myHR: News from Penn's Division of Human Resources

myHR: April 19, 2021 Open Enrollment Special Edition

Get Ready to Enroll: Benefits Open Enrollment is Here

Latino family laying on grass in park

Open Enrollment is your annual opportunity to make changes to your health plans, life insurance, and flexible spending accounts for the coming plan year. This year, Open Enrollment runs from April 19 through May 7.

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. During the Open Enrollment period, staff and faculty have access to virtual benefits presentations and a virtual benefits fair on April 20 and 21. You can also listen to The Choice is Yours, a new three-episode podcast in which Benefits experts discuss the upcoming plan changes, answer some frequently asked questions, and review important details about flexible spending accounts. 

Making Changes During Open Enrollment

Muslim woman and child in park

Do you need to make changes to your benefits options? Open Enrollment is the ideal time for you to enroll in one of Penn’s benefits plans, or consider changing elections if you need coverage that better meets the current needs of you and your family. 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, under Penn’s plan rules, you will need to verify your dependents eligibility in Workday by submitting the appropriate documents when you enroll. 

You should also review your life insurance beneficiary information, confirm its accuracy for all elections, and update it if necessary. To make this update, visit Workday at and log in with your PennKey and password. You can also call the Benefits Solution Center at Health Advocate at 1-866-799-2329.

Though Open Enrollment does not apply to the retirement plan, the Open Enrollment period is a good time to review your retirement plan elections. Penn’s retirement savings plans completed a major transition to TIAA. For more information about this transition, visit the Retirement Savings Plans Transition to TIAA webpage. You can make changes to your retirement plan anytime throughout the year. To enroll or make changes to your elections in the Retirement Savings Plan at TIAA, visit For information about Penn’s retirement savings plans, watch the Retirement Savings Plan Overview video.

What Happens If You Don’t Make Changes?

If you don’t make changes during Open Enrollment, your current elections will roll over when the new plan year starts on July 1, 2021. This does not apply, however, to those who have the Child Life MetLife Insurance plan. If you have this plan you must re-enroll and add your qualified dependent children who are under the age of 26.

What 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 Are Changes Effective?

Changes made during Open Enrollment will be effective as of July 1, 2021. New rates for all plans will be reflected in July 2021 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

You cannot make changes to your healthcare benefits elections after the Open Enrollment period unless you experience a qualifying life event. Qualifying life 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 life events. If you experience a qualifying life event, please contact the Benefits Solution Center within 30 days at 1-866-799-2329, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Plan Changes Effective July 1, 2021

Asian Family Racing in ParkOne of the most important steps faculty and staff take during the Open Enrollment period is getting familiar with the upcoming plan changes. There are several changes for the 2021-2022 plan year that will affect flexible spending accounts, Penn’s VSP Vision Plan, life insurance for dependents, and medical rates.

You should review all the plan changes before enrolling or making changes to your elections. Once you have determined the benefits that are right for you and your family, you can make changes to your benefits coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via Workday@Penn. Changes can only be made during Open Enrollment, unless you have a qualifying event

Review all of the plan changes below. All changes are effective July 1, 2021.

Met Life Insurance for Dependents: Action Needed 

The University is now requiring the name of each dependent to be added for the Child Life MetLife Insurance plan. Faculty and staff who have enrolled in the Dependent Life Insurance plan offered through MetLife will have to re-elect the coverage and list any eligible dependent children who are under the age of 26 this year. If you do not re-elect the coverage, you will be defaulted to waive. 

Dependent Life Insurance is available for your spouse and/or your eligible children if you are full-time faculty and staff or a member of a collective bargaining unit. Eligible dependents include:

  • Your spouse and your unmarried biological or adopted children and stepchildren up to age 26
  • Your spouse’s biological and/or adopted children are eligible if they meet the age and dependent criteria

Flexible Spending Accounts Get Uncapped Rollovers 

If you have a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA) or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DCFSA), you will be able to roll over all unused funds from the 2020-2021 plan year to the 2021-2022 plan year. DCFSA participants will not receive a grace period to incur expenses after June 30, 2021. The grace period will be replaced by the rollover allowance. You must incur all expenses between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Claims must be submitted by September 30, 2021. 

All rollover funds will be available in November. Carefully consider your contribution for the new plan year because the uncapped rollover will not continue into the 2022-2023 plan year. 

