How to Care for Your Pet During COVID-19

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:

Graphic of Pre-transition tips that says, "Prepare your pet with small adjustments to the daily routine before you return to the office: -Get pets accustomed to the morning routine again by simulating your going-to-work process, but be sure to avoid creating a routine around saying goodbye.
-Slowly transition mealtimes and walks until they align with your schedule at work.
-Plan for playtime and exercise at set times in the morning and evening
-Spend at least an hour in another room away from your pet. Don't give in to calls to come play."
To the right of this Pre-transition tips graphic, there is a Post-transition tips graphic that says, "When you start transitioning back to the office: -Give your pet extra attention with a 30-minute walk or play session before leaving.
-Leave an audiobook, radio or TV on to keep your pet company while you're gone.
-Consider hiring a doggy daycare or pet sitter who can visit your home during the day."

Preferred pricing on Nationwide pet insurance is available through MSU Benefits Plus. For more information on pet insurance, visit the MSU HR website or get a free quote today on the Nationwide website.

Source Newsletter – April 2020

In case you missed it, here are the April 2020 HR Source Newsletters: 

You can find older editions of the newsletter on the HR website.

This Month’s Headlines at Glance:

  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family Medical Leave Act
  • CARES Act Allows Distributions from Retirement Accounts 
  • Coronavirus: Information and Resources
  • Coronavirus Benefit-Related Resources
  • Leading with Emotional Intelligence
  • Leading in Uncertain, Rapidly Changing Times 
  • Important Updates to Your Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Individual and Team Resources in elevateU to Continue Professional Development 
  • Strategies to Work from Home from the WorkLife Office 
  • The Importance of Not Socially Isolating While Practicing Social Distancing 
  • Annual Raise for Regular CTU Support Staff 

Win a Free Amazon Echo Dot™ with Teladoc!

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 history:

  1. Download the mobile app
  2. Call Teladoc at 1-800-TELADOC (835-2362)
  3. Visit Teladoc.com and clicking “SET UP ACCOUNT”

You can use your Teladoc account throughout the year to:

  • Talk to a doctor by phone or video 24/7.
  • Get a diagnosis of your symptoms, treatment, and a prescription when needed.
  • Avoid the potentially high costs and long wait times of the ER.

To learn more about Teladoc, visit the Teladoc page on our MSU HR website.

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.

Accomplish Your 2020 Goals with Help from MSU HR

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.

Health:

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 and Savings:

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.

Consider Enrolling in Critical Illness Insurance During National Critical Illness Awareness Month

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 through MetLife.

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 Insurance?

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 through MetLife:

What Illnesses Does It Cover?

The following medical conditions are covered under critical illness insurance:

  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Full Benefit Cancer
  • Partial Benefit Cancer
  • Kidney Failure
  • 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.

Ready to Use Your Educational Assistance Benefit? Make Sure Your Application is Approved First.

Have you come across an interesting course or conference that you know would help you grow in your career but aren’t sure how to pay for the registration fees? Remember, if you’re an MSU support staff employee, you have access to Educational Assistance. This benefit offers financial assistance (up to $800) to receive reimbursement for registration fees for credit or non-credit courses that are job-related and from an approved institution/program. Non-credit courses include opportunities such as conferences, workshops, seminars, or trainings. Find more details about your Educational Assistance benefit here.

In order to use the benefit, you must submit an application and be approved prior to the course start date. To make sure you or your department gets reimbursed for the registration fees, you should apply and be approved for educational assistance before you pay any registration fees up front.

