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Spring Good Fit 2018

Benefits Changes Effective June 1, 2018

The Benefits Committee reviewed several plan and premium modifications and the final recommendation supported by President’s Council is to continue to offer the three existing health plans with minimal changes. This year’s medical premium increase is 9.2% and will primarily be covered by PLU. Employees will see monthly premium increases of $5 (or $10 if also covering a spouse).

Medical Plan Options:

1)Access PPO Plan

2)Essentials/Core HMO Plan

  • Benefits remain the same.
  • $1,000 individual deductible.
  • PLU will be removing the Health Care FSA contribution for employees.
    • CHANGE: Effective June 1, 2018, the $65/month ($780/year) contribution from PLU is no longer available.
  • Click for the benefit summary and  Summary of Benefits and Coverage.

3)HSA HMO Plan

Monthly Premium Contribution (based on 92% of Access PPO employee premium):

1)Access PPO Plan – The employee premium will increase to $55.10 per month (from $50.10 previously) – still well below the average premium an employee makes for medical plan coverage.

2)Essentials/Core HMO Plan – The employee premium will increase to $20 per month (from $15 previously).

3)HSA HMO Plan – The employee premium will increase to $15 per month (from $10 previously).

NOTE: Premiums for employee only and employee + child/children enrollment will increase by $5 per month. Premiums that include spouse coverage will increase by $10 per month.

Details of the HSA HMO Plan:

PLU’s Health Savings Account (HSA) Medical Plan provides the opportunity to save in premium dollars for yourself and for your dependents. PLU will also make a contribution to your Health Savings Account (HSA). This will assist in offsetting the additional out-of-pocket expense incurred while enrolled on the Qualified High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA). NOTE: It is important before you enroll in the HSA medical plan that you verify your eligibility to participate in a Health Savings Account. See eligibility checklist below.

  • PLU will continue to contribute to the employee’s Health Savings Account. The contributions are: $75/month, $900/year (to those with employee coverage only) or $150/month, $1,800/year (to those with family coverage).
  • You, as a participant in the HSA can contribute in 2018 up to a combined total (Employer + Employee) of $3,450 to your HSA when enrolled as an employee only. You can contribute up to a combined total of $6,850 to your HSA account when enrolled as employee + dependent(s).
  • If you select this plan during open enrollment, you will have the opportunity to change your election amounts (payroll deductions) for the health savings account on a monthly basis. It will operate much like current elections for the retirement contributions; they can be changed monthly and are not tied exclusively to the annual open enrollment period.
  • Deductible:
    • $1,500 Individual (Employee only enrollment)
    • $3,000 Family (Family unit = Employee + 1 or more dependents). 
    • If you have other family members enrolled on the plan, the overall family deductible must be met before the plan begins to pay.
  • This plan acts as a Major Medical plan – all services except Preventive Care and Vision are subject to the deductible, including prescription drugs. After the deductible has been reached, the plan pays 80% (except in the case of prescriptions) when using a Kaiser Permanente Provider.
  • Out-of-Pocket Maximum Per Calendar Year: (This includes all cost shares – deductible, coinsurance, copays)
    • $3,500 Individual (Employee only enrollment)
    • $7,000 Family (Family Unit = Employee + 1 or more dependents)
  • Preventive Care: continues to be covered at 100%; deductible is waived. Preventive care includes well-care physicals, immunizations, pap smear exams and mammograms.
  • Prescriptions: Once the deductible has been reached, the following copays will apply:
    • Generic drugs: $15 copay (per 30-day supply)
    • Preferred Brand Name drugs: $30 copay (per-30 day supply)
  • Vision Exam & Hardware: One routine vision exam (every 12 months) paid in full; deductible and coinsurance waived. Hardware provided up to $250 every 12 months (members age 19 and over). For members under 19, one pair of frames and lenses per year or contact lenses covered at 50%.

