Your Mid-Year Benefit Wellness Check-up

National Insurance Awareness Day (June 28) encourages us to review our insurance options to make sure we’re enrolled in the best plans for our families. As an MSU employee, you have a variety of benefit options available to you beyond just health care and dental plans. While many of these benefits allow you to enroll in or make changes at any time, several require you to sign up, change or cancel enrollment during the Open Enrollment period in October. If you’re interested in a benefit but unable to sign up right away, review the plan options and make a list of changes you’d like to make so you’re prepared for the upcoming Open Enrollment period in October.

Benefits without an Enrollment Period

The following benefits are available to enroll in, change or cancel at any time. You’ll find a brief description of each benefit below and you can click on the benefit name for more details and information on how to enroll/register.

  • Auto: find special pricing on insurance for your vehicle through MetLife or Liberty Mutual Insurance.
  • Home: find special pricing on insurance for your home through MetLife or Liberty Mutual Insurance.
  • Livongo: employees and their dependents enrolled in an MSU health plan can receive diabetes management supplies and coaching for free.
  • Pet: find special pricing on pet insurance through Nationwide.
  • Teladoc: an online medical care service that gives you 24/7 access to a healthcare professional via web, phone, or mobile app. Use Teladoc to get help for a range of conditions including cold/flu, bronchitis, allergies, pink eye, dermatology and more.
  • Teladoc Medical Experts: get medical advice from leading medical experts. Whether you need medical questions answered, a diagnosis double-checked, help deciding on a treatment plan or guidance about a surgery, Teladoc Medical Experts can help.
  • TruHearing: Some benefit providers offer discounts on hearing aids. Please contact the providers directly to learn more about the discounts they offer.

Benefits with an Enrollment Period

The following benefit options have an enrollment period. This means you can only enroll in, change or cancel the benefit during Open Enrollment in October each year. We encourage you to review the plans you’re currently enrolled in along with the options available and make a plan to make any necessary changes this October:

  • Critical Illness: MetLife gives you extra cash in the event you or a covered family member experiences a covered illness.
  • Dental: various plans are available based on your employee type. We encourage you to check which dentists are available in your area before enrolling in a new plan.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA): there are two FSA options available for employees – Dependent Care FSA and Health Care FSA. Be sure you know the difference before you enroll.
  • Health Care (including prescription): various plans are available based on your employee type and work location.
  • Legal: ARAG currently offers several plan options to help cover a wide range of legal needs.
  • Life/Accident Insurance: several types of life insurance are available for you to enroll in, along with voluntary Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance.
  • Vision: two plan options are available through VSP for vision care.

Please visit the HR website to learn more about all the benefit options available to you. For questions about enrollment and eligibility, please contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Celebrate National Pet Day with MSU Vet Clinic and Pet Insurance

April 11 is National Pet Day! Pet lovers already know, and the Center for Disease Control confirms, that there are many benefits to owning pets. Pets increase opportunities for exercise, enjoying the outdoors, and socializing. These health benefits can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. The companionship of pets makes us less lonely, reducing the effects of depression. 

Owning pets comes with responsibility, and Michigan State University offers services and resources to assist in those responsibilities. First, the MSU Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) can provide for all the health needs of your entire animal family. They provide health care for cats, dogs, equine, pigs, cows, camelids, sheep, goats, pocket pets, zoo animals, and wildlife. Their services include cardiology, oncology, primary care, and more. 

The VMC uses the most advanced technology combined with cutting-edge research to provide optimal care for all animals. Similar to specialists in human medicine, veterinarians pursue additional education and certification beyond veterinary school. That training allows the Hospital to offer 20 specialty services with clinicians who supervise and teach our senior veterinary students, interns, residents, and veterinary technology students to fulfill the Hospital’s commitment to educating future professionals. 

Maintaining optimal health for your pets is a financial investment, and emergency care can be costly. Keep those expenses manageable with preferred pricing from Nationwide pet insurance offered through MSU Benefits Plus, where you can choose from 50% or 70% reimbursement for services from any vet. You’ll also receive additional benefits for services such as emergency boarding, lost pet advertising, and more. Visit the MSU Benefits Plus website to learn more and enroll. Locate the Nationwide Pet Insurance tile under Featured Benefits and click Visit Site to request a free quote. 

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

  • 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.

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.

Give your children a healthy start for back to school with VSP Vision

August is National Eye Exam Month! As you’re getting ready for back to school, don’t forget to schedule annual eye exams for your kids. Are you an MSU benefit-eligible employee? Are you enrolled in VSP Vision Care for 2019? Then you have access to coverage for everything from the annual eye exam to new prescription glasses. Make sure your family starts the new school year right with a healthy vision!

According to VSP Vision studies show that 84% of parents agree that regular eye exams help their kids in school, but they often wait until their child complains to make an eye doctor appointment. Getting an eye exam before school starts can help your child start the school year off right.

And while you might be soaking up those last moments of summer, keep this in mind:  your eyes can get sunburned. After being in the sun all summer long your eyes can get damaged from the sun. The best way to protect your eyes is by wearing sunglasses while outside. An eye exam can see if your eyes were damaged by the sun and consider the next steps to take care of them.

Whether or not you’ve already used your coverage for your annual eye exam or prescription, you can start planning ahead for next year. MSU Benefits Open Enrollment starts October 1, which makes now a great time to start thinking about what you might need for vision insurance next year and make sure you pick the plan that’s right for your family’s needs. VSP Vision Care offers two different plans – standard and premium. You can check out the benefits of both plans here. Note: Information is currently based on the 2019 plan year; check back in October for updated information for 2020.

For more information on VSP Vision Care, visit MSU Benefits Plus.