United’s Annual Benefits Open Enrollment for 2012 will begin on November 10th and close on November 29th, 2011. United has mailed a benefits preview to all Flight Attendants and Retirees, highlighting changes for 2012. Soon, United will also be mailing a Benefits decision guide with more specific information and instructions for the enrollment process. Individualized enrollment worksheets are not being sent this year. Flight Attendants will need to access a computer or call the Benefits Service Center for assistance. A final benefits confirmation statement will be mailed in early December, with an opportunity to make changes during a December correction period.
Benefits are protected by our Contract
It is extremely important that our benefits are protected by Contract language. The Traditional PPO Medical plan and Traditional Dental plan, part of the upcoming Annual Enrollment, are protected within our current Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Contract outlines deductibles, co-insurance amounts, and out of pocket maximums. The Contract also stipulates a 7% cap on year-over-year for monthly premium increases. When comparing benefits given to groups that do not have the protections provided by a labor contract, we pay less money out of pocket for our benefits, and in some case this can mean savings of thousands of dollars annually.
For 2012, United is moving the non represented employees to the Continental model of benefits. They would not be making that move unless it was worth it to United Airlines, not the employees.
Change to United’s Benefits Administrator
New for 2012, United has selected a single Benefits Administrator, AON/Hewitt for the “New United”. Enrollment for elections this year will be made on AON/Hewitt’s web-based platform called “Your Benefits Resources” (YBR). This website adds features that have not been available in the past. This includes comparing plans and being able to see if a specific doctor or provider is in the network of a plan you are considering. You can access this site after you log into SkyNet and then click on the “Flying Together” home page once open enrollment begins.
Call center assistance for enrollment support, questions, benefit information, and plan descriptions will be provided by AON/Hewitt 800-651-1007. For International based Flight Attendants, these phone numbers are available:
Germany 0800 000 4878
Japan 012 067 9100
UK 0800 285 392
Other countries call (+1) 646 254 3463
The YBR site will also be used for adding dependents to insurance benefits effective 2012 and onward. If you do not log on to change your benefits, the default is to keep benefits you currently have. This includes no coverage, if that is your current election. If the elections you have for 2011 are not available for 2012, your default coverage will be the replacement plan that United has selected. As in years past, Flexible Spending Account elections do not carry over from year to year. You must enroll every year for Flexible Spending Account benefits.
United has selected Medco as the continuing prescription drug administrator for the Traditional PPO plan. Premiums have increased for maintenance prescriptions in 2012 by the maximum Contract allowable 7% year over year increase. The rates for 2012 will be $25 for a 90-day supply of generic drugs, and $80 for name brand drugs.
Flexible Spending Account
The maximum allowable amount for 2012 Flexible Spending Accounts is $10,000, and $5,000 is allowed for dependent daycare accounts. New for 2012 is the ability to choose between automatic crossover and a debit card to make payments from your flexible spending account. You can make the election for either of this during the open enrollment process on YBR.
2012 HMO Changes
United has informed us that for 2012, certain HMO offerings will be replaced with an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) called “Aetna Select.” The difference between a traditional HMO and an EPO is that there is a national network that can be used. These EPO’s will have identical plan designs as the HMOs they are replacing and contributions are determined in the same way as other HMO contributions are determined; by a comparison to the cost of the contractual Traditional PPO plan. This comparison allows the majority of HMOs and the Aetna Select EPO to be offered with little or no monthly contribution. Eligibility for HMOs and EPOs are determined by the zip code of your permanent address on file with United.
If you are currently in an HMO that is being replaced, we expect United to support any questions and information requests you have during this year’s annual open enrollment. Here are the HMOs which are being replaced with the Aetna Select EPO for 2012:
Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO of Florida, North Carolina, and Minnesota
PacifiCare Northern and Southern California
Health Alliance Plan in Michigan
United will continue to offer both the Traditional Dental plan and an Aetna Dental HMO. The Aetna Dental HMO will have its $5 co-pay eliminated in 2012.
2012 Vision Plan expansion
For 2012 United will be offering Active employees 3 different Vision plans (Retirees will continue to be offered one). Two of the plans are with Vision Service Plan (VSP), and a third plan is with Superior Vision.
Direct Billed Participants
For Flight Attendants on Voluntary Furlough, Leaves, and for retired Flight Attendants who are direct billed for their premium payments, a transition to AON/Hewitt for billing will be effective January 1, 2012. A letter outlining the changes will be included in the benefit decision guides.
Billing for the month is mailed just prior to the start of the month, with a due date on the first of the month. Through the YBR website, you will be able to see current billing, set up recurring bank account deductions, and one time payments. If you currently have direct deductions for billing with ADP, there should be a direct transition to AON/Hewitt’s system.
United is holding benefits fairs throughout the system which began in late October and will continue through November 22, 2012. United’s Vendors will have brochures available outlining plan designs, and be available to answer questions. A schedule is available on United’s Flying Together home page.