HSA Eligibility - to establish and contribute to an HSA, an individual must:

  • Be covered by a qualifying High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) that meets federal requirements. (PLU’s HSA HMO Medical Plan meets this requirement).
  • Not be enrolled in non-HDHP health coverage (this means if you are enrolled on a spouse’s low deductible plan, you are not eligible to participate in an HSA). Plans such as accident, dental, vision, workers’ compensation, disability, or long-term care coverage, do not affect the individual’s eligibility for an HSA.
  • Not be enrolled in Medicare. Medicare beneficiaries cannot contribute to an HSA; however, they may spend money contributed to an HSA prior to their enrollment in Medicare.
  • Not have a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) or a health flexible spending account (HFSA). This means that you are not eligible to participate in the HSA if you or your spouse are enrolled in a General Purpose Health Care FSA; however, certain limited-purpose HRAs and HFSAs are allowed. For example, an HRA or HFSA that reimburses only dental and vision expenses is a limited-purpose plan.
  • Not be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.

To find out more about HSAs, click on the following links: “How Do HSAs Work?” and HSA FAQs and List of HSA Eligible Expenses.

Open Enrollment - what to do by April 30

Benefits open enrollment is April 1 – 30. All forms are due in Human Resources by Monday, April 30. Enrollment changes become effective June 1. Medical and dental premiums for June coverage will be deducted from your May paycheck(s). Voluntary Term Life insurance premiums and the first monthly contributions to the 2018 – 2019 FSA reimbursement accounts, and HSA accounts will be deducted from your June paycheck(s). Click here for the medical and dental enrollment form.

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 “2018 Open Enrollment” in the navigation menu). Prefer to talk? Join us at the Benefits Fair or call Aileen Ochinang at ext. 8146.

Enroll in a medical and/or dental plan, switch plans or carriers, add/drop coverage for dependent(s), or terminate your coverage.

If enrolling in the HSA medical plan, you will need to complete a separate salary reduction agreement form to make and receive contributions into your HSA.

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.

You will automatically be enrolled in these benefits if eligible. Please update your beneficiary information if needed.

Evaluate your insurance needs for yourself and your dependents. Refer to the section in this newsletter on Unum Voluntary Term Life Insurance for more details.

What is an HSA?

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is like a 401(k) for healthcare. It is a tax-advantaged personal savings or investments account that individuals can use to save and pay for qualified health expenses, now or in the future. Paired with a high deductible health plan (HDHP), an HSA is a powerful financial tool that empowers consumers to be more actively involved in their health care decisions. Our HSA accounts are administered through HealthEquity. HealthEquity also has a variety of videos that are helpful in understanding HSAs. Check them out at http://healthequity.com/learn/videos.

Which medical plan is best for you and your family? 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 a higher deductible, like many people do with their auto or homeowner’s insurance.

The following examples show what a family of four can save on an annual basis when switching plans (before any claims are paid). That savings can be used to pay claims, if, or when, they happen.

Switching from Access PPO
to Essentials/Core HMO

Annual Savings: $8,316

Switching from Access PPO

Annual Savings: $10,076

Switching from Essentials/Core HMO

Annual Savings: $1,760

Explore your options, join us at this year’s Benefits Fair, or make an appointment for a one-on-one conversation; we would be happy to walk you through it.

What’s best for you? Find out with the PLU Good Fit Medical Plan Cost Calculator Tool.

Did You Know?

The Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Reimbursement Plan tracking period runs from June 1 through May 31. Claims must be submitted to HealthEquity by August 31 to be eligible for reimbursement. Click here for a new enrollment form for the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year.

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

Dental Benefits

Our benefits with Willamette Dental and Delta Dental of Washington will remain unchanged. Both carriers provided a 2-year rate guarantee in 2017.

PLU’s contribution continues to pay 95% of the Willamette Dental premium. Click here for the comparison chart.

Willamette Dental Group ad

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Need Help During Open Enrollment?

We’re offering several resources:

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 drawings, food, and fun!

Educational Sessions – A session regarding the HSA Plan will be offered during the Benefits Fair in AUC 134 from 10 – 11am. A second session will be held in AUC 213 on April 16 from 2 – 3pm.

PLU’s Good Fit Benefit Book – Click here for more information – benefit summaries, enrollment forms, and more.

Medical Plan Calculator Tool – A cost calculator is available that allows you to input your individual or family information and anticipated claims to help decide which plan is right for you. Check it out here.

