Health insurance premiums will see a minimal increase for 2018-19, said Lori Carnvale, director of benefits in the Office of Human Resources, at the April 17 meeting of the University Senate’s benefits and welfare committee. One of two plans offered through the University’s vision insurance will also see a small premium increase in the new fiscal year beginning July 1, while other aspects of the medical, dental and vision plans will remain the same.
“Our medical premiums will be held to a 2 percent increase,” Carnvale said at the committee meeting. For instance, the most popular plan, UPMC’s Panther Gold, will see an increase of $1 for individual monthly premiums (from $75 to $76) and $7 for family premiums (from $360 to $367). The University will continue to contribute the same share of the premium costs: 80 percent.
There will be no changes to dental premium fees.
The only change to vision plan offerings will be an increase in monthly premium costs for the Designer Gold plan: for individuals, from $9.69 to $10.25; for individuals plus one other person, from $17.41 to $18.42; and for families, from $23.70 to $25.07. The Fashion Excellence plan premiums are unchanged.
“We continue to remain very competitive with employers nationally, especially with our medical plan,” Carnvale said.
Upcoming Open Enrollment, Benefits Fairs
Open enrollment for benefits this year will be April 25 through May 16, during which faculty and staff can review their existing benefits and make changes effective July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019.
Also new for the 2018-19 year: Those with University health insurance will be able to earn $100 for their health incentive accounts if they undergo a health risk assessment in the first 90 days of the new fiscal year. After that period, the benefit will earn members the current incentive of $75.
Narcan (or naloxone), the opioid overdose antidote that is administered nasally by civilians, will now be available through UPMC at no cost for those wishing to keep it on hand in the home or office.
Benefits fairs are set for the Pittsburgh campus and regional campuses:
Monday, April 30, in Scaife Hall rooms 1105A, B and C, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and Tuesday, May 1, in the William Pitt Union’s Assembly Room, from 7 to 9 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. Staff from UPMC and retirement service providers TIAA and Vanguard will be on hand, as well as representatives of the University’s benefits office.
Fairs on the regional campuses are scheduled for: Greensburg, Village Hall, Room 118, April 27, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Johnstown, Cambria Room, May 8, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Bradford, Frame-Westerberg Commons, May 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; and Titusville, Haskell Memorial Library Lobby, May 3, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Other Pitt Benefits Across Campus
Guest speakers at the committee meeting also highlighted some of the Pitt benefits that are available to employees across the Pittsburgh campus and that are not administered by the benefits office:
- Ray Vargo, director of the Small Business Development Center in the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, noted that his center provides free assistance to Pitt employees who are budding entrepreneurs. It can help them through the initial steps of starting a business, including developing a business plan, via the center’s First- and Second-Step Programs for start ups. Business experts, including attorneys and accountants, are on hand for coaching new entrepreneurs through basic business mechanics.
“We can provide our clients with another set of eyes and another set of ears,” Vargo said — even helping to find loans and other funding opportunities.
- Local attorney and Pitt alum Matthew Marcello (LAW ’16), who works with the Pitt Legal Services Incubator and the Pitt Law Clinics, said these law school programs work with Pitt faculty, staff and students on selected legal cases. They can even provide free legal representation to lower-income people in certain cases. Lawyers in these programs represent all facets of law, from basic criminal and civil law to entertainment, immigration and oil and gas practices.
“We are all Pitt alumni, and we are all just down the street,” Marcello said, encouraging Pitt employees to use program services.
- Committee member Angie Riccelli, School of Dental Medicine faculty member and director of the Dental Hygiene Program, described the school’s Center for Patients with Special Needs as “a jewel within the dental school that I think people are not aware of.” The clinic and dental student training center serves individuals with special needs — physical, intellectual, neurological or behavioral disorders; developmental disabilities and other medical complexities — who require higher degrees of sedation or other treatment that may be unavailable or unaffordable through a private practice. Every dental specialty is represented, and the facility has dental hygienists and nurse anesthetists on site.
“It’s just incredible what we have access to on this campus — and we’re just showing you a sample,” said committee chair Linda Tashbook, adjunct professor of law and foreign international comparative law librarian in the Barco Law Library of the School of Law.