Process to Apply for Educational Assistance

  1. Find and Discuss the Course with Your Supervisor: If you find a non-credit or credit course that you’re interested in taking, talk to your supervisor about how it will help you grow in your career. Consider tying the course to one of your Performance Excellence goals.
  2. Submit an Educational Assistance Application Early: If your supervisor agrees that you should take the course, submit an Educational Assistance application via the EBS Portal. Login to the portal, click on My Career and Training, click the Educational Assistance System tile, then select the correct application type from the Apply tab in the top navigation. Please note the following:
    • Credit Courses: submit an application 60 days prior to the first day of the course for MSU credit courses or 30 days prior to the first day for all other credit courses.
    • Non-Credit Courses (training, conferences, etc.): submit an application 30 days prior to the first day of the course.
  3. Supervisor Reviews Application: Your application will be sent to your supervisor for approval. You will receive a confirmation email after they approve your application. The application is then sent to MSU Human Resources (HR).
  4. MSU HR Reviews Application: Your application will be reviewed for final approval. You will be notified within 15 days (after receipt of application to MSU HR) if the request has been approved or denied. 

How to Receive Reimbursement

After your application is approved, you’re all set to attend your course! After you finish your course, you’ll need to submit documents to receive reimbursement. You can find more details about Educational Assistance reimbursement for a credit course or non-credit course on the HR website.

Please note: you do not need to submit an Educational Assistance application for courses offered by HR Organization and Professional Development.

Questions? Find more Educational Assistance information on the HR website. Contact the Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434 with any further questions.

Thinking about your 2020 benefits options? Consider the Consumer Driven Health Plan with Health Savings Account.

As you think about the best benefits options for you and your family for the 2020 plan year, we encourage eligible employees to look at the Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP) with Health Savings Account (HSA) option. If you do not anticipate having a lot of health care needs for the 2020 plan year and are looking for a sound strategy to save for your retirement health care, this plan may be the most cost-effective option for you.

This health plan is currently only available to faculty, academic staff, executive management and non-union support staff with an employment percentage equal to or greater than 50% and an appointment for nine months or more. You may also enroll your benefits-eligible dependents.

About the Consumer Driven Health Plan

While you pay a deductible ($2,000/single and $4,000/ family) first before the plan pays medical and prescription benefits, preventive care and certain generic medications for chronic conditions (asthma, cholesterol, diabetes, and anti-hypertensives) are 100% covered with no deductible or co-pays when using an in-network provider. Review the Health Plan Coverage Summary in the applicable Open Enrollment guide to anticipate your annual costs under this plan – you may find that most of your annual medical costs are 100% covered:

This plan limits the maximum amount you pay for any covered services in a year to $3,000/single and $6,000/ family using in-network providers. After expenses reach this amount, you do not have to pay for any other health care costs for covered services, including prescription drugs.

About the Health Savings Account

Along with the CDHP, you should enroll for the HSA at the same time. MSU contributes up to $750 to the HSA each year (prorated by employment percentage) and you may add funds to the HSA tax-free. You can use these HSA funds to pay for any eligible medical expenses or doctor visits you do incur. Note: If you do not enroll in the HSA during Open Enrollment, you will lose MSU’s contribution.

These contributions are triple tax-free! You make contributions pre-tax, your account balance earns interest tax-free, and your distributions are tax-free if they are used for eligible medical expenses. Do you have an existing HSA from a previous employer? You can add those funds into your new HSA. The money in the HSA is yours to take with you – even if you leave MSU for a different employer or retire. In fact, investing in your HSA now to use in your retirement is a sound strategy to fund your medical expenses in retirement.

Questions? Consider using the ALEX online educational tool to see if the CDHP with HSA is right for you and your family. Learn more about the CDHP with HSA plan on the HR website. Also, consider visiting the MSU Benefits Fair or an HR Site Lab in October to ask us questions about this health care plan. Find dates, times, location and parking info for in-person assistance opportunities on the HR website.

Get in-person assistance for your Open Enrollment questions!

The MSU Benefits Open Enrollment period is around the corner. Benefit-eligible employees can enroll in, change or cancel benefit selections from Oct. 1-31. Is this your first time participating in MSU’s Open Enrollment and you’re not sure where to start? Or have you done this before but have some questions you just want a real-life person to help with?

Either way, MSU HR has a number of opportunities for you to get in-person assistance during the Open Enrollment period.

