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Open Enrollment Frequently Asked Questions

Your annual benefits Open Enrollment period is Monday, Oct. 21, through Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

What do I need to do during Open Enrollment?

For employees and retirees under age 65, there are plan changes for 2020 and you should review them.

  • If you are enrolled in the EPO plan, which is being discontinued, you need to choose a new plan, otherwise you'll be enrolled in the default coverage at the 2020 rates. 
  • There is a new plan option, Trio, that might be right for you and your family. You will need to seek care through a Primary Care Physician, so you should review the doctors available to you.

  • If you have the Stanford Health Care Alliance plan, you need to choose a Primary Care Physician. You can always change your Primary Care Physician at any time. 

Don't forget: You must renew these accounts and accept your awards every year: 

  • health savings account (HSA)
  • health care flexible spending account (FSA) 
  • dependent care FSA 
  • Child Care Subsidy Grant 
  • Medical Contribution Assistance Program 

For Medicare-eligible retiree families, there are no plan changes for 2020. if you are still eligible for your plan and don't need to take action, your medical, dental and vision plan elections will automatically roll over to the 2020 rates.

Note that outside of Open Enrollment, you may not be able to change your health benefits unless you experience a qualified life event (such as getting married, having a baby, changing job status). View the Change Your Benefits page for more details.

What are some things I can do to help save on health care costs?

Some actions you can take to help defray costs are: 

  • Preventive care: To stay on the healthy track, be sure to take advantage of preventive care, such as annual exams or “well baby” checkups. Preventive care is free under all of the plans as long as you stay in network. 
  • Elect a health care flexible spending account (FSA) during Open Enrollment: The Health Care FSA lets you set aside money for health care expenses such as deductibles, co-pays, prescriptions, eyeglasses, etc., before taxes are calculated on your salary, and you are reimbursed tax-free. 
  • If you choose the Healthcare + Savings Plan, stay "in network" and elect a health savings account (HSA): In this plan, you have more choice in providers, but you'll generally save more when you stay in the network. And remember, the HSA will help you pay for health care costs and can be funded with your pre-tax dollars, along with a university contribution, when eligible. 

Note: If you have an HSA, you cannot also have a health care FSA.

When will I get my new medical ID card?

Ordinarily, medical plans do not send a new card each year, only when you change plans. In January 2020, SHCA will send plan members new cards listing their Primary Care Physician, and all three Blue Shield plans for active employees will send new ID cards with updated member services numbers. The dental and vision plans do not provide ID cards at all. You can find the group plan numbers for each in the online comparison charts.

How do I learn more about BeWell, Stanford's Wellness Program?

Participating in BeWell is a great way to earn incentives while staying healthy. An employee who registers with the BeWell Program can earn up to $560 in taxable incentives, depending on participation level, and their spouse/registered domestic partner can earn a $220 incentive. Visit the BeWell website for program details.

Where can I find help?

The Cardinal at Work website aims to provide as many answers as possible to your benefits-related questions. Because of the personal nature of benefits, it may not speak to every situation. Below are some common questions and tasks, and how you should direct them.

When to Call the Plan Provider

  • To find out if your doctor or dentist is in your medical or dental plan’s network
  • If you have a claim dispute or question
  • To verify what procedures are covered under your plan and obtain prior authorization
  • You can’t find your member ID for your health plan
  • To verify if a prescription drug is on your plan’s covered list  
  • To find urgent care centers  
  • If you are seeing a mental health professional or chiropractor for the first time and you want to verify costs/coverage
  • Questions about your Flexible Spending Account balance or eligible expenses

View the contact list for plan providers

Note: The University HR Service Team will not be able to help you with the above requests.

When to Call the University HR Service Team

  • If you are a new hire and need plan services before you receive your plan ID card, your doctor’s office or pharmacy may call to verify coverage  
  • If you need help enrolling for benefits during an enrollment window
  • If you have a question about a payroll deduction related to your benefits
  • If you are unsure if a dependent is covered under your plan
  • You plan to retire in the next three to six months 

Contact the University HR Service Team at 877-905-2985 or 650-736-2985, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on holidays.