Here are some of the most important and frequently asked questions about 2021 annual benefits enrollment.
2021 annual benefits enrollment
What is annual benefits enrollment?
Annual benefits enrollment is an opportunity to review benefits and make any elections for the next plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2021). Employees can only make changes to their benefits outside of the annual benefits enrollment period if they have a qualified status change (e.g., marriage or birth/adoption of child).
Is 2021 annual benefits enrollment still open?
No, 2021 annual benefits enrollment is now closed. Employees can review their 2021 benefit elections and print their confirmation statement at BenefitConnect. Under Your Personalized Check List, click on View My 2021 Elections and Costs and use the Print Confirmation button on the top of the page.
An employee’s next opportunity to change their benefit elections will be the 2022 annual benefits enrollment period next fall, unless they have a qualified status change (e.g., marriage or birth/adoption of child).
What happens if an employee didn't enroll by November 6?
If an employee is currently enrolled in medical, dental, vision and/or life insurance coverage, they will have the same coverage next year. If they are not currently enrolled, they won’t have health care coverage through Liberty in 2021.
If an employee has a Health Savings Account (HSA) through Liberty, and does not take action to open their HSA with Optum Bank they will not receive Liberty’s contribution. The employee will need to take steps to ensure their account transfers properly from ConnectYourCare (our current plan administrator) to Optum Bank, our new plan administrator, even if an employee does not continue CDHP coverage in 2021. See the Health savings and spending accounts section for more information.
If an employee elected to contribute to the HSA in the previous year, their HSA contribution election will not automatically carry over to 2021. Employees will need to actively elect to contribute in the HSA plan to continue their contributions.
If an employee wants to participate in the Dependent Care FSA next year, they must re-enroll (even if they are participating this year). Note: This account is for daycare expenses.
What do employees need to know about the 2021 benefits program?
Employees can learn about benefit enhancements and changes to their 2021 here.
What benefits can employees enroll in during annual benefits enrollment?
During annual benefits enrollment employees can elect or make changes to medical, dental, vision, Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions (if eligible), Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) (if eligible), Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA), long-term disability, the MetLife Legal Plan, employee and dependent life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
What benefits can employees enroll in after annual benefits enrollment?
Employees can enroll in identity theft coverage and change their 401(k) Plan and HSA contributions at any time throughout the year.
Health plan benefits
How does the EPO Option family deductible work?
Each family member has their own deductible and the family has a separate deductible. The individual deductible is embedded in the family deductible, so no one family member can contribute more than their individual amount toward the family deductible. The out-of-pocket costs that a family member pays to reach their individual deductible also count towards meeting the family deductible.
Unlike with the CDHP, with the EPO Option employees also have copayments, which do not apply to the deductible.
In addition, if one person in the family meets their individual deductible, the plan starts to pay for that family member. If the family deductible hasn’t also been met, the other family members’ deductibles still apply. When the family deductible is met, the plan starts paying for all family members, less 15% coinsurance. For the EPO Option, the family deductible is $1,200 and the individual deductible is $600.
For example, let’s say an employee gets X-rays that cost $600. They meet their individual deductible and the plan pays for their care from here on out, less 15% coinsurance.
Plus, that $600 goes toward the family deductible, so when an employee’s spouse and child both need lab work that costs $300 each, they’ll meet the family deductible of $1200. Now, their plan will pay for their care, minus coinsurance, so: 85% for covered services.
Why would an employee choose the EPO Option over the other health plan options?
We all have different priorities when it comes to health care. For those whose priority is more predictable costs, the EPO Option might be the right choice. The EPO Option has a lower deductible, but higher premiums, and copays instead of coinsurance for certain services like primary care physician (PCP) visits.
In addition, more predictable medical spending, if employees plan to use in-network providers only, the EPO Option might feel best for them because they’ll get access to high quality in-network providers who are covered at a convenient two-tier copay structure. However, there is no out-of-network coverage (except for emergency care). Employees can learn more about the Tiers here.
How can employees tell if their doctor is a Tier 1 doctor?
