity to Increase Supplemental Life Insurance Coverage

Supplemental Life Insurance is available with coverage of up to 5 x your annual salary up to a total of $1,000,000.

MetLife offers a higher guaranteed issue for Supplemental Life Insurance. That means eligible faculty and staff have a unique opportunity to increase the amount of coverage before providing evidence of insurability (i.e. proof of good health). If your Supplemental Life Insurance coverage is at the current maximum of $500,000, you may be eligible to increase coverage up to 5 x your salary, to a maximum of $750,000, depending on your salary. If you select a coverage level above $750,000 you must provide additional evidence of insurability.

To take advantage of this opportunity, you must elect this increase during this year's Open Enrollment period.


This spring’s Open Enrollment period will be the last one using Penn’s current benefits enrollment system.

On July 1, Workday@Penn, the University’s new human resources and payroll system, will become the benefits enrollment and administration platform. With the launch of Workday@Penn in July, your benefits elections records will automatically be transferred to a new system and you'll be able to make beneficiary changes and declare qualifying life event changes on the convenient, state-of-the-art Workday@Penn website,

Be sure to review your choices even if you plan to keep the same coverage you have now so the correct information about your selections can be transferred to the new system. After the Workday@ Penn launch, healthcare benefits changes can only be made if you declare a qualifying life event.

Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)

When you participate in a Health Care FSA, you set aside pre-tax dollars to use for certain out-of-pocket healthcare costs. The IRS has increased the FSA limit from $2,650 to $2,700 for the 2019 calendar year.

This year, you will make your FSA election in the current ADP system.

Starting July 1, you can manage your Penn Health Care and Dependent Care FSA on the new, enhanced WageWorks platform. This platform upgrade will provide a better mobile experience with access to FSA apps and improved tools.

To facilitate the upgrade, you will be issued a new orange and blue debit card. You can only use the new card for your expenses incurred after July 1, 2019. Please note you can only rollover $500 to the next plan year, so be sure to submit your claims for the current plan year in a timely manner.

Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for HDHP

An HSA is a tax savings account for High Deductible Health Plan participants. HSA funds may be used to offset the cost of care. Penn will contribute to your HSA $1,000 for single coverage or $2,000 for family coverage. You can also contribute additional money to an HSA via pre-tax payroll deductions.

Penn's Health Savings Account administration is moving from Aetna/ Payflex to WageWorks. A new account will be opened for participants at BNY Mellon. During Open Enrollment, in order to establish your new account, you will be required to agree to the BNY Mellon Terms and Conditions. If you have funds in your HSA at the end of the plan year, they will be transferred to a new bank, BNY Mellon.

HDHP plan participants should watch for important notification in the mail and your email inbox. You will receive new debit cards for the 2019-2020 plan year. You can expect to receive your employer contribution in early July.

WageWorks will transfer your HSA balance to BNY Mellon by early August. BNY Mellon will add these funds to your new HSA. If you do not want these funds to be moved, you will receive instructions to opt out of the transfer and you will be responsible for managing any ongoing monthly service fees.

The IRS has announced an increase in the HSA family maximum contribution by $50 for calendar year 2019. The single contribution limit will be $3,500 and the family contribution limit will be $7,000—inclusive of your employer contribution.

Account Rules Reminder

Penn is updating its FSA and HSA processes, however the rules for using these accounts remain the same. You may still need to provide receipts to verify that your claims are qualified expenses in accordance with IRS guidelines. The new WageWorks platform makes it easier for you to submit receipts, verify expenses and manage your accounts.

New Behavioral Health Networks for PennCare/PersonalChoice PPO and Aetna POS

Quest Behavioral Health will be the new behavioral health administrator for the PennCare PPO plan, replacing Penn Behavioral Health. It is important to note that all of the Penn Behavioral Health network providers are transitioning to the Quest network. Plus you may have access to additional providers from the Quest network.

Participants in the Aetna Choice POS Plan will change from the Penn Behavioral Health network to Aetna Behavioral Health network providers for services. You can check your provider's participation with Aetna through Aetna Navigator at

If you or your dependents are currently receiving treatment through a provider who is not in the Aetna or Quest network, a transition of care plan will be developed for you.

Participants in the Aetna HDHP Plan will continue to use Aetna Behavioral Health network providers and Keystone Health Plan participants will continue to use the Magellan network.

Dermatology Screening as Preventive Care

This year Penn is adding an annual dermatology visit to the list of preventive screenings that have a $0 copay. This benefit is being added to all medical plans.

Part-time Healthcare Benefits

Effective July 1, 2018, regular part-time faculty and staff will be eligible for Penn’s Aetna POS II Standard Plan (formerly called the ACA plan). The cost for single coverage will be subsidized by the University. This plan doesn’t require a primary care provider or referral and it has in-network or out-of-network coverage. The individual deductible is $900 and the family deductible is $1,800.

In addition, part-time faculty and staff will be eligible for a $50,000 Basic Life Insurance policy paid by the University, and Supplemental Life Insurance up to two times their benefits base salary.

This year part-time faculty and staff can also select Penn Family Plan and MetLife dental plans. Employees pay the full cost of coverage. Davis and VSP vision plans will continue to be offered.

ACA Eligible Benefits

ACA-eligible faculty and staff can select the Aetna POS II Standard Plan (formerly called the ACA plan). The cost for single coverage will be subsidized by the University. ACA-eligible faculty and staff are also eligible for a $50,000 Basic Life Insurance policy paid by the University, and Supplemental Life Insurance up to two times their benefits base salary.
ACA-eligible faculty and staff can also select Penn Family Plan and MetLife dental plans. Employees pay the full cost of coverage. Davis and VSP vision plans are also offered, with employees paying the full cost for coverage.  

Learn More with These Resources  

Sign that says Open Enrollment AheadPenn has several tools that you can use during the Open Enrollment period. These resources will help you make an informed decision that’s right for you and your family. Visit to access plan summaries, the Benefits Open Enrollment Guide 2019-2020, medical rates, and online provider directories. 

You can also contact the Penn Benefits Center at 1-888-PENNBEN (1-888-736-6236), Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm, and Saturday, 8am-5pm (Eastern), or email Human Resources at

Attend an Open Enrollment and Wellness Fair




Tuesday, April 23


Houston Hall, Hall of Flags

Thursday, April 25


New Bolton Center, Kennett Square

Benefits Solution Center Powered by Health Advocate

LOVE statue near College GreenEffective July 1, Health Advocate will become Penn’s benefits call center service provider. The same quality service Health Advocate offers for our Employee Assistance Program and health advocacy program will be available for benefits enrollment.

You can access Health Advocate’s knowledgeable specialists by calling 866-799-2329.