Feature Story: 2023 Open Enrollment

Sydney Wood, assistant director of Benefits and Communications

It’s that time of the year again! UCO’s annual benefits open enrollment is quickly approaching. For 2023, eligible faculty and staff can enroll from Monday, Oct. 17 to Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, in medical, dental, vision and all other ancillary benefits for themselves and their dependents. All benefit-eligible faculty and staff MUST enroll or decline all benefits by Oct. 28, 2022, or they will not have medical, vision, dental or dependent coverage for 2023.

2023 will bring some significant changes with the overall goal of managing our health plan costs, while still providing quality options. The Benefits team, amongst other stakeholders across campus, heard from multiple different carriers this year. After much feedback from faculty and staff and thoroughly evaluating all options, the University is moving from Aetna to Healthcare Highways for medical, and from Aetna to Delta Dental for dental.

We believe Healthcare Highways will be the best partner for our long-term benefit goals and strategies. Healthcare Highways is known for creating health plans centered around a high-performing network of exceptional doctors, offering meaningful choices when it comes to affordable, quality care. Hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans rely on them to sustainably lower healthcare costs, including over 15 Oklahoma hospital systems using Healthcare Highways’ medical networks for their employees’ health benefits. They do not cut costs by cutting corners — rather, it is by intentional contracting, carefully checking medical bills to make sure providers are not overcharging you and most importantly, by helping you stay healthy.

Below are some details about the changes:

  • The first dollar plan will no longer be offered. There will still be four plan options available—the $1,250-Sync, PHP-Sync, PHP-Plus and the HSA-Plus plan.
  • There are two networks available to choose from: the plus and sync. For those wanting to maintain their relationship with Mercy or other major providers, the plus plans are for you. This network is most similar to our 2022 Broad network but will include SSM Health. The sync network is similar to last year’s high-performance network, but we’re happy to announce it is more expansive. The Sync network will include Integris, OU Health, Norman Regional, McBride Orthopedic Hospital, amongst many more. Faculty and staff can find an extended list of providers on the People & Culture Hub. You can also search for providers on Healthcare Highways’ website.
  • The PHP-Sync plan was created to be a “family-friendly” plan after a large amount of feedback requesting such. We lowered the premiums for family coverage while also lowering the deductible/out-of-pocket max. Additionally, co-pays were added for non-preferred brand drugs, specialty drugs, specialist visits, urgent care visits, outpatient mental health visits and emergency room visits.  
  • While we are switching to Delta Dental, the plan options are staying fundamentally the same. If you like the plan you are on currently, then you will be able to select it again—this time with a wider range of in-network providers.

The Zero Card, MDSave, CVS, VSP vision plans and our extra voluntary plans with Hartford are here to stay for this year.

The UCO Benefits team will be hosting multiple events, including benefit fairs, open enrollment meetings and computer labs. The benefits fairs will be held this week on Oct. 5th and 6th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Heritage Room in the Nigh University Center. Faculty and Staff will be able to meet with our insurance partners for the 2023 plan year, including Healthcare Highways, Primary Health Partners, Hartford and more. For a full list of dates, times and location, visit the 2023 Open Enrollment page on the People & Culture Hub.

The best advice when it comes to picking insurance is to be informed. Every person is different, and so are their health needs. There is not one insurance plan that fits all, and it is important to evaluate which one fits your needs best. While we can’t tell you what plan to pick, the Benefits team is always available to educate and talk through all the options available. You can reach us at benefits@uco.edu or (405) 974-2318. Alternatively, you can learn more about how benefits work at the Benefits 101 page on the People & Culture Hub.

Want to know more about the “why” behind switching medical carriers? We hosted a “State of Benefits” forum on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022. The recording of the live stream is available here.