Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most important and frequently asked questions about 2020 Annual Enrollment.
Annual Enrollment 2020
What is Annual Enrollment?
Annual Enrollment is an employee’s opportunity to review their benefits and make elections for the next plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020). Employees can only make changes to their benefits outside of Annual Enrollment if they experience a qualified status change (e.g., marriage or birth/adoption of child).
When is 2020 Annual Enrollment?
Annual Enrollment for 2020 is happening now through Nov. 8.
How do employees enroll in their benefits for 2020?
Employees can jump to the BenefitConnect website and click Enroll now to select their 2020 benefits.
Employees can also visit the Choice Benefits page, click the Choice Benefits button to log onto the portal and click the Enroll/Manage tab to start enrolling.
Employees have until Nov. 8 to make their enrollment decisions.
What happens if an employee doesn't enroll by Nov. 8?
If they’re currently enrolled in health, dental, vision and/or life insurance coverage or have an existing HSA contribution election, they’ll have the same coverage next year.
If they want 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.
If they’re not currently enrolled in the Health Plan, they won’t have health care coverage through Liberty in 2020.
Unless they have a qualifying status change, they will need to wait until the next enrollment period to sign up for the Hyatt Legal Plan.
What do I need to know about the 2020 benefits program?
Learn about the 2020 benefit enhancements and changes here.
What benefits can employees enroll in during Annual Enrollment?
During Annual Enrollment employees can elect or make changes to medical, dental, vision, Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Health Savings Account (HSA), long-term disability, the Hyatt Legal Plan, life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance.
Employees can enroll in identity theft coverage and change their 401(k) Plan contributions at any time throughout the year.
Who do employees and their families call if they have a question about Annual Enrollment or their benefits?
Employees can call the Liberty Benefits Center at 1-800-758-4460 (Option 1), Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m.– 8:00 p.m. ET.
What resources are available to help me make informed decisions about my benefits?
Liberty wants our employees to get the most value possible from their benefits. The information here at Benefits at Liberty and the following resources can help determine the benefits that fit each employee’s personal situation and budget:
- Enhanced for 2020! Liberty has brought in Ayco financial counseling to help employees feel more confident in their benefit selections and financial decisions.
- Employees can attend in-person benefits seminars and live webinars
- New this year — Employees can schedule one-on-one financial coaching, over the phone and at no cost to employees from Oct. 3 – Dec. 31
- Benefits Center at 1-800-758-4460, Option 1, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET.
Health Plan benefits
Can employees see any doctor they want? Why should employees use in-network providers?
Employees can see any doctor they want. However, if they use in-network health care providers, overall costs will be lower. This is because in-network providers agreed to charge lower prices when they joined the network.
Do employees need to choose a primary care provider? Do they need to get a referral to see a specialist?
No. They 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.
What is preventive care?
Preventive care is a type of medical care that focuses on both disease prevention and health maintenance. Under the Health Plan, 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 medical 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 enrolled in the Liberty Mutual Health Plan. No appointment is needed, and users typically receive care within 30 minutes or less. Most visits take about 45 minutes. Health Plan participants may also request a behavioral health virtual visits. Similar to non-emergency medical visits, employees and their covered dependents may talk to a counselor for evaluation, therapy or medication management from a mobile device or computer. No appointment is needed and participants typically receive care within 30 minutes or less. Most visits take about 45 minutes.
Employees can also earn a $100 HSA contribution after their first medical or behavioral health virtual visit in 2020. Virtual visits are convenient and typically cost less than a doctor’s office visit for non-emergency issues. Learn more here.
How does the Health Plan family deductible work?
If an employee covers one or more family members under the CDHP, the family deductible applies. This means they will pay the first $3,000 of 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 an employee has family coverage and the employee or a family member reaches $7,350 in out-of-pocket costs 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.
Can employees change their Health Plan election during the year?
If an employee experiences a qualifying life event (e.g., marriage, birth/adoption of a child) during the plan year, they may add or remove dependents from their plan or drop coverage altogether. Visit BenefitConnect for more information.
Why does Liberty only offer CDHP options?
Liberty believes the CDHP design is the best strategy available today to maintain a quality health plan and keep premiums at a manageable cost for employees and the company. Here’s why:
- The CDHP is generally more economical over the long-term when compared to the PPO, when comparing premium costs, out-of-pocket expenses, Liberty’s contribution to the HSA and the tax savings of the HSA.
- The tax-efficient, Liberty subsidized Health Savings Account (HSA) that comes with Health Plan participation can help employees better manage their health care expenses over the long-term. (An HSA cannot be offered with a PPO design.)
- 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.
- By controlling health care costs, Liberty has more flexibility to invest in holistic well-being programs that ultimately help improve health and reduce overall costs.
Who is UnitedHealthcare?
Who is not eligible for a Liberty Mutual Health Savings Account (HSA)?
If an employee is enrolled in the Health Plan, they are eligible for the Liberty Mutual HSA unless:
- The employee can be claimed as a tax dependent on another person’s tax return. Generally,
this excludes children under age 19 (or age 24 for students), or other household members with limited income who are supported by the taxpayer.
- The employee is eligible for Medicare.
- The employee’s care is covered by a non-HSA-qualified health plan, general purpose Health Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA).
- If an employee is under age 26, a parent's FSA could count as non-qualified coverage.
- The employee is enrolled in a Liberty Mutual Health Plan through COBRA.