Hearing Aid Benefit Added 

A hearing aid benefit has been added to the PennCare/Personal Choice PPO, Aetna Choice POS II, Keystone/AmeriHealth HMO, Aetna High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account, and the Aetna POS II Standard plans. The benefit is up to $4,000 per participant to be covered as medically necessary, but not more than every three years. For High Deductible Health Plan participants, the deductible must first be met, then participants pay 10%. For part-time and ACA-eligible staff, participants pay 30% after meeting the deductible. This benefit applies to adults and children. 

Additional Vision Plan

VSP Choice Plan is a new vision plan that will provide a greater level of benefit for glasses and contact lenses. There will be an additional cost for the enhanced plan, but all other rates will remain the same. 

Medical Rates Increased Slightly

There will be a slight increase to the medical rates for the first time since 2017.  The dental rates are not increasing.   

If you have questions about these changes, please contact the Benefits Solution Center at 1-866-799-2329. 

Workday Upgrade Enhances Benefits Screens 

Asian Woman Working on Laptop

During Open Enrollment, you can make changes to your benefits coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via Workday@Penn. As a result of a recent upgrade, the Benefits section of Workday has a new look that reorganizes your healthcare and other benefits accounts and simplifies navigation.  

In the Benefits section of Workday, faculty and staff will find a series of tiles on a single page rather than having to scroll through multiple pages to view elections. Each tile provides a snapshot of your healthcare and accounts, including:

  • Benefit name (e.g. Medical, Independence Blue Cross HMO Keystone)
  • Cost per paycheck
  • Individuals who are covered (e.g. Employee and Child(ren)
  • Number of dependents

Click on a tile for details about the individual benefit, general instructions, videos, and useful links to more information on the HR website. 

For complete step-by-step instructions on navigating the screens and screenshots of the tiles set, read the Self-Service: Manage, View and Change Your Benefits 2021 tip sheet.

Resources for Choosing Benefits Coverage 

Penn provides a variety of resources for faculty and staff to learn about the available benefits programs, compare plans, and choose options that best meet your healthcare needs. 

New this year, faculty and staff can attend virtual benefits presentations, a virtual benefits fair, and listen to The Choice is Yours—a three-episode podcast on which Benefits experts discuss the upcoming plan changes and other health-related topics. 

Below are details about each of the available resources. Before you enroll or make changes to your current elections, review these materials to help with your coverage decisions.

Virtual Benefits Overview Presentations

Open Enrollment presentations are being held in April and May. There are two remaining sessions on the following dates:

Presentation Date


April 28

2:30 p.m.

May 4

12:30 p.m.

Click to join one or more of the above sessions. If you cannot attend, you can view the Benefits presentation online

Virtual Open Enrollment Benefits Fair

This year, the Open Enrollment Benefits Fair will be held virtually on Tuesday, April 20 and Wednesday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Representatives from Penn’s healthcare providers and wellness partners will conduct live presentations and provide recorded presentations that you can access via the Virtual Open Enrollment Benefits Fair website.  

The Choice is Yours Podcast

The Division of Human Resources has developed The Choice is Yours, a three-episode podcast where Benefits experts talk about the plan changes for the 2021-2022 plan year, answer faculty and staff questions, and discuss other healthcare-related topics. Here are the episodes by topic:  

Episode 1: Plan Changes, Virtual Benefits Presentations, and Virtual Benefits Fair
Episode 2: Answers to frequently asked questions during Open Enrollment 
Episode 3: The Details of Flexible Spending Accounts 

To access the episodes, visit The Choice is Yours website.  

Benefits Enrollment Guide

The Benefits Enrollment Guide provides a summary of the benefits programs available to all benefits-eligible full-time faculty and staff, as well as part-time and ACA benefits-eligible staff. In this year’s guide, you will also have access to medical rates charts and resources to support your physical and emotional well-being. 

Please refer to the guide for details about Penn’s benefits for the upcoming plan year, July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. The guide was mailed to faculty and staff homes, but you can also view it online

Benefits Videos and Documents

Do you want information on how to choose a medical plan? Would you like more details about your dental and vision coverage? What are the rules for making changes mid-year? You can get answers to these and many of your other benefits questions by accessing the Benefits Media Library

The library consists of short videos and helpful documents that cover a variety of benefits-related topics. You can access the library during Open Enrollment and throughout the plan year.

Watch the What’s Changing video for a glance at upcoming changes for the 2021-2022 plan year.

For more information about Open Enrollment, visit




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