Open enrollment begins next week, and, just like last year, we are pointing out that the UC Blue & Gold medical plan rates shown on UCnet and printed in an open enrollment brochure coming by U.S. mail do not apply locally.
The Blue & Gold rates do not reflect the subsidies put in place Jan. 1, 2020, and which will continue in 2021 for employees of UC Davis, UC Davis Health and Davis-based Agriculture and Natural Resources, bringing “local” Blue & Gold rates down to equal Kaiser Permanente’s.
AT A GLANCE
- WHAT: Open enrollment for 2021
- WHEN: 8 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24 (two days before Thanksgiving)
- WHERE: On your computer (via UCPath)
- BENEFITS FAIR: Online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Tuesday, Oct. 27, through the close of open enrollment.
Employees of UC Davis, UC Davis Health and ANR will find the local Blue & Gold rates on an insert in open enrollment packets that are due to arrive at home addresses next week.
The local Blue & Gold subsidies accompanied the university’s decision to drop the Western Health Advantage health maintenance organization, or HMO, as a medical plan option, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
The Western Health Advantage plan included UC Davis Health as a provider at monthly premiums that, over the years, generally matched those of Kaiser Permanente’s — making WHA and Kaiser the lowest-priced HMOs among UC’s medical plan options.
Without WHA, employees had only one other choice of an HMO with UC Davis Health as a provider, and that was Blue & Gold, but at higher cost. That’s where the subsidies came in, giving former WHA members the option of enrolling in Blue & Gold — and keeping UC Davis Health as a provider — at an affordable price.
All medical plan options in 2021 are the same as this year’s: Blue & Gold and Kaiser as HMOs, and UC Care, UC Health Savings Plan and CORE as preferred provider organizations.
Employees of UC Davis, UC Davis Health and ANR will see premium increases of $2 to $6 a month for Blue & Gold and Kaiser, and zero for the other plans. As in previous years, premiums fall into four tiers: the higher your salary, the more you pay.
- Kaiser Permanente HMO and UC Blue & Gold HMO — Emergency room copayments will climb $50, to $125, if the patient is not admitted to the hospital.
- UC Care — A number of cost-sharing changes are described in this UCnet article.
- New administrator for flexible spending accounts — Discovery Benefits will be the new administrator, offering one account, one card and one mobile app for health and dependent care FSAs — simply snap a photo with your phone to submit a claim or documentation.
- Legal insurance — New diversity and inclusion services are being added to further support the needs of UC’s diverse population, including domestic partnership agreements, funeral directives, hospital visitation authorizations and gender identifier changes on government-issued documents.
- Lower premiums for supplemental and expanded dependent life insurance — The decreases average 7 percent.
- Higher premiums for voluntary long-term disability — The increases average $10.50 per month. Costs vary depending on age, earnings and date of hire.
Open enrollment resources
- UC Davis Health Care Facilitator Program — No in-person presentations this year, due to the pandemic. Look for a 2021 update to the program’s Medical Plan Overview, including videos, available on demand.
- UCPath — One-hour webinars at various times and on various days through Nov. 23, providing an overview of open enrollment options and changes, plus information on navigating the open enrollment process in UCPath. See the schedule here; register by clicking on the date and time of your choosing.
- Systemwide Benefits Fair — Online, starting Tuesday, Oct. 27, and continuing 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until the close of open enrollment at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24. Explore virtual booths, watch videos and chat with benefits representatives.
Dateline Staff, 530-752-6556, email@example.com