Join MSU’s Virtual Benefits Fair This Week!

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we will not be having an in-person Benefits Fair this year. Instead, we’re offering a Virtual Benefits Fair, which will consist of an online source for curated content from our benefits vendors (such as videos, brochures and more), along with special dates/times for virtual live chat options with HR staff and/or our benefit vendors. We encourage you to use these resources to help get answers to your questions or learn more about all the benefit options available to you as an MSU employee.

Dates and Times

The Virtual Benefits Fair will take place from October 12–16, with MSU HR staff and benefits vendors available to answer questions live via chat on Thursday, October 15 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday, October 16 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (some vendor hours may vary for live chat).

How to Join

Click on this link to the Virtual Benefits Fair webpage to join the fair.
Please register with your name and email if you wish to interact with HR staff and benefit vendors during scheduled live chat sessions. You can then use the username and password you register with to login to the fair. View this Guide to Participating in the 2020 MSU Benefits Open Enrollment Fair for more information.

Participating Benefits Vendors

The following MSU benefits vendors and MSU units will be participating in the Virtual Benefits Fair:

Health/Dental

  • Aetna Dental
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield/Blue Care Network
  • CVS/Caremark
  • Delta Dental
  • Humana
  • Livongo (Diabetes Management)
  • Teladoc (Telemedicine)/Teladoc Medical Experts (Formerly Best Doctors)

Life and AD&D

  • Prudential

Flexible Spending Accounts

  • HealthEquity/WageWorks

MSU Benefits Plus

  • ARAG (Legal Group)
  • Liberty Mutual (Auto & Home)
  • MetLife (Critical Illness, Auto & Home)
  • Nationwide (Pet)
  • Transamerica (Long-term Care)
  • VSP (Vision)

MSU Units

  • MSU Health Team
  • MSU Human Resources
  • MSU IT Services
  • MSU Organization and Professional Development
  • MSU Pharmacy
  • MSU WorkLife Office

Retirement

  • Fidelity
  • TIAA

Reminder: enroll in, change or cancel voluntary vision, legal and critical illness insurance during Open Enrollment

The MSU Benefits Open Enrollment period in October is an opportunity for you to review your benefit options and make any changes necessary for the upcoming plan year. While you may be aware you need to review your health and dental benefits, some voluntary benefits also only allow you to enroll in, change or cancel during Open Enrollment. These include VSP vision insurance, ARAG legal insurance, and MetLife critical illness insurance.

If you’re interested in enrolling in these benefits, need to make changes (like adding a dependent or switching to a different plan) or cancel your enrollment for the 2021 plan year, you must do so in October. If you’re currently enrolled in one of these voluntary benefit options and you do not make any changes, your enrollment will continue in 2021 with the exact same coverage.

How to Learn More, Enroll in, Change or Cancel Voluntary Benefits

Find a brief description of these voluntary benefits below. You can enroll in, change or cancel these optional benefits via the voluntary benefits portal at MSUBenefitsPlus.com. For additional information on these voluntary benefits, please review the appropriate Open Enrollment guide: Support Staff Open Enrollment Guide or Faculty/Academic Staff Open Enrollment Guide.

VSP Vision Insurance: Vision insurance can help with the cost of glasses and contact lenses for you and your family. VSP offers two plan options: the standard coverage plan or a premium coverage plan with an additional enhanced eyewear option of your choice. You can view a plan summary sheet with basic information about the two plan coverage options and rates in the voluntary benefits portal.

MetLife Critical Illness Insurance: Critical illness insurance gives you extra cash in the event you or covered family members experience a covered illness (view the plan summary on the HR website for a list of covered illnesses). This money can be used to offset unexpected medical expenses or for any other use you wish. You can view a plan summary sheet with basic information about the plan coverage and rates in the voluntary benefits portal.

ARAG Legal Insurance: Legal insurance gives you access to legal assistance in a wide variety of situations when you need it without worrying about the costs. The legal plan offers expanded and/or enhanced benefits, such as insurance claims, divorce, home equity loans, refinancing and elder law. ARAG® legal insurance excludes most pre-existing legal issues and business-related matters. You can view a plan summary sheet with basic information about the two plan coverage options and rates in the voluntary benefits portal.

