It's almost time to enroll for 2018 benefits

Image caption: Here are options to consider before Annual Enrollment opens on Oct. 20

Soon Johns Hopkins employees will have the opportunity to make changes to their health and life benefits for 2018. The Annual Enrollment dates are Oct. 20 through Nov. 7, and you are encouraged to take time to review your current coverage and take advantage of the enrollment resources available to help you make any updates to your benefits, if needed.

As you review your current benefits coverage and consider your 2018 options, think about the following:

  • Medical plan premiums will increase by only 1 percent for 2018, the Benefits Office has announced.

  • In order to sustain lower premium increases, new programs will be added to the university's pharmacy benefits through Express Scripts to help employees get the right prescription at the best price. In addition, out-of-pocket costs for the mail-order pharmacy will be updated to align with retail out-of-pocket costs. For more information, read next month's HR NewsWire, which will be emailed to employees just before Annual Enrollment opens, or visit the myChoices website in October.

  • If you are not enrolling in JHU medical coverage for 2018, you will be required to provide a medical waiver form even if you have submitted this form in the past. If you waive medical coverage and upload a completed 2018 medical waiver form to the enrollment site, you will be eligible for the annual waiver credit of $800 (if your salary is $40,000 or less) or $500 (if your salary is more than $40,000).

  • The short-term disability plan will be updated to provide a benefit of 60 percent of your weekly base salary up to $2,500 (rather than the current $1,000 maximum) at a more competitive price. If you previously enrolled in this benefit and had hit the plan's weekly maximum, you may pay more per paycheck; however, your weekly benefit potential is more than twice the current benefit weekly maximum. Consider enrolling in this benefit to help protect your income if you need to be out of work because of an unforeseen illness or injury.

  • The health care FSA maximum employee contribution will increase to $2,600 per year for 2018. As a reminder, you must re-enroll in the health care FSA and the dependent care FSA for 2018. Up to $500 of unused health care FSA funds will roll over into the next plan year.

  • A new offering for the voluntary accident insurance benefit will be through MetLife, providing you with greater choice at a lower price. Voluntary accident insurance provides coverage for unexpected injuries, such as sports-related accidents, injuries, or broken bones. For 2018, this plan is offered at a significantly discounted group rate, and you will have the option to enroll in a low- or high-coverage option. If you already have accident insurance through Colonial, you will be able to keep that coverage if you choose; however, you are encouraged to compare these options during Annual Enrollment to select the plan that is best for you.

  • Even if you're not planning to make changes to your benefits this year, now is a great time to learn about the available resources and tools so that you can make the most of your JHU benefits. Visit the myChoices website in October to learn more.