Employees can search for their doctor on myUHC.com. Before 12/31/20, if the doctor is a Tier 1 doctor, there will be two blue hearts next to the doctor’s name. After 1/1/21, Tier 1 doctors will be denoted with a blue dot. Employees can learn more about Tiers here. Employees should remember that if they live in one of the following markets, Tier 1 doctors are not available. In this case, an employee would pay the Tier 1 copay for in-network doctors and providers:
- San Francisco
- Western Montana
- Central Coast
- Puerto Rico
Can employees save for health care on a tax-advantaged basis with the EPO Option?
Yes. Employees can save using a Health Care Flexible Savings Account (FSA). However, due to IRS rules, they won’t be eligible to save with a Health Savings Account (HSA).
Like an HSA, a Health Care FSA lets employees save for eligible health care expenses straight from their paycheck, before taxes. It’s important to know that there are also key differences between the HSA and Health Care FSA.
If employees don’t use all of the money in their FSA during the year, they will lose it. Only a limited amount can be carried over into the following year (from a minimum of $50 to a maximum of $550 for 2021). Otherwise, remaining balances are forfeited. Employees can also only change their contribution amounts during annual benefits enrollment or if they have a qualified change in status during the year. Remember, Liberty doesn’t contribute to the FSA but, unlike with an HSA, the full annual limit will be available to use in January – employees don’t need to wait for it to accrue.
For 2021, the Health Care FSA contribution limit is $2,750.
Note: Due to Puerto Rico tax code, employees in Puerto Rico are not eligible to contribute to HSA, Health Care FSA or the Dependent Care FSA on a before-tax basis.
If an employee already has an HSA, and they enroll in the EPO Option, can they use their HSA funds?
Yes. Employees may not contribute to an HSA while they are enrolled in the EPO Option. But if they already have funds in their HSA, and then enroll in the EPO Option, they may use the HSA funds towards qualified medical expenses under the EPO Option.
How does a CDHP family deductible work?
If employees cover one or more family members, the family deductible applies. This means that they will pay up to the deductible for non-preventive care and most prescription drug expenses before the plan will begin paying benefits. Keep in mind that all eligible in-network preventive care is covered 100%, and no deductible applies.
Important note: If employees have family coverage and they or a family member reaches the out-of-pocket maximum for in-network care during the calendar year, the plan pays 100% coverage for that individual for the rest of the year. All other family members will continue to pay coinsurance until the full family out-of-pocket maximum is met.
What are the advantages of the CDHP?
Liberty continues to believe the CDHP design is one of the best ways to offer high-quality health care coverage at a manageable cost for employees and Liberty Here’s why:
- The CDHP is generally more economical over the long-term compared to traditional plans when taking into consideration premium costs, out-of-pocket expenses, Liberty’s contribution to the HSA and the tax savings of the HSA.
- The tax-efficient Health Savings Account (HSA) that comes with Liberty’s CDHP options can help participants better manage their health care expenses over the long-term. (An HSA cannot be offered with the EPO.)
- The CDHP with its up-front costs encourages participants to carefully choose where and how they get care. There are several efficient, low-cost care options available to employees – virtual visits (medical and behavioral health), urgent care clinics, second opinion and physician referral services and more.
Do employees need to choose a primary care provider? Do employees need to get a referral to see a specialist?
No. Employees have the freedom to use any doctor, hospital or specialist without a referral. However, it’s a good idea to have a primary care physician who can coordinate care.
When choosing a specialist, employees should remember that there is no out-of-network coverage for the EPO health plan except for emergency care.
What is preventive care?
Preventive care is a type of medical care that focuses on both disease prevention and health maintenance. Under all the health plan options, in-network preventive care and certain generic maintenance drugs (i.e., for managing blood pressure) and preventive drugs (i.e., oral contraceptives) are covered at 100%. Covered in-network preventive care services include:
- Adult physical exams and well-child visits
- Age- and gender-appropriate preventive services, including pap tests, colonoscopies and mammograms
- Prenatal visits and screenings
It’s a good idea to talk with a provider to fully understand what is considered preventive care before receiving services.
What is a virtual visit?
Provided through UnitedHealthcare, a medical virtual visit is a convenient, reasonably priced alternative to a doctor’s office appointment or an emergency room or urgent care visit for non-emergency issues. This resource is available to employees if they are enrolled in any of the Liberty Mutual health plans. No appointment is needed an employee will typically receive care within 30 minutes or less. Most visits take about 45 minutes. Employees may also request behavioral health virtual visit. Similar to non-emergency medical visits, employees may talk to a counselor for evaluation, therapy or medication management from their mobile device or computer. Coverage is only available through UnitedHealthcare’s contracted providers: AmWell, Doctor on Demand, and Teladoc.
