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Open Enrollment, the time for employees and retirees to review and confirm their 2022 health benefits, begins Oct. 25.

This year, Cardinal at Work is hosting hourlong Zoom information sessions to outline Stanford’s health plans and explain what to expect in 2022. Each meeting will end with a brief Q&A with representatives of University Human Resources.

It’s the time of year for university employees and Stanford retirees to review their health benefits, including adding or dropping eligible dependents from coverage, during Open Enrollment.

Stanford employees can change their health insurance benefits and add or drop dependents during Open Enrollment from Monday, Oct. 25, through Friday, Nov. 12. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Open Enrollment begins Oct. 25 and extends through Nov. 12 (11:59 p.m. Pacific Time). Changes to benefits take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

If employees and retirees choose not to act during Open Enrollment, their medical, dental and vision coverage will “roll over” and reflect the 2022 premiums, as long as they remain eligible for the plan.

Each year, employees must submit an application or re-enroll in the following plans: Health Savings Account; Health Care Flexible Spending Account; Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account and the Medical Contribution Assistance Program.

Open Enrollment is also the only time employees can enroll or disenroll in Critical Illness Insurance or Pre-Paid Legal Services provided by MetLife. Coverage for employees already participating in the plans will automatically roll over in 2022 with no rate increase.

University Human Resources provides extensive information on the Cardinal at Work Benefits & Rewards website and via a series of upcoming Zoom information sessions to help employees and retirees review and confirm their health and benefits plans.

After Nov. 12, the next opportunity to make changes in health plans will be during Open Enrollment in fall 2022, unless participants experience a qualifying life event, such as marriage, birth or adoption of a child, or a change to their job status.

What’s new in 2022

In 2022, Stanford is increasing its Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution to $850 (employee-only coverage) and $1,700 (family coverage). To receive these funds, employees enroll in the Healthcare + Savings High-Deductible Health Plan, make any election (even $0) to the HSA during Open Enrollment and set up an online HealthEquity account.

To support the university’s commitment to inclusivity, Stanford will no longer require a diagnosis of infertility to qualify for infertility benefits. The enhancement to infertility benefits applies to all medical plans and provides LGBTQ+ employees and their spouse or domestic partner access to services.

In 2022, the Child Care Subsidy Grant Program will provide up to $10,000 ($5,000 tax-free/$5,000 taxable) for dependents under age 13. The family household income threshold has increased to $200,000.

Employees will once again be able to carry over their full unused Health Care Flexible Spending Account and Dependent Day Care Flexible Spending Account balances from 2021 to 2022. This will be the last year for unlimited rollovers. Amounts carried over are not included in the $2,750 health care and $5,000 dependent day care contribution limits for 2022.

New decision-making tools

This year, Cardinal at Work is introducing two new tools to help everyone select the health plan that best fits their individual and family needs.

In addition to the University HR Service Team, which can help with the enrollment process, Stanford is providing access to Grand Rounds Health, whose staff specializes in helping people understand and navigate the complex healthcare system. During Open Enrollment, Grand Rounds will provide free, unbiased support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to Stanford employees and retirees.

To connect to Grand Rounds, call the University HR Service Team at (877) 905-2985 and press 1 to connect with a member of the company’s personal care team.

In addition, the My Benefits portal – which can be found on the Cardinal at Work Benefits & Rewards website – now offers the Pilot decision support tool, which is designed to make choosing a plan easier. Pilot provides personalized recommendations on health plans; even someone thinking about staying in the same plan can use the tool to ensure they’re enrolled in the plan that best suits their needs.

Medical, dental and vision plans

Stanford will continue to offer five medical plans for active employees in 2022: Kaiser Permanente HMO; Trio by Blue Shield; Healthcare + Savings; the ACA Basic High Deductible and Stanford Health Care Alliance.

The Kaiser HMO remains the lowest-cost plan, and employee-only coverage in Kaiser remains free for full-time employees.

In 2022, employee contribution rates will not increase for the following plans: Kaiser HMO; Trio and ACA Basic High-Deductible. Employee cost for coverage under the Healthcare + Savings Plan will decrease in 2022. Employee contributions to the Stanford Health Care Alliance plan will increase next year.

In 2022, both dental plans will cover mouthguards. The Enhanced Dental Plan will also cover replacement orthodontic retainers. These appliances will be covered at 80 percent, and the cost will be included in the calendar year maximum. Replacements will be covered once in five years. For the Basic Dental Plan, the calendar year maximum will increase to $1,200 from $1,000, providing a higher level of coverage.

Under the Vision Plan, the copay for eye exams will decrease to $10, and the copay for frames and lenses will increase to $25.

The university’s BeWell program website is being refreshed and will soon give visitors a better user experience. The program, which encourages Stanford community members to take charge of their well-being and make it an enjoyable part of life, provides convenient wellness activities – classes, webinars, services – to Stanford’s distributed workforce. BeWell continues to offer a $560 incentive to benefits-eligible employees.

Informational webinars and online resources

This year, Cardinal at Work will not be holding in-person or virtual Open Enrollment fairs.

Instead, benefits experts will hold hour-long Zoom information sessions to outline Stanford’s health plans and explain what to expect in 2022. Each meeting will close with a brief Q&A. Sessions are scheduled in late October and early November; view the employee schedule here and the retiree schedule here. The next employee session will take place at 1 p.m. on Oct. 28. The next retiree session will take place at 10 a.m. on Oct. 25.

The 2022 Open Enrollment Guidebook is available online and can be downloaded here.