Benefits Fair

Stop out to the MSU Benefits Fair to talk with knowledgeable HR staff and benefit vendors. The fair will be held at the Breslin Center on:

Tues., Oct. 8, 2019
Noon – 7 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 9, 2019
7 a.m. – 5 p.m.

You can check out more information on which vendors will be at the fair, as well as info about parking, flu shots and chair massages on the HR website.

Site Labs

MSU HR will host site labs throughout the month of October where you can stop in and work with HR staff to get your questions answered. Site labs will be held at the Nisbet Building (1407 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing) on:

Fri., Oct. 4, 2019
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tues., Oct. 22, 2019
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Mon., Oct. 28, 2019
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Thurs., Oct. 31, 2019
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

You can check out more information on the site labs, including parking info on the HR website.

If you miss one of these opportunities, the MSU HR Solutions Center team is always happy to assist. Stop by the Nisbet Building, Suite 110, Mon. through Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or contact 517-353-4434 or SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu. Make sure to get your questions answered and feel confident in your benefit selections for 2020!

Your Best Doctors Benefit is Available to Help You

If you’re facing a serious diagnosis or recommendations for medical care such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or other treatment options, your Best Doctors benefit can help. Before you decide on your course of action have your medical diagnosis, treatment plan and/or medical questions reviewed and answered by world-renowned medical experts – at no cost to you. As a result, you’ll be sure to have the right information, the right diagnosis and the right treatment plan. We’re happy to offer this free benefit to all benefits-eligible employees and retirees.

Why Do People Use Best Doctors?

Reasons people use Best Doctors: 32% need help deciding between treatment options, 26% have symptoms that aren't improving, 23% question their need for surgery, 6% are skeptical of their doctors, and 5% don't understand their diagnosis. Source for data is from the Best Doctors website.

People go to Best Doctors to find answers and leave feeling more confident about their decisions. Watch the video below to hear the Price family’s story. They share, “Had it not been for Best Doctors, I would have had a hugely more invasive procedure that would have limited function and extended my recovery time.”

How Does It Work?

Member Testimonial – Price Family CTABD from Teladoc Health on Vimeo.

Visit the Best Doctors website and click “Create a Profile” to register. You then have the option to use the following services:

  1. Expert Opinion: Have a physician conduct an in-depth review of your medical case and receive expert advice about medical treatment options. 
  2. Find a Specialist: Get help finding a specialist near you.
  3. Treatment Decision Support: You have access to coaching and interactive, online educational tools that offer in-depth and easy-to-follow information about your specific medical condition. Use these tools to help you make more educated, confident decisions about your health.
  4. Medical Records eSummary: With your permission, you have the option to allow Best Doctors to collect and organize your medical records for you and provide them on a USB drive. You will also receive a personal Health Alert Summary based on the records collected, giving you a total snapshot of your medical wellness.

Questions? Learn more on the HR website or visit the Best Doctors website.

MSU Benefits Plus – Discounts and Programs

A reminder to all MSU benefits-eligible faculty and staff, you have the opportunity to enroll in several voluntary employee-paid benefits programs through MSU Benefits Plus. The optional programs include Vision Insurance, Group Legal Services, Critical Illness Insurance, Long-Term Care Insurance, Auto and Home Insurance, Pet Insurance and discount shopping.

Vision, legal and critical illness insurance have an annual open enrollment period during the fall of each year. That means you can only enroll at that time each year and once you enroll, you cannot change or cancel that enrollment until the next annual open enrollment period (unless you have a qualifying life event). Other programs, like auto, home, long-term care and pet insurances allow you to enroll at anytime throughout the year.MSUBenefitsPlus.com Screenshot

Discounts are available year-round on the MSU Benefits Plus website. These include discounts tied to MSU departments, local businesses and many other online shopping discounts.

Keep up on all of the discount information and programs that are available through the MSU Benefits Plus page. Sign in or create an account on www.MSUBenefitsPlus.com using your MSU ZPID number and password to view your benefits programs available to you.