- The employee is a survivor of a deceased Liberty Mutual employee and is enrolled in a Liberty Mutual Health Plan.
- The employee is a retiree enrolled in a Liberty Mutual Retiree Health Plan.
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.
Do employees need to do anything to open their HSA?
When an employee first enrolls in the Health Plan, and if they meet the HSA eligibility requirements, an HSA is automatically opened in their name.
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 PO Box. Employees must provide a primary, permanent, physical street address. Employees who are ineligible for an HSA will receive the Liberty contribution in their paycheck as taxable income.
When will Liberty Mutual make its contributions to my HSA?
Liberty Mutual will make its contribution to eligible employee’s HSA in the month following their enrollment in the Health Plan (pro-rated based on your hire date). Following Annual Enrollment 2020, Liberty will make its contribution at the end of January 2020
How much can an employee contribute to the HSA if they join the Health Plan 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. For 2020, the IRS contribution limits are $3,550 for individual coverage and $7,100 for family coverage.
What happens if an employee contributes too much to the HSA and exceeds the IRS contribution maximum?
HSA contributions in excess of the IRS annual contribution limits ($3,550 for individual coverage and $7,100 for family coverage in 2020) are not tax deductible and are generally subject to a 6% excise tax imposed by the IRS. If an employee has contributed too much to their HSA, they can remove the excess contributions plus any interest earned on that amount, before filing federal income tax return (including extensions). They will pay income taxes on the excess removed from their HSA. If they fail to remove the excess contribution, the excise tax will apply to each tax year that the excess contribution remains in the HSA.
How often can employees change their HSA contribution amount?
Employees can change their HSA contribution at any time. Visit BenefitConnect for details. Any change affects future contributions and will take effect as soon as administratively practicable following the date after the change in contribution amount. Note that any increase in total contribution amount will be calculated for the paychecks left between the employee’s change and the last paycheck of the year.
Life Insurance benefits
How are Employee Life Insurance benefits changing in 2020?
Learn about the Employee Life Insurance enhancements and changes here.
Why are Employee Life Insurance contributions (any Employee Life Insurance not paid for by Liberty) moving from a before-tax to an after-tax deduction?
Currently, employee contributions for employee life insurance are paid before-tax and their taxable income is reduced by the amount of their contributions. The IRS then determines the “value” of their life insurance coverage (not their coverage contributions) and this amount becomes “imputed” income to them, subject to FICA, Medicare and other taxes.
However, when an employer meets certain criteria and an employee pays the entire cost of their employee life insurance coverage on an after-tax basis — meaning that their taxable income is NOT reduced by the amount of their contributions — the “value” of the coverage is NOT considered imputed income nor subject to taxes.
For most people, paying employee life insurance contributions on an after-tax basis results in lower taxable income (and lower taxes) than paying contributions on a before-tax basis for this reason.
What is the effective date that Employee Life Insurance contributions (any Employee Life Insurance not paid for by Liberty) will move from before-tax to after-tax deduction?
Jan. 1, 2020
Can an employee elect to have their Employee Life Insurance contributions (any Employee Life Insurance not paid for by Liberty) before-tax?
No, this is a change that will affect all employees enrolled in Employee Life.
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.
What is conversion?
Conversion is when an employee’s life insurance is converted to an individual permanent Universal Life Insurance policy that can build cash value over time. An individual Whole Life Insurance policy cannot be canceled by the insurance company prior to the scheduled maturity date unless premiums are not paid.
What is portability?
Portability is when an employee’s life insurance is continued through a separate group plan. This is a less expensive alternate to conversion. Coverage is issued through a policy that is part of a discretionary trust with the terms and conditions being the same for all individuals. However, the plan features will likely differ from those found under the active employer policy. In addition, the policy can be canceled by the policy holder or the insurance company with notice.
Ayco Financial Counseling
Who is Ayco?
Ayco is an industry pioneer and preeminent leader of company-sponsored financial counseling 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 to C-suite. Ayco can help employees make sure their financial life is clear, understood and in 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. They are trained in Liberty Mutual benefits and can help employees make the most of them. Employees are encouraged to schedule a one-on-one call with an Ayco phone coach anytime between October 3rd and December 31st 2019.
What if an employee is not sure where to begin?
Call anyway! Ayco coaches can help employees get started. Ayco coaches are skilled at helping individuals organize their financial life and prioritize action steps to promote financial wellness.
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, users can continue working with the same advisor.
Can spouses/partners contact the Ayco counseling service?
Yes. Once an employee contacts Ayco and provides their permission, spouses or partners may use the phone coaching service.
What types of content are available on Ayco’s digital platform?
The platform includes an optional financial assessment. Employees can complete the assessment to establish their baseline financial score. Employees will also receive a personalized step-by-step checklist to improve their financial wellness. There is educational content in the Learning Center and useful tools and calculators. Employees can also access Ayco360, a data aggregation tool that helps employees organize their financial life all in one place. Employees are not required to use Ayco360 or upload any content but this can help guide the conversation with a coach.
What type of information might employees want to have available to get the most from their coaching session?
Liberty Mutual employees are not required to use Ayco360 or upload any content. However, they may find it helpful to securely share information with a coach to make conversations more efficient.
What happens to employee's information when the Ayco service goes away after Dec. 31?
Will the information I share 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?
Call the Liberty Benefits Center at 1-800-758-4460, Option 1, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m. ET.