Learn about your benefits choices and enhancements for 2020

The newest medical option is a high-deductible health plan that pairs with a special health savings account

A new option available to Johns Hopkins employees for 2020 has two acronyms you'll want to remember: HDHP and HSA.

HDHP is a high-deductible health plan that works much like a traditional point-of-service medical plan, giving you the flexibility to use in-network or out-of-network providers, but it has a higher deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. While the employee premium is lower, you have to pay more health care—and prescription drug—costs yourself (your deductible) before the plan starts to pay its share.

What makes this type of plan unique is that it pairs with a special HSA, or health savings account. If you choose the HDHP, you are eligible to participate in a triple tax-advantaged HSA to help fund your out-of-pocket health care costs. For those making $60,000 per year or less, JHU will contribute to your HSA to help offset the higher deductible. In addition, you can contribute to your HSA on a before-tax basis. Unlike contributions to a flexible spending account, the HSA funds belong to you and roll over from year to year, so you can choose to use them for eligible expenses now or save them for later.

The university believes that the introduction of its HDHP option will better meet the diverse needs of its workforce and will allow employees to take more control of their health care spending.

Other important changes for 2020

  • In line with previous years, there will be modest increases to your medical plan premiums for 2020.

  • Discovery Benefits will replace WageWorks as the administrator for health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts, as well as commuter benefits, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Discovery Benefits will provide enhanced resources, tools, and payment options for added convenience. If you enroll in the health care FSA for 2020, you will receive a Discovery Benefits debit card to pay for your out-of-pocket expenses.

  • A new limited-purpose FSA will be available to those who elect the high-deductible health plan medical option. This account can only be used to pay for eligible vision and dental expenses.

  • The health care FSA maximum employee contribution will increase (the new limit will be announced by the IRS this fall). As a reminder, you must re-enroll in the health care FSA and the dependent care FSA each year.

  • As announced last year, the United ConcordiaPLUS Dental HMO will be eliminated for 2020. If you are currently enrolled in this plan, you will automatically be covered under the Delta Dental Standard Plan (without orthodontia coverage) for 2020 if you do not actively enroll.

  • While your voluntary benefits have not changed, the enrollment process has been simplified. If you wish to elect commuter, legal, critical illness, and/or accident insurance, you can make your choices through the Benefits & Worklife enrollment site.

  • Finally, a new, interactive decision support tool called ALEX is being introduced to help you choose the medical and dental plans that are right for you.

Many of your other benefits offerings, including Delta Dental, EyeMed Vision, Securian Financial life and AD&D insurance, and the Hartford disability options will remain unchanged for 2020.

You are encouraged to learn all you can about your health plan options so that you can make informed decisions and make the most of your benefits. Benefits & Worklife will be providing detailed communications before and during Annual Enrollment, along with the new ALEX tool, to help you with your choices.