Questions? You can learn more about, enroll in, change or cancel voluntary benefits in the voluntary benefits portal at MSUBenefitsPlus.com. Learn about all your benefits options on the Open Enrollment HR website page. Additionally, the HR Solutions Center is available for questions at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Increase to Benefit Level for Optional, Employee-Paid Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Effective for the 2021 plan year, the benefit level for optional, employee-paid life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance will increase to 1 – 10 times your annual salary (previously, it was available from 1 – 8 times your annual salary). There are also various levels of coverage available for your spouse/other eligible individual (OEI) or dependents.

Please Note: these changes are applicable to optional, employee-paid life and AD&D insurance only. MSU offers you several different types of life/accident insurance plans, which you can learn more about on the HR website.

MSU benefits-eligible employees can enroll in, change or cancel these optional benefits for the 2021 plan year during Open Enrollment in October. Use the following information to help you decide if these benefits are right for you and your family. You’ll also find information to help you calculate your monthly costs if you decide to enroll in one or both options.

Optional, Employee-Paid Life Insurance

Life insurance can provide a lump-sum payment to beneficiaries upon the insured’s death. Optional, employee-paid life insurance is available to all regular full- and part-time (50% or more) employees, as well as to your spouse/OEI and dependent children. There are various levels of coverage, and the cost of the plan varies according to the plan selected.

How to Calculate Your Monthly Cost: find formulas for how to calculate your monthly costs in this year’s Open Enrollment guides. Be sure to reference the appropriate guide: Support Staff Open Enrollment Guide or Faculty/Academic Staff Open Enrollment Guide.

Optional, Employee-Paid AD&D Insurance

AD&D insurance provides various amounts of coverage for accidental death or dismemberment or loss of sight, whether during business or pleasure. Optional family coverage is also offered. This is available to all regular full- and part-time (50% or more) employees, as well as to your spouse/OEI and dependent children. Benefit levels vary by type of insurance selected and the extent of the injury.

How to Calculate Your Monthly Cost: find formulas for how to calculate your monthly costs in this year’s Open Enrollment guides. Be sure to reference the appropriate guide: Support Staff Open Enrollment Guide or Faculty/Academic Staff Open Enrollment Guide.

Questions? You can learn more about your life/accident insurance options on the HR website or contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Time to Choose Your Benefits for 2021: Your Open Enrollment Checklist

It’s more important than ever to make sure you have the best benefits options selected for you and your family. October is almost here, which means the MSU Benefits Open Enrollment period (October 1-31, 2020) is about to begin for benefits-eligible employees. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will not be having our usual in-person Benefits Fair or offering in-person assistance with our MSU HR staff. However, we will be providing virtual opportunities for you to ask questions and get assistance, including a Virtual Benefits Fair (learn more below).

Use the following checklist to help guide you through Open Enrollment and be sure to make your selections between October 1 -31, 2020.

  • Double Check Your Benefits Needs
    During Open Enrollment, you may enroll in, change, or cancel coverage for the following benefits:
    • Health
    • Dental
    • Flexible spending accounts (health and/or dependent care)
    • Life insurance
    • Some voluntary benefits, like vision, legal or critical illness insurance

      Make sure you review the Open Enrollment guide carefully and choose the best benefits plans for your family. Remember, you also have access to various voluntary benefits, like vision insurance. Find Open Enrollment guides on the HR website.
  • Review the Changes for Next Year’s Plans
    Changes for the 2021 plan year include:
    • Increase to the premium threshold for the spousal affidavit: If your spouse/OEI has access to health care coverage through their own current or former employer, they must purchase the coverage their own employer offers if the annual employee premium cost for single-person coverage is $1,500 or less. You may still cover your spouse/OEI on your MSU health coverage as a secondary plan.
    • Increase to Benefit Level for Life and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance: Employee-paid Life and AD&D insurance is now available at a benefit level 1-10 times your salary. Previously, it was available at a benefit level 1-8 times your salary. Learn more about these benefits in the Open Enrollment guides.
    • Aetna DMO Co-Pay Increase for Orthodontics: The Aetna DMO co-pays for orthodontics have increased from $2,300 to $3,000. Only support staff are eligible to enroll in the Aetna DMO plan. Co-pays have not changed for the Aetna Premium DMO plan. Find co-pays by dental plan in the Open Enrollment guides.
  • Make Your Changes Online Before October 31
    If you want to make changes to your benefits selections – or you cover a spouse/OEI on your benefits plan – we encourage you to do so during the Open Enrollment window: October 1 – 31, 2020.
  • Virtual Benefits Fair
    In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we will not be having an in-person Benefits Fair this year. Instead, we’re offering a Virtual Benefits Fair from October 12-16, which will consist of an online source for curated content from our benefits vendors (such as videos, brochures and more), along with the opportunity for you to ask your benefits questions to MSU HR staff and/or our benefit vendors on October 15 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and October 16 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit theVirtual Benefits Fair Information page on the HR website to find the most up-to-date info about the fair. 

