Enroll in or Change Health Benefits Oct. 28-Nov. 8

Modest premium increases in 2014; vision, dental premiums and co-pays unchanged

Premiums for 2014 will increase between $1 to $7 per month for individual coverage and $7 to $26 per month for family coverage, which is below the national average.

While the federal government's Health Insurance Marketplace opens Oct. 1, Duke will continue to offer its comprehensive health insurance package to about 62,000 staff, faculty and dependents.

For 2014, most Duke staff and faculty will see a health insurance premium increase below the national average, with co-pays and deductibles remaining the same. Depending on an employee's medical plan, premiums will increase between $1 to $7 per month for individual coverage and $7 to $26 per month for family coverage.

There will be no premium increases for vision and dental insurance. The surcharge for employees who smoke or use tobacco will increase from $10 to $20.

During Duke's annual Open Enrollment from Oct. 28 to Nov. 8, employees have the opportunity to sign up for or make changes to their Duke health, dental and vision coverage. Employees can also sign up or re-enroll in health and dependent care reimbursement accounts, and purchase or expand their supplemental life insurance.

"Under health care reform, we are observing some organizations moving away from managing their own plans," said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for Administration. "With the success we have had over the past several years, we believe it makes the most sense to continue our plans for the immediate future."

Enhancements to Duke's health benefit include:

  • Elimination of annual limit for prosthetics, durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, and pediatric hearing aids.
  • Reduction in co-insurance for bariatric surgery from $4,000 to $2,500.
  • Increase in reimbursement for treatment of traumatic injury to teeth for Duke Select and Duke Basic.
  • Coverage for gender reassignment surgery through the Duke Options plan.
  • Elimination of the $5,000 limit for infertility from Duke Options and Blue Care.
  • Elimination of the $750 limit for chiropractic treatment from Duke Select and Duke Basic.

Cavanaugh said Duke has kept health insurance premium increases low through vigorous efforts. For example, 84.3 percent of prescriptions for plan participants are now written for generic medications. This saves Duke several million dollars each year in pharmacy costs. Increased participation in DukeWell, a care management program for employees with chronic disease, has also constrained costs.

"These efforts reflect our understanding that individual behavior has a significant impact not only on that person's well-being, but on the cost of their care and the overall cost of insurance," Cavanaugh said. "We are all in this together."

Other Decisions to Make

Even if you are not making changes to health insurance plans, there are other decisions to consider during Open Enrollment.

Keep money in your pocket by enrolling in Duke's reimbursement accounts - one for health care costs, the other for dependent care expenses. These accounts allow participants to put money aside before taxes to pay for health care or dependent care costs. Learn more at hr.duke.edu/reimbursement.

Purchase Supplemental Life Insurance during a special enrollment period during Open Enrollment. Employees can purchase new or additional coverage at special rates by favorably answering a few basic health questions. For more information about supplemental life insurance, visit  hr.duke.edu/supplemental.For more information about Open Enrollment, visit hr.duke.edu/enrollment2014