Department ofHuman Resources

Good Fit

What’s new June 1, 2013?

Benefit Fair

Open Enrollment Update

Medical Plan Changes:

Faced with a proposed average increase of 11% as well as even higher costs for some, the PLU Benefits Committee reviewed the pros and cons of several plan modifications. After much discussion, the final recommendation approved by President's Council is to combine the two Alliant plans and maintain the current Essentials plan. As a result, the university contribution toward medical insurance will increase by 8%, individual premium increases will depend on your enrollment choice.

Effective June 1, 2013, PLU will offer two plans, a new Alliant Plus and Essentials. The Alliant Plus plan has a new combined benefit of the Alliant Select and the current Alliant Plus plans. The new Alliant Plus plan will offer choice of providers to those currently enrolled with Alliant Select. The new plan will mirror the current in-network benefit levels on Alliant Select. Current Alliant Select members will see an increase in the annual deductible.

Benefits on the Essentials plan remain unchanged.

New Alliant Plus Plan Changes:
Coinsurance – 100% in-network (was 90% for Alliant Plus)
Out-of-Pocket Maximum - $3,000 Individual, $6,000 Family (was $2,000 Individual, $4,000 Family)

Your benefits committee evaluated Group Health's medical plan renewal based on these facts:

  • Moving to two plans maintains the same providers and offers choice.
    • With the new Alliant Plus plan, members can receive services from Group Health, Virginia Mason, and any licensed provider.
    • Employees can travel anywhere and receive benefits.
    • If enrollees are going to school or living out-of-state, they receive benefits at the out-of-network level (80%). In-network benefits are available through Kaiser Permanente network (where available) if you are traveling, a temporary resident, or have a student in the area.
  • Small impact to premium contributions made by employees.
  • Enhanced in-network benefits to those already enrolled on the Alliant Plus plan.
  • Consolidating plans eases administration.

What does this mean to those currently enrolled on the Alliant Select Plan?
Those currently enrolled on the Alliant Select plan will need to make a choice between the new Alliant Plus plan and Essentials. A new enrollment form will be required. Of course, anyone can also choose to move between Alliant Plus and Essentials, also requiring a new enrollment form.

Click here to review a summary of the two plans and rates.

Our plans meet the requirements of health care reform (PPACA) and expand one benefit:

Women’s Preventive Care – Expanded women’s preventive care services include contraceptive drugs, devices and sterilization covered in full when using a Group Health provider.
Summary of Benefit Coverage (SBC) – This is a new layout and description of your health plans required by PPACA. There is also a glossary of terms posted to your Employee Benefit Center.

Dental Plan Rate Reductions:

After two years of no increases, the dental insurance rates are decreasing and benefits will not change. Washington Dental premiums will decrease by 4.4% and Willamette premiums are decreasing by 5%.

Click here to review a summary of the two plans and rates.

Benefits Fair

Be sure to join us at the Benefits Fair, Tuesday, April 9 in Anderson University Center CK East from 9am-2pm.

This is a great opportunity to ask questions, talk with PLU's benefit plan carriers and pick up forms. Human Resources would also be happy to talk with you one-on-one. For more information, contact Aileen at ext. 8146.

Medical Plan Comparison Tool

A family of four can save $5,915 in premium savings next plan year by switching from the Alliant Plus to the Essentials plan, before any claims are paid. That savings can be used to pay claims if, or when, they happen.

Everyone's different. Perhaps for you it's better to enroll in the low deductible plan, although you will pay more in monthly premiums; but then you know if you have a claim it will be paid with nominal cost to you. Others should consider raising the deductible, like many people do with their auto or homeowner's insurance.

What's best for you? Now you can find out - it's easy using the medical plan comparison tool - click here and see for yourself, join us at this year's benefits fair, or make an appointment for a one-on-one conversation and we'll walk you through it.

Retirement Plan Seminar

  tiaa-cref   Mutnomah Group

You may have questions about which investment products will best help you reach your retirement goals. TIAA-CREF and Multnomah Group will have a one-hour presentation on April 11, 10-11am, in Anderson University Center Room 201. Topics that will be covered include the PLU Retirement Plan investment menu and cross contract transfer options.

Benefits Fair

This year PLU employees are asked to make a choice between two medical plans during April, PLU’s open enrollment month. Changes take effect June 1. To aid you in making those important decisions, PLU is offering several resources:
Thursday, April 4 from 8:45-9:45am and again from 10-11am in Anderson University Center Room 201 – Elizabeth Thomas, from PLU’s benefits advisor (Albers & Company), and Teri Phillips, Human Resources, will hold two identical group educational sessions to assist anyone with questions and making the transition from the Alliant Select plan.
PLU’s HR website – for more information and a “calculator” that allows you to input your individual information about your family and anticipated claims to see which plan is the best option for you.