We hope this checklist is helpful! Remember, everything you need to know about Open Enrollment is available on the HR website Open Enrollment page, including links to the appropriate benefits guide, enrollment instructions, and detailed benefits information.

Questions? We’re happy to help! Call or email the HR Solutions Center at 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu.

Best Doctors Benefit Offers New Behavioral Health Navigator Service

Your mental health needs to be a priority. As we continue living through this pandemic, that is especially important now more than ever. MSU’s Best Doctors (also known as Teladoc Medical Experts) benefit recognizes how important mental health is. A new service they are now offering to benefit-eligible MSU employees and retirees is their Behavioral Health Navigator.

As a benefit-eligible employee or retiree, if you or your eligible dependent is facing depression, anxiety, or a related condition and want a second opinion, Best Doctors/Teladoc Medical Experts wants to help. Best Doctors/Teladoc Medical Experts gives expert second medical opinions and access to coaching and online education tools. And now with the Behavioral Health Navigator, they offer these services for more than just medical care.

So whether you’re just looking for a second opinion, don’t feel like your condition isn’t improving, need help to find a mental health provider who specializes in your specific condition, or have questions related to your condition, the Behavioral Health Navigator is here to help. Listen to this member experience in the following video:

The Best Doctors/Teladoc Medical Experts team of leading psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers take the time to list to your concerns and complete an in-depth review and assessment of your existing diagnosis and treatment plan while guiding you through the mental health care system to monitor your progress.

How to use the Behavioral Health Navigator:

  1. Contact Best Doctors/Teladoc Medical Experts – You’ll be connected to a behavioral health nurse who will be assigned to you throughout the course of your care. The nurse will perform a video interview to help determine the need for additional assessment or record collection.
  2. In-depth review & report – After the nurse performs the interview, they will complete an assessment summary to send to the behavioral health medical director and an expert psychiatrist. After they review your summary and history, they will either talk to you further or provide recommendations for improvement.
  3. Follow through – Your nurse will guide you through the report, make sure you understand the recommendations, answer your questions, and follow-up throughout your therapy.

Contact Best Doctors/Teladoc Medical Experts today to get started at 866-904-0910, BestDoctors.com, or download the app. Best Doctors/Teladoc Medical Experts is available to faculty, staff, and retirees who are eligible to enroll in MSU health plans. Learn more about this benefit on the MSU Human Resources website.

Compassionate Leadership: Awareness of Mental Health Needs as the Pandemic Continues

Written by Jennie Yelvington, MSW, ACSW, Program Manager, MSU HR Organization & Professional Development

The last few months have been a long haul, and from all indications, it will still be quite some time before the COVID-19 crisis is behind us. Information changes daily, forcing us to shift gears quickly and adjust plans in virtually every role we have — be it employee, leader, parent, caretaker, or even citizen given our current sociopolitical landscape. As time goes on, the continually shifting ground can be disorienting, and emotional overload can impact our mental health. It is not uncommon for people to feel motivated and focused one day (or week) and then burned out and struggling the next. For those experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions pre-COVID — perhaps silently — the impact may be even more severe. 

