How to enroll and FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about 2023 annual benefits enrollment.
2023 annual benefits enrollment and how to enroll
What is annual benefits enrollment?
Annual benefits enrollment is each benefits-eligible employee’s opportunity to review their benefits and make any elections for the next plan year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2023). 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).
When is 2023 annual benefits enrollment?
Annual benefits enrollment for 2023 benefits is now closed. Employees should take time to review their choices. They can review their current coverages and covered dependents on BenefitConnect > Your Coverage.
What happens if an employee didn't enroll by Nov. 4?
If an employee is currently enrolled in medical, dental, vision and/or life insurance coverage, they’ll have the same coverage next year. If they’re not currently enrolled, they won’t have health care coverage through Liberty in 2023.
If the employee was contributing to the Liberty Health Savings Account (HSA) in 2022, their contribution election will carry-over into 2023. If the employee was not contributing or wished to change their election, they needed to do so during annual benefits enrollment if they wanted the election to take effect for the first pay period in January 2023.
If an employee wishes to enroll in the Liberty Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and/or the Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (DC FSA) in 2023, they needed to make an election during annual benefits enrollment, whether they were enrolled in 2022 or not; otherwise, they will not be able to enroll later in the year unless they experience a qualified status change.
What do employees need to know about the 2023 benefits program?
For 2023, employee benefits offerings are more affordable, accessible, and aligned to diverse needs. Employees can learn about benefit enhancements and changes to 2023 benefits here.
Is there a dependent verification process?
Make sure the employee’s list of eligible dependents is up to date. Verification is required to enroll new dependents in 2023 benefits and other benefits moving forward.
How do employees enroll in benefits for 2022?
2022 annual benefits enrollment is now closed. Employees may review their 2023 benefit elections and print their confirmation statements at BenefitConnect.
Choice Benefits: If employees are interested in our Choice Benefits, log on to Benefits at Liberty, select Contacts in the upper right corner of the home page and then click on Choice Benefits to get to the Choice Benefits portal. Click the Enroll/Manage tab to start enrolling in our voluntary benefits, including Legal with MetLife, Group Accident, Group Critical Illness and Group Hospital Indemnity insurance.
Who can employees call if they have a question about annual benefits enrollment or their benefits?
Call the Liberty Benefits Center at 800-758-4460 (option 1), Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET for guidance.
Health plan benefits
Who can enroll?
Employees can enroll themselves and their eligible dependents in any of the Liberty health plans. To ensure the ones they love most are covered, employees will be asked to verify any new dependents when they elect coverage for 2023.
How does a family deductible work for the Health Savings Premier or Core health plans?
If employees cover one or more family members, the family deductible applies. This means that the employee will pay up to the deductible for non-preventive care and most prescription drug expenses before the plan begins 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 they or a family member reaches the individual 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. Refer to the Your medical plan options tab for more details.
What are the advantages of the Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP)?
Liberty continues to believe the CDHP design of the Health Savings Premier or Core health plans 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 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 HSA that comes with Liberty’s Health Savings Premier or Core health plans can help participants better manage their health care expenses long term. (An HSA cannot be offered with the EPO Copay or Surest health plans.)
- The Health Savings Premier or Core health plans, 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.
Does Liberty contribute toward the HSA if the employee chooses either the Health Savings Premier or Core health plans?
We’re continuing our investment in the employees’ HSAs, contributing $600 for employees and $1,200 for families. For employees in jobs grade 14 and below, we’re increasing our contribution. For employees, we’re contributing an additional $200; and for families, we’re contributing an additional $400, so employees can take advantage of saving even more on eligible medical expenses.
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.
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.
The EPO Copay health plan will have a lower deductible and lower copays in 2023; we’ve reduced the deductible amount by $100 for employees and by $200 for families, so employees will pay even less out-of-pocket when they need care. For 2023, the individual deductible is $500 and the family deductible is $1,000.