Open Enrollment - What you need to do by April 30

Enroll into the medical and/or dental plan; switch plans or carriers; add/drop coverage for dependent(s) and terminate your coverage. All employees currently enrolled in the Alliant Select plan MUST complete a new enrollment form. If you are currently enrolled on the Alliant Plus or GH Essentials plan, no action is needed on your part unless you are interested in exploring a change in medical or dental plans.
New and current participants must submit a new enrollment form to elect or continue using the program. A new form is required by the IRS every year. Those on the GH Essentials plan with employee only coverage must also submit a new form.
Evaluate your insurance needs for yourself and your dependents. See the article on The Hartford Supplemental Life insurance program for more details.
Submit dependent tuition remission applications for classes taken from June 2013 - May 2014.

Benefits open enrollment is April 1-30. All forms are due in Human Resources by April 30. Enrollment changes made will become effective June 1. Medical and dental premiums for June coverage will be deducted from your May paycheck. Supplemental life insurance premiums and the first monthly contribution to 2013-2014 FSA reimbursement accounts will be deducted from your June paycheck.

Enrollment forms, plan information and premium rates are available on the Human Resources website and in the online Good Fit Benefit Book (once you are in the Benefits Book, click on "Open Enrollment" in the left hand menu). Prefer to talk? Join us at the Benefits Fair or call Aileen at ext. 8146.

Talk to your Benefits Committee

Share your perspectives with PLU's current Benefits Committee - we welcome your input. Contact us:

Committee Member
Laurie Murphy, Faculty Affairs Representative
Alexandra Lampert, Admin Staff Council Representative
Aileen Ochinang, Human Resources
Teri Phillips, Director, Human Resources
Darren Struthers, Admin Staff Council Representative
Dana Zaichkin, Member-at-Large

What's New at Group Health?

• Group Health has a mobile app to help you e-mail your doctor, see results and more. Click here to download the app for free and for more information.
• Group Health’s new 24/7 Urgent Care Center opened this past October. Located at 209 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, Washington. Click here to learn more.
• First Health Network has replaced Beechstreet. While First Choice Health Network is accessible in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Oregon, First Health Network is contracted to cover employees or dependents that reside or seek services in all other states. First Health providers can be found at

Sustainable Retirement

Did you know that the PLU retirement plan offers a Social Choice Account through TIAA- CREF? The account favors companies that are:

• Strong stewards of the environment;
• Committed to serving local communities where they operate and to human rights and philanthropy;
• Committed to higher labor standards for their own employees and those in the supply chain;
• Dedicated to producing high-quality and safe products; and
• Managed in an exemplary and ethical manner.
For more information, please visit and click on the CREF Social Choice Account.

Health Care Reform in 2013:

Will anything change with my current insurance?

Some changes can already be seen. Under previous provisions, children up to 26 years of age can be covered under their parents’ plans, the lifetime cap on coverage was eliminated, and preventive care is covered at 100%. What changes can you expect for the coming year? 2013 can be considered a preparation year for the provisions set to go into effect January 1, 2014. Here is a breakdown of what changes you can expect for 2013: women’s preventive care coverage will be enhanced and expanded, a new standard summary of benefits and coverage in addition to a glossary of terms will be provided to plan participants (in the Good Fit Benefit Book), the cost of healthcare will be reported on W-2s, and a potential increase in the Medicare Tax for high income earners (employees earning $200,000 as an individual).

The Hartford Supplemental Life Insurance Program:

Opportunity to purchase additional life insurance without evidence of insurability (EOI)

Every year at open enrollment all employees have an opportunity to purchase/increase their Supplemental Life insurance amount by up to $20,000 (not to exceed the guaranteed issue amount of $200,000) and up to $10,000 for a spouse/domestic partner (not to exceed the guaranteed issue amount of  $50,000), without having to answer a health questionnaire (EOI).

Any amounts purchased in excess of the $20,000 per employee ($10,000 for a spouse/domestic partner) or over the $200,000 guaranteed issue amount ($50,000 for a spouse/domestic partner) will be subject to evidence of insurability. The maximum purchase amount cannot be more than the lesser of 5 times your annual salary or $500,000 ($250,000 for a spouse/ domestic partner).


1. Elizabeth already has $50,000 of supplemental life insurance and wishes to increase her coverage by an additional $20,000 during open enrollment. She can do so without completing the health questionnaire. She has a guaranteed issue of the additional $20,000, which would make her total benefit amount $70,000 effective June 1, 2013.