In addition, “employees who have had to adjust to new vulnerabilities, uncertainties, and business practices from COVID-19 are now being re-traumatized through repeated exposure to images and threats of violence. For some, this moment is a wakeup call to make important and necessary changes, but for many, there is a cumulative deep emotional overload and exhaustion. Coping with these two huge social forces in the context of social distancing and greater financial uncertainty leaves people feeling frightened.” (Goodson, 2020) What can leaders do to support their team members and colleagues, while attempting to navigate this terrain? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Commit to your own self-care and encourage your staff to do the same. If you don’t take the time and effort for self-care, you will not be able to do the other items on this list effectively. Here’s the rundown:  
    • Get enough sleep and keep a consistent schedule as much as possible.  
    • Take breaks. Get outside, go for a walk, meditate, get away from your screens even if it’s just for a few minutes. 
    • Move. Do something that you enjoy to get some exercise. Walking, yoga, running, strength training, golfing, dancing, whatever you like.  
    • Connect. We all have an innate need to connect with others. Suggestions: call that friend who makes you laugh, reach out to brighten someone’s day, do something fun with your family (instead of just the to-do list), or meet with a colleague for a socially distanced, outdoor coffee hour. 
    • Take time off as you are able. Even a long weekend or a few hours here and there to get away from work — and social media — can be rejuvenating. 
  2. Stay aware. If you notice that a staff member or colleague shifts from being engaged and productive to detached or agitated, check-in. Not to judge or diagnose, but to see how they are and listen. 
  3. Show compassion and reassurance. Normalize these ups and downs and the impact on everyone’s psyche — though, it may look somewhat different from person to person. Demonstrate empathy and allow for flexibility when possible as people try to meet the demands of caretaking, financial struggles, and more. 
  4. Provide structure and continuity where possible. Talk about what isn’t changing, have project plans so that expectations are clear, keep people briefed on the latest information as you become aware, focus on vision, values, and mission as driving factors regardless of other changes. 
  5. Stay realistic while maintaining some base expectations. Productivity may not be as high or consistent as it was pre-pandemic. There may be points of higher output and other times when family or emotional demands take a toll. Communication is key. What are the priority items that must be completed on time? Where can there be flexibility? How do you prefer people communicate with you if a deadline is at risk?  
  6. Support skill-building. Most employees (and likely you, too) have needed to do their jobs in new ways to meet current needs. Some have put off this learning, hoping that they could ride it out until this situation passes. That is no longer an option. Covering for not having the skills to do the work needed adds to the stress. Do skills inventories with staff to see what areas to strengthen to do the work at hand in this environment. Support people in finding the skill-building opportunities they need and follow up to make sure they’ve followed through and found it helpful. Call MSU HR, Organization & Professional Development and/or Academic Advancement Network for guidance or read some of these questions to help assess learning needs. 
  7. Communicate openly, honoring what is difficult while staying optimistic about the future. Share information you can promptly. If you are having a particularly bad day, it is probably best not to share all your worst thoughts with your staff. Talk to a trusted friend to get perspective first. As new announcements come out, check in with staff to see what their reactions are, what questions they have and discuss how the news could impact them. 
  8. Provide referrals. If you notice that people are struggling, be sure to remind them of the resources available.  

“Leaders set the tone and culture of organizations. They should remind people to take care of themselves and share what they are doing to stay healthy and well. This may mean leaders must get outside their comfort zone. Employees are likely to be reassured by the willingness of leaders to show vulnerability and share how they are coping. This conveys to employees that they are not alone in what they are feeling and experiencing. Ideally, it communicates we are in this together and you are supported. Also, it demonstrates the organization’s commitment to transparency and continuous communication.” (American Psychiatric Association, 2020)  

So grant yourself and others some grace as we move through this imperfectly. Take time to relax and connect with others to further resiliency, set realistic goals and give yourself credit for all that you’ve managed thus far in a challenging situation. Take care, Spartans. Together we can do this. 

Sources:

Scott Goodson (2020, June 25). How to Lead Through Employee Mental Health Issues During Covid. Retrieved August 19, 2020, from https://www.inc.com/scott-goodson-chip-walker/how-to-lead-through-employee-mental-health-issues-during-covid.html

Employee Mental Health & Well-being During & Beyond COVID-19. (n.d.). Retrieved August 19, 2020, from http://www.workplacementalhealth.org/Employer-Resources/Employee-Mental-Health-Well-being-During-Beyon

Back to School Discounts!

The transition back to school this year might look a little different, but thanks to MSU Benefits Plus, MSU benefit-eligible employees can enjoy all kinds of great discounts and savings to help prepare themselves and their families for the upcoming school year. Whether you just need a new pair of shoes or want to treat yourself to a pair of Apple’s AirPods, MSU Benefits Plus has you covered this year.

APPLE

MSU faculty and staff can enjoy employee pricing on select Apple products such as iPhones, AirPods, MacBooks, and Apple Watches and more just by shopping through this link.

ABCMOUSE

With ABCMouse, employees can gain access to over 850 virtual lessons for kids ranging from reading, math, and science to social studies in the comfort of their own homes. Get two months of access to ABCMouse for only $5 when you shop through this link!

COSTCO

By purchasing a Costco Membership Activation Certificate, not only can employees become a new Costco member, but they will also receive a Costco Shop Card with a value of $20. Click on this link to join as a new member today.