For example, let’s say the participating employee get X-rays that cost $500. They meet their individual deductible, and the plan pays for their care from here on out, less 15% coinsurance, up to the out-of-pocket maximum. That $500 goes toward their family deductible, so when their spouse and child both need lab work that costs $300 each, they’ll meet the family deductible of $1,000. Now, the plan will pay for their care, minus coinsurance, so: 85% for covered services. Remember, copays don’t apply to the deductible in this case.
Why would I choose the EPO Copay 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 Copay might be the right choice. The EPO Copay has a lower deductible, but higher premiums, and copays instead of coinsurance for certain services like primary care physician (PCP) visits.
In addition to more predictable medical spending, if the employee plans to use in-network providers only, the EPO Copay 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). Learn more about Tiers here.
How can employees tell if their doctor is a Tier 1 doctor?
Search for a doctor on myUHC.com. Tier 1 doctors will be denoted with a blue dot. Learn more about Tiers here. Please note that if an employee lives in one of the following markets, Tier 1 doctors are not available. In this case, they 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 Copay?
Yes. Employees can save using a Health Care Flexible Savings Account (FSA). However, due to IRS rules, employees won’t be eligible to save with a Health Savings Account (HSA).
Like an HSA, a Health Care FSA lets an employee saves 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 an employee doesn’t use all the money in their FSA during the year, they lose it. Only a limited amount can be carried over into the following year (from a minimum of $50 to a maximum of $610 for 2023). 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, an employees’ full annual election will be available to use in January – they don’t need to wait for it to accrue.
For 2023, the Health Care FSA contribution limit is $3,050.
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 employees already have an HSA and they enroll in the EPO Copay, can they use their HSA funds?
Yes. Employee HSA funds never expire – even in retirement! However, employees may not contribute to an HSA while enrolled in the EPO Copay. But if they already have funds in their HSA, and then enroll in the EPO Copay, they may use HSA funds toward qualified medical expenses. Employees can use the Informed Enrollment tool to find the best fit.
What is the Surest Plan?
For 2023, to find more affordable plan options, we’re piloting a new and innovative health insurance option for employees located in Texas and Washington – the Surest health plan. Surest works differently than most other medical plans. When employees need care, they use an app or website to review care options and costs, and choose a doctor based on quality ratings and price — this helps with knowing expenses upfront to avoid any surprise bills.
For medical care or prescription drugs, there’s no deductible or coinsurance, and the out-of-pocket costs are based on copay amounts. With Surest, members are eligible for an FSA, similar to the current EPO Copay plan. Eligible employees will receive additional communication and information about this new plan. Based on success of the pilot program we’ll consider presenting Surest as a plan option for more locations in the future.
Why is the Surest Plan only available to Texas and Washington employees?
We chose Texas and Washington as our pilot states to improve price transparency and increase plan choice in these two markets. Based on success of the pilot program, we will consider presenting Surest as a plan option for more employees/locations in the future.
Do employees need to choose a primary care provider? Do they 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 for them to have a primary care physician who can coordinate their care.
When choosing a specialist, employees should remember that there is no out-of-network coverage for the EPO Copay 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 for employees to talk with their 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, emergency room or urgent care visit for non-emergency issues. This resource is available to employees enrolled in any of the Liberty health plans. No appointment is needed, and employees typically receive care within 30 minutes or less. Most visits take about 45 minutes. Employees may also request a 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. Note: Surest members only have access to Doc on Demand.
Who is UnitedHealth Group?
UnitedHealth Group is a parent company of UnitedHealthcare (our health plan administrator) and Optum Bank (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 Health Savings Premier or Core 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 employees have 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 their personal circumstances.
Please note: If an employee has an HSA and fails to meet any HSA eligibility rules, upon an IRS individual audit, they may be subject to applicable taxes and/or penalties.
Is there a dependent verification process?
Yes, to ensure coverage for employees’ families, they will be asked to verify new dependents added to their plan during 2023 and any future enrollments.
What will happen to Dependent Care FSA funds if they haven’t been used by the end of 2022?