Who is UnitedHealth Group?
UnitedHealth Group is a parent company of UnitedHealthcare (our health plan administrator) and OptumBank (our new administrator of our HSA, flexible spending accounts, commuter, adoption and surrogacy benefits). Learn more here.
Health savings and spending accounts
Who is eligible to contribute to the Liberty Health Savings Account (HSA)?
To be eligible for the HSA, employees must be enrolled in Liberty's CDHP Option 1 or 2 and meet the following requirements, as defined by the IRS:
- Cannot have a flexible spending account (FSA) or be covered under a flexible spending account.
- May not have other health coverage except what is permitted by the IRS.
- Cannot be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
- Cannot be enrolled in Medicare, TRICARE or TRICARE for Life.
- Haven’t received Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits within the past three months, except for preventive care. If an employee has a disability rating from the VA, this exclusion doesn’t apply.
Other restrictions and exceptions may also apply. We recommend that employees consult a tax, legal or financial advisor to discuss personal circumstances.
Please note: If an employee elects the CDHP Health Plan with HSA Option and fails to meet any HSA eligibility rules, upon an IRS individual audit, they may be subject to applicable taxes and/or penalties.
What do employees need to do to open my HSA?
If an employee enrolls in a CDHP health option and confirms they meet the HSA eligibility requirements, and elects to open an HSA, it will automatically be opened in their name at Optum Bank.
Important note: Because an HSA is a bank account, it is subject to the requirements of the Patriot Act for the Consumer Identity Program (CIP). One such requirement is to have a street address on file that is not a P.O. Box. Employees must provide a primary, permanent, physical street address. Employees who enroll in a CDHP but are ineligible for an HSA will receive the Liberty contribution in their paycheck as taxable income.
When will Liberty make its contributions to my HSA?
If an employee is enrolled in a CDHP and is eligible for and elects to open an HSA, Liberty will make its contribution to their HSA in the month following their enrollment (pro-rated based on hire date). Following annual benefits enrollment 2021, Liberty will make its contribution at the end of January 2021.
How much can employees contribute to the HSA if they join the CDHP during the year?
Employees may contribute up to the annual IRS maximum when combined with Liberty Mutual’s contribution. Liberty’s contributions will be pro-rated based on date of hire.
How often can employees change their HSA contribution amount?
Employees can change their HSA contribution at any time. Any change affects future contributions and will take effect as soon as administratively practicable following the date they change their contribution amount. Note that any increase in an employee's total contribution amount will be calculated for the paychecks left between the time they record the change and their last paycheck of the year.
What will happen for an employee who does not elect to transfer their HSA from ConnectYourCare to Optum?
An employee’s current HSA will not automatically transfer from ConnectYourCare to Optum Bank, our new HSA administrator. If an employee wants to transfer their HSA balance, it is best to take action during annual benefits enrollment to avoid any fees. If an employee does not transfer their HSA account to Optum Bank, their current HSA will remain at ConnectYourCare and they may continue to use the dollars in the HSA for eligible health expenses, but ConnectYourCare will deduct a monthly administrative fee of $5.50 beginning in January 2021 for as long as that employee has a balance in that HSA. There is no fee for the HSA supported by Optum Bank for active employees.
An employee can elect to transfer their ConnectYourCare HSA to Optum Bank in the future, but it’s best to take action during annual benefits enrollment this year to avoid any fees. If an employee elects to transfer their HSA to Optum Bank by January 15, 2021, no fee will be deducted from their account. If they transfer the HSA to Optum Bank after January 15, 2021, ConnectYourCare will deduct a $25 account closure fee from their account before transferring the HSA to Optum Bank.
Please note: If an employee has invested any of their ConnectYourCare HSA account balances in mutual funds, in addition to electing to transfer their ConnectYourCare HSA, they must also elect to liquidate their investments by January 25, 2021. More information to come on liquidating investments.
All 2021 HSAs will be supported by Optum Bank. So, if an employee enrolls in CDHP option 1 or 2 for their 2021 health coverage, Liberty contributions and their contributions to the HSA will go to their Optum Bank HSA, regardless of whether they transferred their ConnectYourCare HSA balance to Optum Bank or not.
