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What's New This Year:
Changes to PennChoice Benefits

Our goal is to continue to provide you with a variety of health care options that meet your needs and provide the best possible value for you and your dependents. With health care costs rising, we have to look for ways to control these costs while still providing you with a competitive benefits package.

While your enrollment materials--which will be sent to you sometime this week--will contain more detail on the changes to our plans, here are a few highlights:

PENNCare Adds Personal Choice Network

By adding Independence Blue Cross' Personal Choice network to the PENNCare Plan, we've increased the number of health care providers you can see and from whom you will still receive "in-network" benefits. Chances are that most doctors in the Delaware Valley participate in Personal Choice.

Mental Health Care Visits Increased for
Point of Service (POS) Plan and HMOs

Last year, we increased the number of outpatient mental health care visits you were eligible for to 30 visits. This year, we're increasing that to 60 visits, if you see a provider within the Keystone or Aetna networks.

Plan 100 Deductible Increases

Deductibles for a single participant will increase from $200 to $300; family deductibles will rise from $400 to $600. If you participate in this plan, you'll also see significant increases in your pay period contribution.

Dental Plan

This year, the MetLife dental plan will cover up to $1,500 worth of eligible dental care services after you pay your portion of the costs--a $500 increase over last year. (The limit for orthodontia will remain at $1,000). We made this change in response to requests by plan participants and after learning that most of our peer universities offer this level of benefits. The Penn Faculty Practice Plan continues to offer an unlimited annual maximum benefit.

Enroll for your 2002-2003 benefits from April 22 through May 3, 2002.

Prescription Drug News

Mail Order Makes Sense

Do you regularly take a brand-name prescription drug? If so, you may be able to save yourself some time and money by ordering through the mail.

Brand-name drugs are expensive--for you and for Penn. But, for some medical conditions, there just isn't a generic alternative. If your doctor prescribes a brand-name drug for you, you'll want to consider filling your prescription via mail order because it's usually cheaper that way.
Starting on July 1, 2002, if you fill a brand-name prescription without a generic equivalent at the drugstore, you'll have to pay 30 percent of the cost of that drug for a one-month supply. If you fill the same prescription through the mail order service, you will pay just 10 percent of the cost of the drug for a three-month supply.

For example, say you have high cholesterol and your doctor prescribes LipitorTM. Check out the yearly cost savings in the chart on this page if you order this prescription through the mail versus filling it at a drugstore.

In addition, the co-insurance amounts through mail order will now count towards your maximum out-of-pocket which is increasing from $500 to $750 for single coverage and $1,500 to $2,000 for family coverage.

Plus, you save yourself the time it takes to call in your prescription and drive to the drugstore to pick it up. Signing up for the mail order service is easy. Contact Caremark at 1-800-378-0802 or visit their website at The first time you log on, you will need your eight-digit Penn ID number, i.e., the middle set of numbers in your PennCard, and you will have to choose a password. After that, you will be able to order drug refills, check their status and get your prescription history from the site.

We also want you to be aware of Caremark Direct, a mail order service outside the University's program, which allows Penn participants to order certain non-covered prescriptions at discounted prices. You may contact Caremark at 1-800-378-0193 to obtain pricing information on the products offered, or access the same website address shown above. For new users, after you register, click Site Map (upper right hand corner), then Caremark Direct.

The UPHS Point-of-Service (POS) Plan

When you consider how many providers UPHS and Keystone have--and the fact that you can still see out-of-network providers--the UPHS Point-of-Service (POS) Plan shapes up as an excellent medical plan option. Since this is a Managed Care Plan, you must select a Primary Care Physician (PCP) when you enroll in the plan, and obtain referrals from your PCP when you use doctors in the network.

Here's how the UPHS POS Plan works:

  • If you choose from participating providers in the UPHS or Keystone Provider Networks, you are not subject to a deductible and receive 100 percent coverage for most types of care after you pay a small copayment. If you are not currently in this plan and are considering a switch, there's also a good chance that your doctor may already participate in the UPHS or Keystone Networks--it's worth checking.
  • If you decide to use a provider outside these networks, you are subject to a deductible--but after you meet the deductible, you'll still receive 80 percent coverage for most types of care. So, if there is a particular doctor you want to see who doesn't participate in the Plan, you'll still be covered for some portion of the cost.

More advantages include:

  • No claim forms to file if you use in-network providers, and
  • Lower monthly contributions relative to the other non-HMO plans Penn offers (see rate chart).

Other Medical Options

Note that Penn will still continue to offer the following medical plan options:

Aetna HMO and Keystone HMO

HMOs offer excellent preventive care services and require no deductibles or claim forms. You must choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP) who coordinates your care and any services you receive outside the HMO network will not be reimbursed. Aetna has plans available to those who live in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and California.

(now called PENNCare/Personal Choice)

The addition of Independence Blue Cross' Personal Choice network increases the number of providers who are considered "in-network." If you've been seeing a doctor who was previously considered "out-of-network," chances are he/she is a member of the Personal Choice network. The plan does not require you to choose a PCP and you will only have to file claims forms if you receive care from an "out-of-network" doctor. This plan continues to be expensive, though, and will increase $18 a month for single employees and $46 a month for those who choose family coverage.

Plan 100 (Indemnity Plan)

There will be an increase in the annual deductible from $200 to $300 for single participants and from $400 to $600 for families. Since Plan 100 is Penn's most expensive plan, participants will be asked to contribute an additional $51 a month for single coverage and $134 more a month for family coverage. Note that because there are alternative medical programs which offer quality care and are more cost effective, this plan is only available to employees who were hired before July 1, 2000.

2002-2003 Health Care Rates
This table contains the health care rates for full-time University faculty and staff. This information will also be included in the information packets that will be sent to your home this week. Part-time faculty and staff and Post-Docs will see the rates that apply to them when they receive these packets.

CLICK HERE for information about Open Enrollment and Frequently Asked Questions about Benefits.

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 30, April 16, 2002


April 16, 2002
Volume 48 Number 30

Both the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Medicine announce the recipients of their annual teaching awards.
Gearing up for Open Enrollment means thinking about how the changes in benefits could influence which medical or dental plan is most cost-effective.
President Judith Rodin protects and defends free speech on campus, reiterating a message from her January 1995 Welcome Back which is still relevant today.
SEAS announces a new Ennis Professor, named for Dr. Alfred Ennis (Moore School '28).

Penn participates in the Franklin Institute Laureates Symposium, hosting four symposia on campus which are open to the University community.