Like many, during the pandemic your family has probably experienced an increased need for virtual health care options, mental health resources, and opportunities to save money. MSU is committed to offering valuable benefits to support you and your family, especially during this difficult time. As a benefits-eligible employee, you’re probably aware of MSU’s health and dental care benefit options. However, on top of those, there are a wide range of optional benefits we’d like to remind you about as well.
Beyond meeting your health care needs, these optional benefits can help you save money on needed products and services, all while staying safe with virtual or socially distanced options. We realize keeping track of all these different resources can be overwhelming. To help, we’ve created the following recap to jog your memory with links to more detailed information to learn more.
This infographic provides a quick summary of these optional benefits (click the image for a downloadable PDF version):
Optional benefit programs available:
Teladoc: virtually speak with a doctor 24/7 via web, phone or mobile app. They can even write you a prescription if necessary. Employees have described Teladoc as “a game changer,” and particularly helpful during the pandemic (read employee experiences here). If you haven’t already, we recommend you sign up for Teladoc now, so you’re prepared when you need it.
Voluntary Benefits and Employee Discounts: these are optional benefits offered through MSU Benefits Plus. Find insurance offerings such as vision, long-term care, legal, pet, home/auto, and critical illness (some have enrollment periods). Additionally, there are a variety of discounts on everything from electronics, home goods, meal delivery services and much more.
You might not always need or think of these resources, but keeping them tucked away can make it easier and more cost-effective to manage your family’s health. As always, if you have any questions about these benefits options, please visit the HR website to learn more or contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.
Whether you’re expecting to give birth, adopt or foster a child, we’ve got some exciting news for future parents! Beginning January 1, 2021, Administrative Professional Association (APA) and Administrative Professional Supervisors Association (APSA) support staff members will be eligible for MSU’s parental leave.
How does it work?
This policy allows eligible employees to take a maximum of four weeks of paid parental leave (PPL) per birth, adoption or placement of a child/children into their household starting January 1, 2021. After that, the maximum number of weeks will increase gradually in the coming years depending on the union.
Eligible employees represented by APA can receive:
A maximum of five weeks starting January 1, 2022
A maximum of six weeks starting January 1, 2023
Eligible employees represented by APSA can receive a maximum of six weeks starting January 1, 2023.
For those employees who experience a birth, adoption, foster care, or guardianship on or after November 1, 2020, you will be eligible for paid parental leave starting January 1, 2021. Paid parental leave will not begin, however, before January 1, 2021.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for the leave, employees must meet the following criteria:
Have been continuously employed with MSU, on a full-time basis, for at least 24 consecutive months before the launch of the leave
Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 consecutive months immediately before the date the leave would begin
Be a full-time regular employee (part-time, temporary employees and on call are not eligible)
Meet one of the following:
Be the parent to the birth of a child, and to care for the newborn child; or
The parent of a child under the age of 18, that is newly added to the household through adoption, legal guardianship or foster care.
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).
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
During these unprecedented times, juggling taking care of yourself, your other family members and your pets is no easy task. However, with Nationwide pet insurance, giving your pets the care they deserve has never been easier with their affordable pet insurance plans for all MSU benefit-eligible employees.
Nationwide’s pet insurance plan is the only plan on the market that does not rate based on the age or breed of the pet. As an MSU benefit-eligible employee, you will also receive access to Nationwide’s exclusive employee benefits channel. Additionally, once you are enrolled in Nationwide’s pet insurance plan, you will also have free access to a 24/7 Vet Helpline where you can speak with a licensed veterinary professional any time you need. All MSU benefit-eligible employees are able to enroll online today for Nationwide’s pet insurance plan by visiting the MSU Benefits Plus website.
More Nationwide Pet Insurance Benefits
New, lower-cost options available for employees with reduced hours or who have been furloughed
Plans reimburse up to 90% on pet prescriptions, including online pharmacies
Emergency pet boarding is covered for employees who are temporarily unable to care for their pets
All policies are portable and can be billed to a credit card for employees not eligible for payroll benefits
Convenient online claim filing plus fast, electronic reimbursement into any bank account
As the current public health situation continues, Nationwide has noted a significant amount of new members to their pet insurance plan as more people have begun adopting animals to help take care of them during the pandemic. Due to this increase in pet owners in these uncertain times, Nationwide has not only tailored their benefits to accommodate many different situations but also has provided helpful tips for pet owners trying to navigate their return to a more regular workday schedule.
Back-to-Work Transition Tips for Pets
As we slowly start transitioning back to our workplaces, the change in routine can affect your pet. The sudden disappearance of you or your family members from your pet’s daily life can often cause separation anxiety, depression, and even destructive behaviors.
To slowly transition your pets back to a regular workday schedule, utilize these pre-transition and post-transition tips:
Would you like the chance to win a FREE Amazon Echo Dot™? Set up your Teladoc account and you could be entered to win! Teladoc is giving away a limited number of these smart speakers. MSU employees and their dependents who are currently enrolled in an MSU health plan have access to Teladoc – an online medical care service that gives you 24/7 access to a healthcare professional via the web, phone, or mobile app in minutes.
Since Teladoc is already part of your MSU benefits, all you have to do is set up your account/update your medical history by Feb. 21, 2020, for your chance to win a free Amazon Echo Dot™. Note: if you are already registered but didn’t provide your medical history, simply update your history for a chance to win.
Here are three quick and easy ways to update your medical
We’re officially one month into the new year! Have you made resolutions that are becoming more difficult to keep each day? If so, don’t worry, you are not alone. In fact, 80% of New Year’s resolutions begin to fizzle out by February (Psychology Today, 2018). Here at MSU HR, we want to encourage you to keep going by identifying resources right at your disposal to make keeping your resolutions a bit easier.
Work/ Professional Life:
We often have work or career-related goals that may include enhancing
leadership skills, improving communication, increasing knowledge, etc. Discover
resources offered through MSU to support you in your professional development:
Attend Organization and Professional Development (OPD) courses to enhance your leadership skills and aid in career development. Find a variety of OPD courses offered here.
If you’re a support staff employee, be sure to use your Educational Assistance funds for career development opportunities such as OPD courses, attending conferences, and so much more. Learn more about your Ed Assist benefit here.
It might come as no surprise that the most common (and most
commonly broken) New Year’s resolutions are centered around health and wellness
(Time Magazine, 2012). Below are benefits and resources you can utilize
as an eligible MSU employee to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Take a trip to your doctor and stay up-to-date on your health! Get your annual physicals, eye exams, and check-ups.
Check out MSU Health4U courses! From learning how to cook quick and healthy meals, to participating in active stretching, MSU Health4U offers a variety of health and wellness programs. Click here to discover more.
Utilize discounts at local gyms offered through MSU Benefits Plus. Receive 5-20% off at various locations including LA Fitness, 24 Hour Fitness, Anytime Fitness along with regional chains, local gyms, and specialty studios. Log into MSU Benefits Plus to discover ways to save!
Prioritize your mental health! MSU employees and their adult dependents who are currently enrolled in an MSU health plan have access to behavioral health services offered through Teladoc. Find support and receive 24/7 access to a healthcare professional conveniently online. Find more information on Teladoc and how to use it here.
Money is another common resolution topic amongst Americans. Saving money is often linked to less stress because it allows you to be more prepared for changes in life and may give you the flexibility to spend your money on your own terms (Refresh Financial, 2019). Learn more about MSU benefits that promote financially responsible habits:
If you enrolled in a flexible spending account for this year, utilize those funds for eligible expenses such as band-aids, shoe insoles, and aspirin! Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) help you save money by allowing you to use pre-tax dollars to pay for eligible expenses. Participants save an average of 30% on eligible expenses. Discover various items you can use your FSA funds at the FSA Store. You can also learn more about FSAs on our website here.
Put more towards retirement! Consider taking advantage of compounding retirement savings that will end up saving you more in the long run. Learn how compounding works and discover various retirement plans here.
Sticking to New Year’s resolutions may not be easy, but with these tips, we hope that you continue to see your goals as possible. Questions? Contact HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434. Find more information about MSU-related benefits and resources on our website hr.msu.edu.
Have you or a family member ever faced a health emergency
and wished you were better prepared? Critical illness insurance can alleviate
some of the financial burden by giving you a lump-sum of money to help cover unexpected
or additional costs in the event of a health emergency. During the Open
Enrollment period (October 1-31, 2019), benefits-eligible faculty, academic
staff and support staff have the option to enroll in critical illness insurance
Outside of the Open Enrollment period, benefits-eligible new
hires or newly-eligible employees have 30 days to enroll from their date of
hire or date of eligibility.
What is Critical Illness
Critical illness insurance works to complement your medical
coverage. This type of insurance helps safeguard your finances by providing you
with a lump-sum payment when you or an eligible dependent (such as your spouse
or child) need it most. In the event your family experiences a health
emergency, such as a heart attack, cancer or stroke, your critical illness
insurance can help you pay for unexpected medical costs or anything else you
may need. The extra cash can help you focus on getting back on track— without worrying
about finding the money to cover some of your expenses (MetLife, 2019).
Watch the video below to learn more about Critical Illness Insurance
What Illnesses Does
The following medical conditions are covered under critical
Full Benefit Cancer
Partial Benefit Cancer
Major Organ Transplant
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
And many more! Find a complete list on the plan summary sheet on the HR website.
Benefits-eligible faculty, academic staff and support staff have now through October 31 to enroll in this optional benefit through MetLife. Find more information and enroll through MSU Benefits Plus.
Questions? Learn more about critical illness insurance and other voluntary benefits on the HR website. For questions about enrollment, contact MSU Benefits Plus Customer Care at 888-758-7575. Contact the HR Solutions Center with any additional questions at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.
MetLife (2019). MetLife Critical Illness Insurance provides you cash when you need it most. New York City, NY.