Who is eligible for a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) account?
If an employee is not enrolled in the EPO or are not enrolled in a health plan through Liberty and not enrolled in a CDHP or HDHP through another provider, they are eligible to open an FSA account with Optum Bank. They must elect to contribute to the Health Care FSA during annual benefits enrollment; the FSA will not automatically be opened.
Note: If an employee is covered under a CDHP or HDHP outside of Liberty, they do not qualify for the FSA. Employees in Puerto Rico are not eligible to contribute to the Health Care FSA on a pre-tax basis.
What is the difference between the FSA and HSA?
Click here to see the differences between the FSA and HSA.
Will Liberty make a contribution to an FSA?
No, Liberty will not contribute to an FSA. For more information on the FSA click here.
How often can employees change my FSA contribution amount?
An employee can only change their contribution amount during annual benefits enrollment unless they experience certain qualified status changes during the year.
What is the special opportunity to increase life insurance coverage in 2021?
In 2021, employees can increase the amount of life insurance they carry by 1x pay, up to $3 million, without needing to provide evidence of insurability. Learn more here.
Are there any other changes to the employee life insurance benefit in 2021?
No, but employees can learn more about employee life insurance program, including the opportunity to increase their coverage with no evidence of insurability here.
What is evidence of insurability (EOI)?
Evidence of insurability (EOI) is a record of a person's past and current health events. It's used by insurance companies to verify whether a person meets the definition of good health.
How do I designate a beneficiary?
Employees can visit BenefitConnect to designate or update their beneficiary(ies). Employees should name a beneficiary for their life insurance coverage. They have the option to name a contingent beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries.
Ayco financial coaching
Who is Ayco?
Ayco is an industry pioneer and preeminent leader of company-sponsored financial coaching services. For nearly 50 years, Ayco has offered holistic, personalized services providing a path to financial well-being for employees through every stage of career and financial complexity—from entry-level positions to the executive suite. Ayco helps employees make sure their financial life is clear, understood and under control.
What type of help can Ayco provide?
Ayco can help with benefit elections, cash flow, debt management, retirement planning, tax planning, investments, education funding, insurance and more. Coaches are familiar with Liberty benefits and can help employees make the most of them.
What types of services does Ayco provide?
- One-on-one benefit decision support and financial coaching, over the phone and at no cost to employees through Dec. 31
- Digital platform with a financial assessment tool, advice and other resources
Employees can log in to Benefits at Liberty to visit Ayco.
What if an employee isn't sure where to begin with Ayco?
Employees can call or visit our digital platform anyway! Ayco coaches can help employees get started. Ayco coaches are skilled at helping employees organize their financial life and prioritize their action steps to promote financial well-being. Plus, Ayco’s digital platform provides great tools, such as a self-assessment.
How long does a coaching session typically take?
On average, Ayco phone coaching sessions last around 35 minutes.
How often does a coaching session require more than one call?
That will depend on the nature of the call, but most Ayco callers set up a follow up call.
Can a person ask for the same advisor if there is a second call?
Yes, employees can continue working with the same advisor.
Can a spouse/partner contact the Ayco coaching service?
Yes. Once employees contact Ayco and provide permission, their spouse or partner may use the phone coaching service.
What types of content are available on Ayco’s digital platform?
The platform includes a financial assessment that employees can choose to complete to establish their baseline financial score. As part of the process, they’ll also receive a personalized step-by-step checklist to improve their financial well-being. Employees can also access educational content in the Learning Center and useful tools and calculators. Another useful tool, called Ayco360, lets employees input data and then helps organize their financial life all in one place. Employees are not required to use Ayco360 or upload any content, but this tool can help guide any conversation they may have with an Ayco coach.
What happens to the employee's information if Ayco services are no longer offered through Liberty?
Will the information an employee shares be kept confidential?
What are the qualifications of Ayco’s phone coaches?
Ayco coaches are required to have a 4-year college degree and are encouraged to pursue an advanced degree as part of their development plan such as a JD, CPA, MBA, or CFP® designation. On average, each coach spends 30 days/year in training.
Still have questions?
Employees can call the Liberty Benefits Center at 1-800-758-4460, Option 1, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET.