Rutgers employees represented by our union and the other unions in the Coalition of Rutgers Unions (CRU) will have the chance to pay less for health benefits, effective July 1, 2021, if they opt into the new NJ Direct plan during a special open enrollment that will start on May 3 and end on May 14, 2021.
CRU negotiated this plan option with the University to give members relief from the higher costs that were imposed on us by the state back in 2011 under the Christie administration (in a law called Chapter 78). If you choose this new plan or if you are already in the Omnia tiered network plan, then starting on July 1 of this year, you will no longer pay the higher rates based on a percentage of premium. Instead, you will pay a percentage of salary.
Members switching to the new plan could save up to $1,500 annually. We hope to have a calculator available soon so you can see your current annual rates and compare them to the new plan options. Click here to see contribution charts for the new plan based on salary.
If you want to stay in your current plan, then there is nothing for you to do during this special open enrollment—no changes will be made, and you will continue to pay based on a percentage of the premium. If you are currently enrolled in the Omnia tiered network plan, then you don’t need to take action; you will see new savings since you will convert from “percentage of premium” to “percentage of salary.”
There are some differences in medical/prescription benefits compared to the Direct 15 plan that most members are currently enrolled in. Click here for a two-page comparison chart.
We were happy to have support and assistance from the Governor’s Office and the Division of Pensions and Benefits as we reached this agreement with the University. As part of the negotiated agreement, we will hold joint information sessions with the Division of Pensions and Benefits and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield on the following dates (save the dates; we will follow up with Zoom information later):
- Monday, May 3, 2–4 p.m.
- Wednesday, May 5, 10 a.m.–12 noon
- Tuesday, May 11, 2–4 p.m.
- Thursday, May 13, 10 a.m.–12 noon
We chose July 1 as the start date so that members could join and experience the plan, with time to switch back to Direct 15 or another plan during the regular open enrollment period in October (for effective changes on January 1, 2022).
Dental benefits are not impacted at all by this agreement. You will have to wait until October’s open enrollment to make any changes to your dental benefits.
CRU has been working on improving member benefits in terms of access, options, and cost. Three of our unions (AFSCME, CWA, and AAUP-AFT) sit on the Plan Design Committee of the State Health Benefits Plan and work on these issues at the state level for all of our members and all public employees in New Jersey. Our unions also engage in negotiations and action on campus to improve the pay, benefits, and working conditions of members. This agreement to provide a lower cost health plan option is a result of nearly a year of negotiations.
If you have any questions about the new plan or the Omnia option, please respond to this email, call the union, or attend one of the info sessions listed above. Our unions move forward together because of your support.
Todd and Becky
Todd Wolfson, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Rebecca Givan, Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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