PLU's Section 125 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Reimbursement Plan

  • NEW: Effective with our June 1, 2018 renewal, PLU will be moving our Section 125 Flexible Spending Account Reimbursement Plan benefits to HealthEquity. Benefits will remain the same.
  • Click here for the Health Care informational flyer.
  • Effective June 1, 2018, PLU will no longer contribute the $65 per month ($780 per year) contribution into the Health Care Reimbursement Account for those who elect “employee-only coverage” on the Kaiser Permanente Essentials/Core Plan. However, you may still make contributions to the Health Care Reimbursement Account.
  • Effective with our renewal, the IRS will allow a maximum contribution of $2,650 per year, an increase of $50, to your Health Care Reimbursement Account.
  • Current and new participants MUST complete a new election form every year. 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, 2018 through May 31, 2019. Click here for the new FSA enrollment form.

This plan has three components:

  1. Premium Conversion Account – this allows for any premiums you pay for yourself or your dependent(s) 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, 2018 and May 31, 2019. Examples of reimbursement eligible expenses include your medical/dental plan deductibles, office call/prescription drug copays, and costs for eyeglasses or contact lenses not covered under the vision benefit. Visit HealthEquity 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. Click here for the Dependent Care informational flyer.

What is New at Kaiser Permanente?

  • Merger Re-Cap – It has been a year since the Kaiser Permanente – Group Health Cooperative merge and everything is running smoothly. We hope PLU employees and family members have had a similar positive experience. If there are any questions or concerns with services from Kaiser, please contact the Kaiser Member Services department at 888-901-4636.
  • Mobile App Update – Digital ID Card – Kaiser’s mobile app just went through an update and now you can access a digital copy of your ID card.
  • Community Fitness Events – Wondering what is going on in your neighborhood? When is Bloomsday? What about the Seattle to Portland bike ride? Find out these dates and more, including some discounts.
  • Chronic Conditions Workshops – These six-week workshops give people an opportunity to learn and practice skills and techniques to help them better manage their chronic conditions and improve their quality of life. Click here for more information, dates, and locations.


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What's New with Health Care Reform-Legislative/Regulatory Changes:

  • 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 covered in full. Exceptions apply for out-of-network services on the Access PPO plan.
  • Individual Responsibility Penalty – Health Care Reform requires all individuals to have health insurance. For 2018, the penalty is 2.5% of your family’s adjusted gross income. 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.
  • 2019 Open Enrollment State Exchanges – Any employees or dependents interested in enrolling on 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 on an exchange plan at that time. Open enrollment for 2019 exchanges will run from November 1, 2018 through January 31, 2019.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Join us throughout April to raise awareness and support for those whose lives have been affected by sexual assault.
Click here to visit the Sexual Assault Awareness Month website and view the calendar of events.

NEW: Unum Group Life/AD&D, Voluntary Term Life & Long-Term Disability Benefits

Effective with our June 1, 2018 renewal, PLU will be moving our Term Life, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Long Term Disability and Voluntary Term Life benefits to Unum. 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 $500,000 at no cost to you. 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 $6,000 (from $5,000 previously) 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 –

  • Guaranteed Issue Amount – $350,000 for employees; $50,000 for spouses. Any amounts purchased over the $350,000 guaranteed issue amount ($50,000 for a spouse/domestic partner) will be subject to an Evidence of Insurability (EOI).
  • 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). Spouse coverage cannot exceed 100% of employee coverage.
  • Employees who are married/domestic partners and both work at PLU are not allowed to purchase spouse coverage. Dependent child coverage can only be purchased by one parent.
  • CURRENT PARTICIPANTS – If you are currently enrolled in Voluntary Term Life insurance through The Standard, your coverage will continue and will be moved automatically to Unum. 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 can be found here.
  • You will have an opportunity to increase your voluntary term life insurance amount up to $350,000 (in $10,000 increments), you may purchase/increase voluntary term life insurance for spouses up to $50,000 (in $5,000 increments), and you may purchase/increase voluntary term life insurance for children up to $10,000 (in $2,500 increments), without having to secure medical underwriting approval or submit an Evidence of Insurability (EOI).
  • NOT CURRENTLY PARTICIPATING? DON’T MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY: Our voluntary term life coverage through Unum has a “Lock-in” feature. If you elect the minimum voluntary term life amount of $10,000 or higher, you will “Lock-in” the opportunity at every open enrollment in the future to be able to increase your voluntary term life coverage up to the guaranteed issue amount of $350,000 without completing Evidence of Insurability (EOI). However, if you waive your right to enroll at this open enrollment; meaning you do not currently have voluntary term life coverage and you do not wish to elect the minimum amount of $10,000 effective June 1, 2018, any amount you select going forward will be subject to Evidence of Insurability (EOI). Same rule applies to spouse coverage.  

Information and enrollment forms will be mailed to all employees in a sealed envelope with your name on it via campus mail.

Click here to view the Voluntary Term Life Insurance summary.


She can do so without completing an EOI. She has a guarantee issue of the additional $20,000, which would make her total amount $70,000 effective June 1, 2018.

She can do so without completing an EOI. She will have a guarantee issue of $150,000 effective June 1, 2018.

NOTE: this is true as long as the $150,000 does NOT exceed 5 times Elizabeth’s annual salary.

She will need to complete an EOI for the additional $150,000 of additional life coverage because it is over the $350,000 guaranteed issue amount.

NOTE: this is true as long as the $500,000 does NOT exceed 5 times Elizabeth’s annual salary.

She can do so without her spouse completing an EOI as this amount falls within the guarantee issue amount of $50,000 for a spouse. The amount chosen for her spouse also falls within the benefit maximum (100% of employee’s amount). Her spouse will have a guarantee issue of $50,000 effective June 1, 2018.

She can do so, however, her spouse will need to complete an EOI for the additional amount over guarantee issue of $50,000. The amount chosen for her spouse falls within the benefit maximum (100% of employee’s amount). Her spouse will have a guarantee issue amount of $50,000 effective June 1, 2018. Once the EOI is approved, the spouse would qualify for the full $100,000 benefit.

Talk to your Benefits Committee

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

Committee MemberTelephone NumberEmail Address
Jason Weaving, Staff Council253-535-8147weavinjm@plu.edu
Dana Zaichkin, Member-at-Large253-535-7697zaichkdl@plu.edu
Rebecca Wilkin, Faculty Affairs253-535-7313wilkinrm@plu.edu
Seth Spidahl, Staff Council253-536-5182spidahsj@plu.edu
Aileen Ochinang, HR Specialist253-535-8146ochinaav@plu.edu
Teri Phillips, Associate VP of Human Resources253-535-7187phillitp@plu.edu
Elizabeth Thomas, Senior Advisor - Albers & Company253-596-0604ethomas@alberscompany.com
Bob Bentley, Manager, Underwriting, Analytics, & Compliance Manager - Albers & Company253-596-0607bobb@wilsonalbers.com
Cherie Hendrix, Senior National Accounts Advisor - Albers & Company253-596-0610cherieh@wilsonalbers.com

10th Annual Culinary Week

April 2 - 6, 2018

Join us to explore the way food evolves as populations migrate.

All Week – Free Classes
Tuesday – Annual Free Lunch
Friday — Commons on Fire Culinary Competition

Click here to RSVP for the FREE classes
(walk-ins will be welcome as well)

EAP: Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance

first choice adYour Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential service designed to connect PLU employees, spouses or domestic partners, and children up to age 26 with experienced counseling professionals for help with personal, family, and work concerns. EAP is available to provide referrals or assistance on a wide range of issues – from estate planning to substance abuse to adoption, you may be surprised by what EAP can do for you.

While EAP is a good resource in times of stress or hardship, the program also offers helpful online articles, access to webinars and trainings, and even healthy seasonal recipes. Some recent webinar topics include:

  • Goal Setting for Success
  • Practicing Gratitude to Produce Happiness
  • Relaxation Techniques

You or your family members can reach EAP by phone or online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no cost. Call (800) 777-4114 or visit www.FirstChoiceEAP.com and enter the username: pacific.

Commute Survey Coming Soon

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

You will be sent an email the week of April 16 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 commute@plu.edu.

ORCA Gets You Moving!

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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, with a small fee charged to employees. Bring your valid PLU ID to the Concierge Desk in the University Center to purchase an ORCA card.

The benefit will expire May 31, 2018 for faculty and staff who currently have ORCA cards. The employee cost for next fiscal year, 2018-2019 will be $21.60. To renew for the next fiscal year (June 2018-May 2019), you’ll need to visit the Concierge Desk during the second half of May to fill out a renewal form and pay the employee portion of the benefit. Visit Commute Smart for information or contact Gretchen Howell at ext. 7329.

Dependent Tuition Remission

Dependent tuition remission applications for classes taken from June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019 are due in Human Resources by April 30, 2018. Only one tuition remission application needs to be completed each year. If there is no current, approved remission form on file by April 30, 2018, the remission benefit may be denied.

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

Screen Time and Eye Health

Reminder from the Safety Committee

Screen time has tremendously increased over the last decade. According to Nielsen reports, adults aged 18 and older spend 11 hours a day on screen time. This includes the time that is spent on our phone, computer, and the TV. The question is, how many hours should people be staring at their screens? Thomas Carter, MD, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Clinic Torrey Pines, states, “I hesitate to offer any kind of screen time recommendations for adults.” This is because those who work in an office usually spend at least 8 hours a day on the computer with no option to cut down on those hours.

While there is not a clear answer on how many hours is considered healthy, there are ways to reduce harm that comes from too much screen time at work. The 20-20-20 rule is an easy and efficient way to prevent eyestrain, headaches, and tight muscles. Every 20 minutes, look away from your screen and stare at an object that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Other tips include keeping your face at least 16 inches away from the screen, lowering the brightness, and standing up and stretching.

It is important to note that our digital devices emit blue light. Blue light rays have shorter wavelengths and more energy on the visible light spectrum. While some blue light is good for our health, constant exposure can have negative long-term effects on eye health. It can cause digital eyestrain, retinal damage, and can have an effect on sleep patterns. Good ways to reduce harm from blue light are to use computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses or use blue light filters. You can also talk to your eye doctor for different options for customizing your prescription for screen use.

Generous Donations Impact PLU Community

We would like to acknowledge Delta Dental of WA and Willamette Dental of WA for their generosity in donating toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss to the PLU Community Health Nursing Students Hygiene Drive. This project was coordinated by our nursing student Jessica Lenczycki. The donated items were given to the PLU Food Pantry who provides not only emergency food, but also hygiene items to students in need.

Payroll is Relocating

In April 2018, look for the Payroll Office in Hauge.

The Payroll office is moving from its current location to a space in Hauge next to the Lute Café and Student Financial Services.

TIAA Financial Counseling

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TIAA is always available to help you make informed financial decisions. During the months of May and June, TIAA Consultants will be offering on-campus financial counseling sessions. See the Calendar for dates.

To sign up, please visit the TIAA website or call the Bellevue Office at (877) 842-2028.

Advantage Home Plus: An EAP Benefit

If you are considering making a home purchase, contact the staff at Advantage Home Plus and they can help you to find a mortgage program that matches your economic situation. Contact them at (800) 376-4603 or info@AdvantageHomePlus.com. The Advantage Home Plus program can save you THOUSANDS of dollars on the fees associated with buying a home and can help you get on the right road to begin building your own personal wealth.


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Employee Discount - Tacoma Star Center

Employee Discount

Employees of PLU will receive a discounted monthly rate and pay no enrollment fee. Just stop by the Star Center for a tour and show proof of PLU employment to qualify.


At the STAR Center members have access to:

  • 30 group fitness classes each week, including Spin, Zumba, Yoga and more
  • Fitness facility equipped with all major cardio and strength machines
  • Kinesis Workout Studio designed for an incredible low-impact, full-body workout
  • Access to two off-site pools, which includes free lap swim and family swim, plus discounts on swim lessons and aqua fitness classes
  • Free child watch for up to two hours per day (must have child pass and adult pass)
  • Discounts at Subway restaurant located inside STAR Center
  • Personal trainers available

For more information on the Star Center, click here.

YMCA Joining Fee Waived

YMCA logoIt’s a great time to join the YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap County, and if you’re a PLU employee joining for the first time, your joining fee is waived. Just take your paystub, LuteCard, or business card to any local branch to sign up. Click here for rates.

Calendar of Events

April 1 – 30: Benefits Open Enrollment

April 10: Benefits Fair, 9am – 2pm, AUC CK East

April 10: HSA Educational Session, 10 – 11am, AUC 134

April 16: HSA Educational Session, 2 – 3pm, AUC 213

April 30: All benefits forms due to Human Resources

May 10: Farewell Celebration, 11am – noon, Scandinavian Cultural Center

May 15: Individual Appointments with TIAA consultant

May 16: Individual Appointments with TIAA consultant

May 26: PLU Commencement

May 28: Memorial Day Holiday

June 1: All benefits changes go into effect for the 2018 – 2019 plan year