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Group Health Updates

Earlier this year, Group Health announced it had agreed to be acquired by Kaiser Permanente. Currently, there is no impact to your Group Health Access PPO or Essentials plans. Group Health continues to move forward in the process to join Kaiser Permanente, and if approved, will unite to offer high quality, affordable care and coverage. You can look forward to improvements and resources focused on serving and creating healthier communities. Wondering what this might mean for you? Click here to find out.

Group Health Pharmacy Benefit for Access PPO

A reminder for those employees who are enrolled on the Access PPO plan that all prescriptions are processed through OptumRX. This adds an extended network of pharmacies to use when picking up prescriptions. Access PPO members can use the OptumRx pharmacies in addition to the Group Health pharmacies. To find Group Health Rx information, click here.

Individual Medical Coverage - When is it the Right Choice?

Are you looking for an alternative to PLU’s group plan for your children and spouse or partner?

As a reminder, Health Care Reform included an Individual Mandate requiring everyone to have health care coverage, either through one’s employer or directly with an insurer. PLU’s Medical Plans satisfy this mandate, for those who are eligible and enrolled.

The next Qualified Health Plan Open Enrollment with the Exchange is November 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017.  Individual plans, outside of the Exchange, have a similar “open enrollment” window.  However, if you’re terminating employment or coming off COBRA coverage, you will have 60 days from the last day of coverage to get enrolled on an individual plan of your choosing.

There are a variety of plan designs, identified as bronze, silver, etc.  Plan costs differ based on the enrollee’s age and the plan design. For example, let’s say you have a child, age 20, who needs coverage.  She can be enrolled on your PLU plan as your dependent.  Or, she could enroll through the Exchange.  If she selects a Group Health Core Flex Silver plan with a $1,250 deductible and she is a non-smoking female, the premium could be as low as $139.20 per month.

If eligible employees or dependents opt out of PLU’s health plan, plans are available through Washington State’s HealthPlanFinder, but subsidized coverage would not be available.

Albers & Company is our benefits broker. Albers & Company has partnered with Bob May, a local independent agent specializing in Individual Medical and Medicare products, to give you peace of mind through times of transition. Bob has over 30 years experience in the health insurance industry and is committed to finding the best coverage for you and your family’s needs. Please contact Bob May today for more information on your Individual or Medicare insurance needs:

Bob May |
Local: 253-460-9444 | Toll Free: 888-770-0234

New Willamette Office Opens

Willamette’s newest Puget Sound office opened this September – conveniently located just off of I-5 in Tacoma. This new location includes technology updates, increased appointment access (including every Saturday), complete specialty services, and expanded parking – making trips to the dentist that much easier and more convenient.

The new expanded office replaces two nearby locations – the Sixth Avenue location in Tacoma and the Bridgeport Way location in Lakewood. All patients from the Sixth Avenue and Bridgeport Way locations were automatically transferred to the new Tacoma office unless they chose to move to a Willamette Dental Group location closer to their home or work.

Click here for driving directions to the new location.


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.

The cost of this benefit to employees is only $21.08 for the fiscal year. Bring your valid PLU ID to the Concierge Desk in the University Center to purchase an ORCA card.

To renew your ORCA card for fiscal year 2016-2017 (June-May), you’ll need to visit the Concierge Desk to fill out a renewal form and pay the employee portion of the benefit. You will not receive a new ORCA card. A valid PLU ID and ORCA card are required at the time of renewal. Please make it clear to the Concierge Desk staff that you are renewing your ORCA card.

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

Why Get a Flu Vaccine?

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for nearly everyone 6 months or older. Influenza vaccines help give protection against the 3 or 4 viruses expected to be most prevalent in the coming season. These viruses can make even healthy people very sick and lead to thousands of hospitalizations and deaths every year.

A few people should not get the flu shot. Talk to your health care provider if you have a history of allergic reactions to the vaccine components, have had the paralytic illness Guillain-Barre syndrome, or you are moderately or severely ill. The vaccine is not approved for children less than 6 months old.