CROCS

Employees can enjoy $15 off orders of $75 or more by using code SAVE15 when you shop at Crocs online!

DELL

MSU faculty and staff can access savings of up to 30% on select systems by shopping through this link.

DISCOUNT SCHOOL SUPPLY

Save $20 off any purchase of $150 or more by using the code SAVE20A and can get free shipping on orders over $99 by shopping at Discount School Supply.

MSU TECH STORE

Save on your back to school essentials with the MSU Tech Store! MSU staff and faculty can instantly save up to a $25 value on any Apple iPad with an Apple Pencil by shopping with the MSU Tech Store.

SAM’S CLUB

Employees who register for a one-year new membership can save up to 50% off on their membership and will receive a limited-time free gift!

SHOES.COM

Those who shop through Shoes.com can save up to 20% off sitewide and can enjoy free shipping by using the code SHOESDOTCOM at checkout.

To access all of these discounts and more, visit MSU Benefits Plus and sign-up for a free account using your ZPID number (located on your Spartan Card ID badge), or you can find the number in EBS. For more information on employee discounts, visit the HR website. If you have any questions about these discounts, please call MSU Benefits Plus at 888-758-7575.

Don’t Forget to Protect Your Eyes during UV Safety Month!

Did you know long-term exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of cataracts and growths on the eye, including cancer? Did you also know that you can easily reduce this risk and protect your eyes from UV damage simply by doing things such as wearing sunglasses, a wide-brim hat or applying sunscreen around your eyes? Your eyes are one of your most important muscles, as well as one of the most sensitive, so it is important to make sure you are protecting your vision, however that may be.

With VSP vision insurance, taking care of you and your family’s eyecare is almost as easy as simply wearing your favorite pair of sunglasses. Their vision insurance plans are available to benefit-eligible faculty and staff and their dependents.

Why Enroll in VSP?

VSP offers a range of access to care, quality eyewear options, and plan options. Additionally, VSP has partnered with Eyeconic.com to provide you with the lowest market price costs and savings on glasses, contacts, sunglasses, and even your copay when you connect your specific vision insurance plan. This a great option for those planning on shopping remotely as we continue practicing social distancing for the foreseeable future.

VSP offers two vision plans — standard or premium coverage — for all MSU benefit-eligible employees to enroll in. To learn more about these plans, visit VSP’s plan summary sheet available on the HR website. As a reminder, for those benefits-eligible faculty and staff thinking about their vision insurance needs for 2021, Open Enrollment for MSU’s voluntary, employee-paid benefits programs begins in October. Outside of open enrollment, benefits-eligible new hires or newly eligible faculty and staff have 30 days to enroll from their date of hire or date of eligibility. If you are a new hire or newly eligible and wish to enroll in VSP, please call MSU Benefits Plus Customer Care at 888-758-7575.

Another great perk to VSP’s vision insurance plans is VSP EasyOptions. With VSP EasyOptions, you and each member on your plan can choose one of these enhanced eyewear options when purchasing your glasses or contacts:

  • An additional $100 frame allowance, or
  • An additional $50 contact lens allowance, or
  • Fully covered premium and custom progressive lenses, or
  • Fully covered anti-reflective coatings

VSP also offers a 20% discount on additional glasses and sunglasses to all VSP enrollees.

More Savings with VSP

As we start returning to campus and adjusting to our new normal, VSP’s focus continues to be on you and ways that they can help MSU employees see well and be well. That’s why, starting September 1, all MSU benefit-eligible employees with the VSP Choice Plan will enjoy guaranteed pricing on all lens enhancements, an average savings of 30% out-of-pocket, with no increase in premiums.

The result? Extra money for you, at a time when every dollar counts. And, more affordable options for you to look good, see more clearly and protect your eyes.

How to Use Your VSP Benefit

To use your VSP benefit, simply follow the steps listed below and VSP will handle the rest:

  1. Create an account at vsp.com. Once your plan effective, review your benefit information. MSU and VSP provide you a choice in your vision plan — choose the Standard Coverage or select the Premium Coverage with VSP EasyOptions.
  2. Find an eye doctor who’s right for you. Visit vsp.com or call 800-877-7195.
  3. At your appointment, tell them you have VSP. There’s no ID card necessary. If you’d like a card as a reference, you can print one at vsp.com.

To enroll in VSP, go to MSUBenefitsPlus.com. For questions, contact VSP directly at 800-877-7195.