Department ofHuman Resources

Good Fit

What's New June 1, 2014?

Medical Plan ChangesBenefits Fair

Faced with a proposed average increase of 11%, 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 continue to offer two health plans with modified benefits. The benefit modifications were due largely to Health Care Reform, Group Health’s mandated modifications, and PLU’s suggested change to bring our benefit package more in line with the marketplace. The university’s contribution towards medical insurance will increase by 7.4%. Individual premium increases will depend on your enrollment choice.

Effective June 1, 2014, PLU will continue to offer two medical plans: Alliant Plus and Group Health Essentials. The Alliant Plus plan will see an increase in the deductible and out-of-pocket maximum as well as the addition of a third-tier pharmacy benefit for non-preferred prescriptions. The Group Health Essentials plan will see an increase in the out-of-pocket maximum. The emergency room copay for both plans will increase from $100 to $150.

Alliant Plus Plan Changes
  • Deductible – $500 Individual, $1,000 Family (was $350 Individual, $700 Family). NOTE: PLU implemented this change to align with the market.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum - $3,500 Individual, $7,000 Family (was $3,000 Individual, $6,000 Family). NOTE: Due to Health Care Reform the out-of pocket maximum now includes the deductible, office visit copays, and prescription drug copays – this is an enhanced benefit as the deductible and copays were not included in the out-of-pocket maximum in the past.
  • Addition of a 3rd Tier Prescription Benefit for Non-Preferred Drugs - $50 (in-network) / $55 (out-of-network). NOTE: This change is due to Group Health’s contract mandate.
  • Emergency Room Copay - $150 (was $100). NOTE: The increase in the Emergency Room copay is a decision that Group Health has made for all groups. 
  • Vision Care Optical Hardware - Members under age 19 receive 1 pair of glasses (frames & lenses) per year OR contact lenses, with no dollar limit. NOTE: Due to Health Care Reform pediatric vision coverage must be offered to children younger than 19.
Group Health Essentials Plan Changes
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum - $3,000 Individual, $6,000 Family (was $2,000 Individual, $4,000 Family). NOTE: Due to Health Care Reform the Out-of-Pocket Maximum now includes the deductible, office visit copays, and prescription drug copays – this is an enhanced benefit as the deductible and copays were not included in the out-of-pocket maximum in the past.
  • Emergency Room Copay - $150 (was $100). NOTE: The increase in the Emergency Room copay is a decision that Group Health has made for all groups.
  • New ID Cards - The group number for the Group Health Essentials plan will change effective June 1st. All members enrolled in this plan will receive new ID cards.
  • Vision Care Optical Hardware - Members under age 19 receive 1 pair of glasses (frames & lenses) per year OR contact lenses, with no dollar limit. NOTE: Due to Health Care Reform pediatric vision coverage must be offered to children younger than 19.
Dental Plans

Our benefits with Willamette Dental and Delta Dental of Washington will remain unchanged. Delta Dental of Washington premiums will increase by 9.5%. There are no rate changes for the Willamette Dental Plan.

Click here to review a summary of the medical and dental plan options and rates.

Benefits Fair

Join us at the Benefits Fair on Thursday, April 10 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.

Renaissance Chiropractic Center will be on site providing complimentary 10 minute seated massages, information on health and posture, and a raffle to win a complimentary massage at their clinic. A limited number of free sessions are available.

For more information on benefits or to reserve your massage session at the Benefits Fair, call Aileen at ext. 8146.

Group health logo
Medical Plan Comparison Tool

A family of four can save $6,278 in premium savings next plan year by switching from the Alliant Plus to the Group Health 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, claims will be paid with nominal cost to you. Others might consider raising the deductible, like many people do with their auto or homeowner's insurance.

What's best for you? Find out with the medical plan comparison tool.

Click here to investigate your options, join us at this year's Benefits Fair, or make an appointment for a one-on-one conversation - we'd be happy to walk you through it.

Delta Dental
Willamette Dental

Open Enrollment ResourcesPLU Zipcar

PLU's Annual Benefits Fair – April 10 from 9am - 2pm in the Anderson University Center, CK East. Representatives from our Employee Benefits program will be present to answer questions and help you understand your benefits. There will also be raffles, food, and fun!

