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.

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.

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.

Thinking about your 2021 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 2021 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 2021 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? Learn more about the CDHP with HSA plan on the HR website. Also, consider visiting the MSU Virtual Benefits Fair in October to ask us questions about this health care plan.

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!