2. Elizabeth has no supplemental life insurance and wishes to purchase $150,000 during open enrollment. She will need to complete the health questionnaire for $130,000 of the life insurance ($150,000 - $20,000 guaranteed issue amount). If approved for the additional $130,000, Elizabeth would have $150,000 of supplemental life insurance effective June 1, 2013. NOTE: this is true as long as the $150,000 does NOT exceed 5 times Elizabeth’s annual salary.

3. Elizabeth already has $200,000 of supplemental life insurance and wishes to increase her coverage by an additional $50,000 during open enrollment. She will need to complete the health questionnaire for the entire $50,000 of additional life coverage because it is over the $200,000 guaranteed issue amount.

4. Elizabeth already has $50,000 of supplemental life insurance and wishes to add $25,000 for her spouse during open enrollment. Elizabeth’s spouse would need to complete the health questionnaire for $15,000 of the additional life insurance ($25,000 - $10,000 guaranteed issue amount). If approved, her spouse would have $25,000 (50% of employee’s amount) of supplemental life insurance effective June 1, 2013.

Did You Know?

The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Reimbursement Plan tracking period runs from June 1 through May 31.  Claims must be submitted to American Fidelity by August 31 to be eligible for reimbursement.  Remember to submit a new enrollment form for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

Also, if you had a change in family status, remember to update your beneficiaries on your life insurance and retirement plan.

Tuition Remission
for 2013-2014

Dependent tuition remission applications for classes taken from June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2014 are due in Human Resources by April 30, 2013. Only one tuition remission application needs to be completed each year. If there is no current, approved remission form on file by April 30, 2013, the remission benefit may be denied. 

Visit the Human Resources website for the dependent tuition remission policy and application. If you have questions, please call Gretchen Howell in Human Resources at ext. 7329.

Healthcare Coverage for New Dependents
If you have a change in the status of a dependent, it is required by PLU’s carriers and the IRS that you complete a new enrollment form within 31 days of the event.  An application for enrollment of a newborn or adoptive child must be made within 60 days of the date of birth or placement of the child. Failure to do this will result in changes being denied until the next Open Enrollment period.

FSA Reimbursement Plan

This plan has three components:

1. Premium Conversion Account – this allows for any premiums you pay for yourself or your dependents to be done on a pre-tax basis – you’re automatically enrolled to cover any out of pocket premiums to ensure you receive the tax savings.

2. Health Care Reimbursement Account – this is a great way to save taxes on planned medical, dental or vision expenses you will incur between June 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014.  Examples of reimbursement eligible expenses include your medical and dental plan deductibles, office call and prescription drug copays, and costs for eyeglasses or contact lenses not covered under the vision benefit. Visit for more details. You or your eligible dependents (defined by the IRS) do not have to be covered on PLU’s benefit plans to be eligible for reimbursement under this plan.

3. Dependent Care Reimbursement Account – if you have a qualifying dependent in daycare you can utilize this account to be reimbursed for daycare expenses.  

Please Note:  Now is the time to make new elections for the Health Care and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts for the new plan year beginning June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2014.

For those who elect "employee-only-coverage" on the GH Essentials Plan, PLU will make a monthly contribution into the Health Care Reimbursement Account of $75 ($900 per year).

Share Your Zipcar Experience and Win $50 in LuteBucks

Zipcar Promotion

Through the month of April, you have the opportunity to win $50 in LuteBucks. You simply need to share your Zipcar experience by taking a short survey. You’ll also earn a $10 Zipcar driving credit just for participating!

To be eligible, you must be PLU staff, faculty or a student and have an active Zipcar account. If you don’t have a Zipcar account, visit the Commute website's Zipcar page for more information or to learn how to join PLU’s Zipcar network.

The survey deadline is April 30. If you have any questions, please contact the University Transportation Coordinator, Gretchen Howell at ext. 7329 or


PLU offers regional transit passes to benefits eligible employees. Faculty and staff receive their ORCA card preloaded with an annual pass good from June through May. The majority of the pass’ cost is covered by PLU, but a small fee is charged to employees. Bring your valid PLU ID to the Concierge Desk in the University Center to purchase an ORCA card.

ORCA card

The benefit will expire May 31, 2013 for faculty and staff who currently have ORCA cards. Our contract for next fiscal year is currently under negotiations. More information will be provided in the coming months. To renew for the next fiscal year (June 2013-May 2014), you’ll need to visit the Concierge Desk in May to fill out a renewal form and pay the employee portion of the benefit.

Visit for more information. Contact Gretchen at ext. 7329 with questions.

First Aid/CPR/AED/BBP Training Opportunity

Free and open to all PLU students, faculty and staff, PLU Environmental, Health and Safety is pleased to sponsor the following upcoming training opportunity:
First Aid/CPR/AED/BBP Training

Michael Newhouse, Firefighter / Paramedic of First Aid Northwest will be facilitating this training course in two duplicate sessions:

- Friday: April 26, 2013 from 8:30am - 4:00pm; and
- Saturday: April 27, 2013 from 8:30am - 4:00pm.

Both training sessions will be held in the Anderson University Center Room 133. Two year American Heart Association Certification will be issued at completion of the course. Space is limited to 25 participants for each session and filled on a first come, first reserved basis. To secure a spot, RSVP by April 22 to indicating which session you wish to attend. A confirmation reply will be sent to all that register.

Please share this information with your staff, colleagues, committee members and/ or organizations at an upcoming meeting or event. Thank you, in advance, for your attention and spreading the word on this upcoming training opportunity.

Please do not hesitate to contact Environmental, Health and Safety at or Joe Bell at ext. 7233 with any questions you may have.

2013 Annual Fire Marshall Life Safety Building Inspection

PLU has received notification that the Pierce County Fire Marshal’s Office will initiate their annual life safety building inspections beginning the last 2 weeks of April and continuing through the end of May.

Please complete a survey of your work and storage space for the following conditions:

• Extension cords used for permanent electrical wiring:
   - Power strip plugged into extension cord vs. directly to outlet;
   - Appliances, office and audio-video equipment plugged into extension cord.
• Multiple power strips plugged into one another; otherwise known as "daisy chaining."
• Space heaters not equipped with an automatic tip-over/shut-off device.
• Electrical appliances (i.e. toasters and fragrance potpourri hot plates/plug-ins) located in office suites and rooms.
• Equipment stored in front of electrical panels and fire extinguishers.
• Books and miscellaneous combustible materials stored closer than 18" to the ceiling and fire suppression sprinkler heads.
• General housekeeping: The first impression of a neat and tidy work area sets the tone for the inspection.

Please notify your staff and colleagues of the Fire Marshall’s visit. Making appropriate corrections now will go a long way in making the Fire Marshal's visit positive. Thank you all, in advance, for your efforts to this request.

If You Haven’t Done So Yet -
Please Complete the Great Colleges Survey

PLU in Spring

PLU is participating in The Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For program, a study designed to gather benchmarking data within higher education and to recognize institutions that have built great workplaces.

Part of the program involves an employee survey distributed to all with benefits faculty and staff on March 15, 2013 (the survey is administered by ModernThink, and it came from their email at The deadline to complete the survey is Monday, April 15, 2013. A big thank you to those of you who have already completed the survey, we appreciate you taking the time to share your views and opinions.

If you have not yet completed the survey, please take a moment to do so. We value your feedback. The results will be factored into the overall scoring process that will ultimately determine the institutions recognized. The Chronicle will publish the findings this summer in a special Academic Workplace supplement, due to be released at the end of July.

We encourage everyone’s participation! A high response rate helps ensure accurate results and demonstrates the commitment of our workforce. Whether or not our institution is recognized, we can learn from the feedback and make improvements for our future.

Thank you in advance for your participation. Please contact Teri Phillips at ext. 7187 if you have any questions.

Green Dot

Have you seen the Green Dots?  Have you wondered what they are about? The dots are the symbol of the aptly named Green Dot Campaign and part of PLU’s efforts to prevent and end power-based personal violence in our campus community and beyond.

We invite and encourage faculty and staff to hear more about Green Dot at PLU. Come to the Green Dot Luncheon sponsored by Human Resources on Wednesday, April 17 from 12-1pm at the University House.

Email to RSVP or come by our table at the Benefits Fair to sign up. For more information on the Green Dot Campaign visit

Updated Occupational Health, Safety, and Accident Prevention Manual

PLU’s written Occupational Health, Safety and Accident Prevention Manual was initially developed in 1996 and subsequently updated in 2004. PLU’s Safety Committee completed a comprehensive review and has updated the manual to ensure consistency with current WISHA standards. You can review the chapters at Occupational Health and Safety Manual.

The health and safety of all faculty, staff, and students of PLU is of primary importance. The objective of PLU’s Occupational Health, Safety and Accident Prevention Program is to reduce the number of disabling injuries and illnesses. To be successful, the program must embody a community safety culture toward injury and illness prevention. It requires cooperation in all safety and health matters, not only between leadership and staff, but also between each person and their fellow colleagues. Only through a cooperative effort can an exceptional safety record be established and preserved.

If have any questions regarding safety concerns, speak with your supervisor, Safety Committee Representatives or call the EHS Manager at ext. 7233.

Congratulations 2012 Distinguished Staff and Administrator Award Winners

Distinguished Staff and Administrators
From left
: President Krise; Laura Fuhrman, Human Resources; Dana McDonald, Residential Life; Jennifer Thomas, Athletics; Audrey Thornburg, Biology