PLU’s HR website – Find more information and a “calculator” that allows you to input your individual or family information and anticipated claims to help decide which plan is right for you.

Open Enrollment - What you need to do by April 30

Enroll in the medical and/or dental plan; switch plans or carriers; add/drop coverage for dependent(s), and terminate your coverage. 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 Group Health Essentials plan with employee-only coverage must also submit a new form.

You will automatically be enrolled in these benefits if eligible. As a reminder, employees may complete a new form to update beneficiaries and ensure we have accurate information on file.

Evaluate your insurance needs for yourself and your dependent(s). Refer to the section in this document on the Voluntary Term Life insurance program for more details.

Benefits open enrollment is April 1-30. All forms are due in Human Resources by April 30. Enrollment changes will become effective June 1. Medical and dental premiums for June coverage will be deducted from your May paycheck. Voluntary Term Life insurance premiums and the first monthly contribution to 2014-2015 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 Benefit Book, click on "2014 Open Enrollment" in the left hand menu). Prefer to talk? Join us at the Benefits Fair or call Aileen at ext. 8146.

Life, AD&D, and Long Term Disability Change to Principal Financial Group

Principal Logo

Effective with our June 1, 2014 renewal, PLU will be moving our Term Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Long Term Disability (LTD), and Voluntary Term Life insurance benefits to Principal Financial Group. Policy provisions and premium rates are comparable or better. 

Term Life and AD&D Benefit – Employees will continue to receive a benefit in the amount equal to 1 times your annual earnings, rounded to the next higher $1,000 to a maximum of $1,000,000 at no cost to you. Life benefit will be reduced at age 65 and above. Click here to view the Term Life and AD&D insurance summary.

LTD Benefit – Employees will continue to receive a benefit of 60% of your regular earnings to a maximum monthly benefit of $5,000 per month. You must be disabled for 90 days before benefits may be payable. Click here to view the LTD insurance summary.

Voluntary Term Life Insurance Program

CURRENT PARTICIPANTS - If you are currently enrolled in Voluntary Term Life insurance through The Hartford, your coverage will continue and will be moved automatically to the Principal Financial Group. You are not required to complete a new enrollment form unless you want to make a change to your policy amount or terminate your coverage. Information and enrollment forms can be found here.

During open enrollment all employees have an opportunity to purchase/increase their voluntary term 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 complete a statement of health (SOH).

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 an SOH. 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). Click here to download an SOH.


1. Elizabeth already has $50,000 of voluntary term life insurance and wishes to increase her coverage by an additional $20,000 during open enrollment. She can do so without completing an SOH. She has a guaranteed issue of the additional $20,000, which would make her total benefit amount $70,000 effective June 1, 2014.

2. Elizabeth has no voluntary term insurance and wishes to purchase $150,000 during open enrollment. She will need to complete an SOH for $130,000 of the life insurance ($150,000 - $20,000 guaranteed amount). If approved for the additional $130,000, Elizabeth would have $150,000 of voluntary term life insurance effective June 1, 2014. 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 voluntary term life insurance and wishes to increase her coverage by an additional $50,000 during open enrollment. She will need to complete an SOH 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 voluntary term life insurance and wishes to add $25,000 for her spouse during open enrollment. Elizabeth’s spouse would need to complete an SOH for $15,000 of the additional life insurance ($25,000 - $10,000 guaranteed amount). If approved, her spouse would have $25,000 (50% of employee’s amount) of voluntary term life insurance effective June 1, 2014. 


If you name a minor as a beneficiary, we encourage you to complete a Uniform Transfers to Minors Act form. This form allows you to designate a custodian for the minor.

If insurance proceeds are payable to a minor and you do not have a custodian named via the UTMA form, the payment of proceeds may be delayed until the court appoints a custodian for the child's estate. There is a cost involved to obtain custodianship. Naming a custodian at the time you make the designation via the UTMA form can help avoid delays and extra court costs associated with minor beneficiary claims.

Talk to Your Benefits Committee

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

Committee Member
Telephone Number
E-mail Address
Alexandra Lampert, Acquisitions Coordinator, Library Technical Services (ASC)
Adam Schreiber, Operations Supervisor, Campus Safety (ASC)
Dana Zaichkin, Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing
Rebekah Mergenthal, Assistant Professor of History (Faculty Affairs)
Aileen Ochinang, HR Specialist
Teri Phillips, Associate VP of Human Resources

What's New with
Health Care Reform?

• Preventive Care – Continues to be covered with no cost sharing. To ensure your preventive care visits are coded correctly, remember to indicate "preventive care" when making appointments for routine check-ups. Benefits will be paid at 100% with no copay. Exceptions apply for out-of-network services on the Alliant Plus plan.
• Individual Responsibility Penalty – Health Care Reform requires all individuals to have health insurance. For 2014, the penalty is 1% of one’s income and will increase to 2% for 2015. If you or any dependents are not enrolled through PLU’s benefits or through other group coverage, please read the next section for more information regarding the Washington Exchange.
• Open Enrollment State Exchanges – Any employees or dependents interested in enrolling in the State Exchange must be aware of timing for enrollment. If during the year, an individual has a loss of group coverage, they can enroll in an exchange plan at that time. Open enrollment for 2015 exchanges will run from November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015. For more information on the Washington Exchanges click here.

What's New at Group Health?

CareClinic - Group Health and Bartell Drugs have come together to provide convenient and immediate health care for minor medical needs and more. Click here for more information.
Go Green - New for all Group Health members: get the information you want by email. Simply log-in and click "Communication Preferences" to sign up.
Mobile App - Check out Group Health's mobile app to email your doctor, see lab results, and more! Click here to download the free app.

Important Notice Affecting the PLU Retirement Plan


You may have received a notice from TIAA-CREF detailing a change to several investment options. Effective March 7, 2014, four options were removed and replaced with new investment options.

What this means:

These new options may offer you more flexibility to create a retirement portfolio that’s tailored to your investment preferences and goals. See the chart below to understand how your assets and current contributions were affected.

What happened to the investments that were removed from the plan?

Current Assets: If you had any current assets in the investment options listed below, they were transferred to the replacement investments.

Future Contributions: If you were contributing to the investments that were removed, your contributions are now directed to the replacement investments.

What if you need help?

Not sure how these changes affected your retirement account? Get personalized retirement plan advice on the plan's investment options from a TIAA-CREF Financial Consultant. This service is available as part of your retirement plan, at no additional cost to you. To schedule a one-on-one counseling session, call (800) 732-8353, Monday through Friday, 8am - 8pm (ET). You can also schedule online here.

Investment Removed
Replacement Investment
TIAA-CREF S&P 500 Index Fund - Retirement Class
Vanguard 500 Index Admiral
TIAA-CREF Equity Index Fund - Retirement Class
Vanguard Total Stock Mkt Idx Adm
TIAA-CREF Small-Cap Blend Index Fund - Retirement Class
Vanguard Small Cap Index Adm
Hartford Small Company HLS IB Shares
Hartford Small Company HLS IA

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 2014-2015 fiscal year, available here.

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

Tuition Remission
for 2014-2015

Dependent tuition remission applications for classes taken from June 1, 2014 through May 31, 2015 are due in Human Resources by April 30, 2014. Only one tuition remission application needs to be completed each year. If there is no current, approved remission form on file by April 30, 2014, 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.

Benefits for Domestic Partners
Domestic partners qualify to enroll in PLU's benefits programs. For more information, click here.
Are you a Nursing Mother?
If you need a quiet place to express your milk, there's a private lactation room in the Mortvedt Library. Click here for details.

FSA Reimbursement Plan

This plan has three components:

1. Premium Conversion Account – this allows for any premiums you pay for yourself or your dependent(s) to be paid 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, 2014 and May 31, 2015.  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 dependent(s) (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, 2014 through May 31, 2015. Click here for the new FSA enrollment form.

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

Commute Survey Coming

Participation needed from
all commuters and non-commuters

We need your help in the upcoming commute survey. Your participation will help us make educated decisions about program changes. Also, as a major employer in Pierce County, we are required by Washington State to survey employees regarding commute trips to the worksite. 

You will be sent an email in mid-April with a link to the survey. The survey will only take a few minutes to complete.

All employees should complete the survey, not only those who use alternative means (other than driving alone) to get to work. With your help, we can reach the 70% response rate required by the state.

If you have any questions, please contact Gretchen Howell, University Transportation Coordinator at ext. 7329 or

For more information visit:


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. To purchase an ORCA card, bring your valid PLU ID to the Concierge Desk in the University Center.

ORCA cardThe benefit will expire May 31, 2014 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 2014-May 2015), please visit the Concierge Desk in mid-May to fill out a renewal form and pay the employee portion of the benefit.

If you have any questions, contact Gretchen at ext. 7329 or click here for more information.

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: May 2, 2014 from 8:30am - 4:00pm
- Saturday: May 3, 2014 from 8:30am - 4:00pm

Both training sessions will be held in the South Hall – 1st Floor Lounge. Two year American Heart Association Certifications 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, reply by April 25 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.

2014 Annual Fire Marshal Life Safety Building Inspection

The Pierce County Fire Marshal’s Office will initiate their annual life safety building inspections in the near future. Mark Carman, PLU's previous Deputy Fire Marshal, has retired. Deputy Fire Marshal Cole Roberts has been appointed to oversee life safety inspections at PLU.

Please survey your work and storage space for the following:

• 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 blocking 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.

Making appropriate corrections now will illustrate PLU's commitment to life safety protocols and create a positive impression for the new Deputy Fire Marshal. Thank you all, in advance, for your efforts to this request.

Zipcars are Available for University Business

PLU ZipcarsSign up for a free Zipcar departmental membership and you'll have easy access to cars by the hour, day, or overnight. Zipcars cost approximately $10 per hour and $75 per day (prices vary depending on the car) and there are 2 fuel-efficient cars parked in PLU's Library lot to choose from. Gas and insurance are included, so take advantage.

Need to attend an off-site meeting or conference, go for a team lunch, meet a colleague, or pick up supplies? Grab a Zipcar. Now you can carpool or bike to work and still have access to a car during the workday. Sharing cars reduces carbon emissions, eliminates the hassles of expense reports and parking, and saves money. For more information or to join PLU’s Zipcar network, visit or call Gretchen Howell at ext. 7329.

Congratulations 2014 Distinguished Staff and Administrator
Award Winners

Distinguished Staff and Administrators
From left
: Michael Larson, Marketing & Communications; Amber Baillon, Student Involvement & Leadership; Erin Hennessey, KPLU; Heather Cooper, Library Services

Assistance for On-Campus Conflicts

It's inevitable that disagreements will arise. When the prospect of resolving a conflict directly seems unlikely, the University Dispute Resolution Committee (UDRC) is here to help.

The UDRC is committed to reducing conflicts and helping members of the PLU community resolve disputes appropriately, expediently, and fairly. UDRC members are trained to provide mediation services, assist individuals in improving their conflict resolution skills, and investigate grievances. Support for on-campus conflicts is available to all faculty, staff, administrators, and students.

A list of committee members may be found here. Please refer to the Personnel Manual for PLU's Grievance Policies and Procedures.

PLU Athletics: 2014 Youth Sports Clinic

Saturday, May 3, 2014
9:00am - 1:00pm

PLU Athletics

Join PLU Athletics for a free sports clinic open to grades 1-6. The clinic will include five breakout sessions where PLU student-athletes will educate campers on various sports through practice drills and exercises. Hear from our athletes during lunch as they discuss living a healthy, active lifestyle. An athlete autograph session will follow.

All participants will receive a Youth Clinic t-shirt, jump rope, and lunch. To guarantee these items, please register online by Wednesday, April 16.

Registration: All participants must complete an online application. Click here and select "Youth Sports" to register.
Check-in: 8:30am in the Olson Auditorium Lobby, Bldg. 40
First Aid: A staff member certified in first aid will be on duty at all times.
Camp Staff: PLU Athletics staff & athletes

For further information, please contact Sarah Hebel at ext. 8504 or, or Jennifer Childress at ext. 7353 or