For the rest of us, the best time for vaccination against seasonal flu is autumn. Your protection starts in 1 to 2 weeks and generally lasts at least 6 to 8 months.

– Elizabeth Smoots, MD, FAAFP

Did You Know?

You already know that the deductibles on PLU medical plans are calculated on a calendar year basis, right? However, do you know there is a 3-month carryover on individual (not family) deductible expenses, which means claims incurred in October, November, and December that are applied to your 2016 deductible will also be applied to your 2017 deductible? This carryover occurs regardless of whether you meet your calendar year individual deductible or not.

Sign-ups for Fall Wellness Classes Still Welcome

We are currently offering the following fall classes: Strength & Conditioning, Walk Live, Core Fitness, and Cardio Kick. Please see our Wellness page for a list of current classes, their descriptions, and to sign up.

2015- 2016 Summary Annual Report

For PLU’s Medical, Dental, Life, Supplemental Life, LTD, and Travel Accident Plans

This is a summary of the annual report of PLU’s Medical, Dental, Life, Supplemental Life, LTD and Travel Accident Plans, EIN 91-0565571, Welfare Plans, for the period June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016. The annual reports have been filed with the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), as required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA).

Insurance Information
PLU had contracts with the following insurance companies to pay claims incurred under the terms of the plans as follows:

Insurance CompanyPlan #Type of ClaimsPremiums PaidTotal Claims Paid
Principal Life Insurance Company501 & 503Long Term Disability, Life, AD&D, Supplemental Life$272,250Claims data not available
Group Health Options, Inc.504Medical $3,694,815*$3,624,627
Gerber Life & Accident Insurance Company508Travel Accident$1,275Claims data not available
Delta Dental of Washington510Dental$307,575*$269,150
Willamette Dental Plan510Dental$169,993*$144,916

*Estimated net premiums (gross premiums minus administrative expenses, Affordable Care Act taxes and Washington State premium taxes, as applicable).

Your Rights to Additional Information:
You have the right to receive a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, on request.

To obtain a copy of the full annual report, or any part thereof, write or call the office of Teri Phillips who is the Associate VP of Human Resources, Pacific Lutheran University, Human Resources Department, Tacoma, WA 98447, (253) 535-7185. There will be no charge to cover copying costs for the full report or any part thereof.

You also have the right to receive from the Plan Administrator, on request and at no charge, a statement of the assets and liabilities of the plan and accompanying notes, or a statement of income and expenses of the plan and accompanying notes, or both. If you request a copy of the full annual report from the Plan Administrator, these two statements and accompanying notes will be included as part of that report.

You also have the legally protected right to examine the annual report at the main office of the Plan (Pacific Lutheran University, Human Resources Department, Tacoma, WA 98447) and at the U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., or to obtain a copy from the U.S. Department of Labor upon payment of copying costs. Requests to the Department should be addressed to: Public Disclosure Room, N-5638, Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210.

Tuition Benefits

Attention: Parents of High School Seniors

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A reminder to all faculty and staff with dependent high school seniors who are considering the Tuition Exchange or ELCA programs for 2017-2018: it is not too early to apply. In fact, we encourage you to make application a priority this fall, as some of the schools’ 2017-2018 deadlines are before December. Remember, these programs are highly competitive and this is not a guaranteed benefit.

For more information on the Tuition Exchange program, visit If you are interested in applying for either program, you must complete an application.

Please call Gretchen in Human Resources at ext. 7329 to help you through the process, answer questions, or to request a list of participating ELCA schools.

Title IX

PLU has adopted a Mandatory Reporting policy under Title IX. At PLU all employees are mandatory reporters; each of us is obligated to report incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual misconduct of which we become aware. This obligation extends to all of us (except the Health Center, Counseling Center, Campus Pastor, and the Victim Advocates – these entities are considered confidential reporting sources) because of the University’s responsibility under Title IX.

For more information on Title IX, please visit PLU’s Title IX site.

Book Discussion

This fall, members of the of the Title IX Working Group will be leading a discussion of the book Missoula, Rape and Justice System in a College Town by Jon Krakauer. If you are interested in participating, please email

Development Day Presenters Welcome

Personal and professional development day at PLU on Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (Photo/John Froschauer)

If you and/or your department are interested in presenting a workshop as part of the Personal and Professional Development Day in Spring 2017, please let us know. All faculty and staff will be invited to participate in a variety of sessions.

Human Resources will welcome workshop proposals through November 1st. To submit your proposal, please email a one-paragraph description of your workshop, including the names of the presenter/s, to Laura Silcox at

Title IX Working Group

  • Michelle Ceynar, Professor of Psychology
  • Dawn Cuthbertson, Gender-Based Violence Advocate
  • Keith Cooper, Associate Professor of Philosophy
  • Eva Frey, Dean of Students
  • Connie Gardner, Associate Director for Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Miya Higashiyama, student
  • Tolu Taiwo, Outreach and Prevention Coordinator, Center for Gender Equity
  • Ellie Lapp, ASPLU President
  • Teri Phillips, AVP Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator
  • Greg Premo, Director, Campus Safety
  • Joanna Royce-Davis, Vice President of Student Life
  • Jen Smith, Director, Center for Gender Equity
  • Elisabeth Esmiol Wilson, Assistant Professor, Marriage and Family Therapy

Title IX Resources

PLU is committed to preventing and eliminating sexual harassment and discrimination. There are a number of resources available to members of the campus community who (1) believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination or (2) have witnessed someone being subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination. Working together, we can maintain a respectful and healthy campus.

PLU's Military Affiliated Students

PLU is the closest university to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. We are proud to provide educational opportunities to military affiliated students and to support them in their academic and vocational pursuits.

Military students
Military affiliated students are in nearly every academic major at PLU. Some of the most popular include: Nursing, Business, Psychology, Biology, Geosciences, Communication, History, and Kinesiology.  Click here to learn more.

Welcome New Faculty!

New faculty outside of the Mortvedt Library, Fall 2016.

Emergency Resource Links

Please see the following resource links to prepare for personal, family, home and school emergencies:

Get Prepared for Winter Weather

Before winter arrives, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:

  • Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
  • Sand to improve traction.
  • Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
  • Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
  • Matches in a waterproof container.
  • Adequate clothing and blankets or sleeping bags to keep you warm.

Walk Like a Penguin on Dicey Ice

Winter weather can turn parking lots and sidewalks into treacherous territory, so it’s no surprise that slips and falls are some of the most frequent types of injuries that occur during the winter months. No matter how well the snow and ice is removed from walkways and parking lots, you’ll still encounter some slippery areas when walking outdoors in the winter.

Pavement that looks wet or dark may indicate the presence of ice. Often dew or water vapor freezes on cold surfaces, forming a thin layer of ice that can be nearly invisible. Make use of designated walkways and railings, go slowly, and keep your hands out of your pockets.

If you must cross an icy area, walk like a penguin.

  1. Spread your feet and bend your knees slightly to lower your center of gravity. – OR-
  2. Keep your feet about 12″ apart and take small, shuffling steps, aligning your feet after each step.
  3. Take the stair one step at a time. Use the handrail and plant both feet on a step before moving to the next.
  4. If you’re about to fall, lean forward to keep the back of your head and spine from hitting the pavement. Try to fall on your thigh, hip and shoulder and not on easily broken arms, knees, wrists or spine. And hard as it may be, relax your muscles as you fall. You’ll be less likely to get hurt.

Calendar of Events

October 3: Flu Shots

October 11-12: Individual Appointments with the TIAA-CREF Consultant

October 12: Campus-wide Lock Down Drill

October 19: Professional Development Opportunity – Conflict to Collaboration

November 15-16: Individual Appointments with the TIAA-CREF Consultant

November 24 – 25: Thanksgiving Break

December 15: Christmas Celebration

December 20-21: Individual Appointments with the TIAA-CREF Consultant

December 26 – January 2: Christmas Break

January 16: Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday

February 20: President’s Day