Dependent Care FSA funds apply only to expenses incurred in 2022. Any unused funds will not carry over into the 2023 plan year. Employees have until Mar. 31, 2023, to submit Dependent Care FSA claims for the 2022 plan year.
Does an employee need to do anything to open an HSA?
Yes. Employees must first enroll in either the Health Savings Premier or Core health option and indicate that they wish to open an HSA. Once they confirm their eligibility requirements, an HSA will be opened on their behalf and 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 the employee’s HSA?
If employees enroll in the Health Savings Plan or Core plans and are eligible for and elect 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 2023, Liberty will make its contribution at the end of January 2023.
Why is Liberty contributing more HSA funds to employees in job grades 14 (or equivalent) and below and not increasing the contribution for everyone?
We want to support our lower paid employees given recent inflation and financial pressures.
How much can an employee contribute to the HSA if they join the Health Savings Premier or Core health plan during the year?
Employees may contribute up to the annual IRS maximum when combined with Liberty’s contribution. Liberty’s contributions will be pro-rated based on their date of hire.
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 they change their contribution amount. Note that any increase in the total contribution amount will be calculated for the paychecks left between the time they record the change and their last paycheck of the year.
Are employees eligible for a Health Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) account?
Employees may be eligible to enroll in an FSA if:
- They are enrolled in the EPO Copay plan
- They are enrolled in the Surest plan
- They are enrolled in any non-HDHP coverage or
- They have no health coverage at all
Employees may be eligible to open an FSA through Optum Bank if they are not currently enrolled in a high deductible or CDHP plan, regardless of if it is through Liberty or not. Employees must elect to contribute to the Health Care FSA during annual benefits enrollment; the FSA will not automatically be opened for employees.
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 pretax 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 employees’ FSA?
No, Liberty will not contribute to an employee FSA. For more information on the FSA click here.
How often can employees change their FSA contribution amount?
Employees can only change their contribution amount during annual benefits enrollment unless they experience certain qualified status changes during the year.
What happens to an FSA if an employee enrolls in a Health Savings Premier or Core health plan option in 2023?
If an employee is enrolled in an FSA in 2022 and enrolls in the Liberty’s Health Savings Premier or Core plans for 2023, they will need to spend any FSA balance by Dec. 31, 2022. The FSA run-out period and carry over will not apply and any balance remaining will be forfeited.
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 does an employee designate a beneficiary?
Visit BenefitConnect to designate or update a beneficiary(ies). Employees should name a beneficiary for their life insurance coverage. They have the option to name a contingent beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries.
Voluntary benefits available on Choice Benefits
2022 annual benefits enrollment is now closed. Voluntary Supplemental Insurance, provided by Liberty – Group Accident, Group Critical Illness and Group Hospital Indemnity Insurance – is available on the Choice Benefits portal.
What is Voluntary Supplemental Insurance?
Voluntary Supplemental Insurance, including Group Accident, Group Critical Illness and Group Hospital Indemnity Insurance, pays a fixed cash lump-sum should an employees experience a covered injury, illness or hospital stay.
Do the Voluntary Supplemental Insurance plans replace major medical insurance?
No. The supplemental insurance plans do not replace major medical insurance. In order to enroll, employees are required to be covered by either the Liberty health plan or by another plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Who is eligible to enroll? Can family members be enrolled?
Employees scheduled to work at least 20 hours a week may enroll and add their spouse/domestic partner and/or any dependent children. Contributions will increase as dependents are added. This benefit is not available to employees in Puerto Rico.
How can employees enroll?
To learn more or to enroll, visit the Choice Benefits portal. Simply log on to Benefits at Liberty, select Contacts in the upper right corner of the home page and then click on Choice Benefits. Once redirected, click the Enroll/Manage tab to get started. Employees can enroll their spouse/domestic partner and/or dependent children during open enrollment or a qualifying status change.
Visit the Choice Benefits portal or call 833-230-6206, Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. ET for more information.
Still have questions?
Call the Liberty Benefits Center at 800-758-4460 (option 1), Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET.