A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 29

October 23, 2015

Health screenings will be offered during the Open Enrollment Benefits Fair.Open Enrollment is an annual opportunity for employees review their UC benefits to make sure they have the coverage that best meets their needs for 2016.

Open Enrollment begins at 8 a.m., Oct. 29 and ends at 5 p.m. Nov. 24. Changes made during Open Enrollment become effective  Jan. 1.

At UC Merced, Human Resources will host the campus's annual Open Enrollment Benefits Fair for faculty and staff members from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 13 in the Joseph E. Gallo Recreation and Wellness Center.

Vendors will be on hand to answer questions and provide information. Participants can also receive free wellness screenings. Those who RSVP to attend by Oct. 30 will receive a free lunch at the event. 

Among the highlights of this year's Open Enrollment period:

  • UC has worked hard to maintain a full range of quality medical plan and pricing choices for employees and to control costs as health insurance costs nationwide continue to rise. Next year, many employees will see less than a $6 monthly premium increase.
  • All of the UC’s current medical plans will be available in 2016, and UC has added several programs to improve care.
  • Dental and vision care are free to covered employees and their eligible family members.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act, benefits eligibility will be calculated differently, and some employees not previously eligible for benefits will be eligible beginning January 2016.
  • The ARAG Legal Plan is open for enrollment. There will be no rate changes, and the plan costs $10 to $15 per month, depending on the eligible family members who are covered.

While there aren’t major benefits changes in store for 2016, there will a few enhancements.

Complete details will be available beginning Oct. 26 when the Open Enrollment website launches and employees begin to receive their Open Enrollment booklets via U.S. mail.

The Open Enrollment website also will have videos and other online tools to help you understand benefits coverage for you and your family.

Medical Plan Enhancements

UC has added several programs to improve your care:

  • For those who travel, all plans in 2016 will cover immunizations needed for travel. Check with your plan or the Open Enrollment website for the coverage your plan will offer;
  • For smoking cessation, Health Net Blue & Gold will add the “Quit for Life” telephonic behavioral coaching program, in addition to its current online program;
  • Health Net Blue & Gold will expand the Omada Prevent program for people with pre-diabetes to support those who are at risk for heart disease;
  • Blue Shield Health Savings Plan and Core will add “Oncology Practice of the Future,” a program designed to ensure comprehensive cancer care for its members;
  • Core will add coverage for applied behavioral health services to support autism care; and
  • UC Care will add more Ambulatory Surgery Center providers in its UC Select tier with a $100 copay.


UC Living Well, the systemwide wellness initiative, will continue promoting numerous wellness activities offered at each location, and in addition, will highlight wellness resources available through UC’s medical plans. Wellness coaching and the $75 incentive earned through Optum will not be available in 2016.

Legal Plan

The expanded identity theft protection coverage continues next year with lost wallet services, credit monitoring, Internet surveillance to protect personal information and other features. Slight changes will be made, resulting in fewer limitations and more benefits for certain services. For example, the limitation of one claim per benefit year per family will be eliminated.

Open Enrollment is your opportunity to explore your options in order to make the best choices for you and your family. Review your Open Enrollment booklet for more information about what to consider and the steps to take if you decide to change your benefits.

Visit the Open Enrollment website beginning Oct. 26 and use the videos, tools and resources for answers to questions about your UC benefits.

More information related to Open Enrollment: