Open Enrollment Edition of For Your Benefit
Welcome to the Open Enrollment edition of For Your Benefit
As we continue to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, we want to remind you that Pearson offers multiple quality health plan options along with emotional support services. With that in mind, it is now time to prepare to decide on your coverage for 2021.
Every year, we evaluate the cost of our plans and share the changes to your per paycheck contributions for the upcoming year. Pearson continues its average contribution of approximately 80% toward the cost of medical coverage while employees contribute 20%, in aggregate. Employees enrolled in the national medical plans (those administered by Anthem, Cigna and Aetna) and Delta Dental PPO will see an increase of 1.1 %. Kaiser plan participants will experience an increase of 4.7%. Vision per paycheck contributions will increase 1.9%.
There will be no change in your costs for Life Insurance, Long-Term Disability and the Dental HMO.
We are pleased to announce that for the first time ever, we will be hosting Virtual Benefit Fairs so that you can learn about the various ancillary services that Pearson offers. You can participate from the location of your choice while gaining valuable information that you or your family members may need in the future. Refer to the article, Virtual Benefit Fair During Open Enrollment to find out more.
Here are a few important reminders as you plan for your 2021 enrollment:
- The Health Savings Account (HSA) and Commuter/Parking elections do not carry over from year to year (2020 balances will roll over into 2021) — you must make an election for 2021, even if you want to continue with the same per paycheck election next year.
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) elections and 2020 balances do not carry over from year to year. You must make an election if you want to participate in an FSA.
- The enrollment system closes at 11:59 pm Eastern on October 23. Be sure to make your elections before then. Requests for exceptions to the deadline will not be approved.
While this issue of For Your Benefit magazine is focused on Open Enrollment, we also cover some health awareness campaigns including:
- World Psoriasis Day, which sheds light on a condition that can be difficult to manage.
- Learn more about Bone and Joint Health Week and how you can take good care of these crucial body structures.
- For breast and lung health, be sure to review the reminders about making the most use of your preventive health benefits
Please be sure to take full advantage of all the resources available to you — this newsletter, Pearson Benefits website and Mercer Marketplace — as you consider your 2021 benefit elections. The past several months have certainly reinforced the importance of making informed health coverage decisions for ourselves and our loved ones.
In Good Health,
Director, Global Benefits
Sources: American Cancer Society, Association for Behavioral Health & Wellness, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Centers for Disease Control. World Health Organization, EMPOWER Retirement, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Mental Health, Willis Towers Watson Wellbeing Ideas for Remote Employees
2021 Medical Plans
There are no plan design changes to the medical plans offered for 2021. As a reminder, there are four national plans, all administered by Anthem, Cigna and Aetna.*
Here is an overview of the plan choices. Click here to view plan summaries for each.
$400 Deductible Plan
$900 Deductible Plan
These are traditional PPO plans that contain copays for doctor’s visits and have lower out-of-pocket costs. You are not required to choose a primary care physician (although it is recommended) or to get a referral in order to see a specialist. You can receive care through a network of physicians at a significantly lower cost to you, or you can select providers outside the network and pay a greater share of your medical expenses.
$1,850 Deductible Plan**
$2,850 Deductible Plan
These are consumer-directed plans that put you in charge of your spending through lower per-paycheck contributions, higher deductibles, and a tax-free Health Savings Account (HSA). Pearson will make a contribution in 2021 of up to $500 if you cover yourself only and up to $1,000 if you cover yourself and dependents. And, like the $400 and $900 Deductible Plans, you can see providers within or outside of the network.
*Aetna provides a narrower network than Anthem and Cigna, but comes with lower per-paycheck contributions and out-of-pocket costs. It is only available in certain states.
** A Note About the $1,850 Deductible Plan If you enroll in the $1,850 Deductible Plan and cover dependents, the full family deductible must be met before the Plan pays benefits for any family member. Any covered family member can contribute to the family deductible. Please call Mercer Marketplace at 855-237-6421 to better understand this option.
2021 Per-Paycheck Costs
|Aetna, Anthem, Cigna||Medical||+1.1%|
|Cigna DHMO||Dental||No Change|
There are no plan design changes to the medical, dental and vision plans for 2021.
Your Benefits and COVID-19
As we look to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we continue to encourage employees and their families to:
- Stay home when you are sick
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
MDLive – Staying Safe with Virtual Care
If you or an eligible dependent think you have Coronavirus-like symptoms, we recommend you call MDLIVE immediately. The MDLIVE telehealth benefit offers you and your eligible dependents access to board-certified physicians who continually monitor CDC guidelines and recommendations around the Coronavirus disease. MDLIVE physicians are prepared to screen patients, determine the severity of symptoms and whether those symptoms align with COVID-19, and guide you to appropriate care.
MDLIVE Therapy is also available to those who may be feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic or other life challenges. MDLIVE therapists and counselors can help treat behavioral health issues such as stress, anxiety, depression and more, and offers convenient evening and weekend appointments.
The fee for both the medical and therapeutic benefits is $10.00 per session.
Don’t forget, these resources are also available:
Emotional well-being support:
Given the emphasis on social distancing right now, feelings of isolation and helplessness can occur. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Text “BRAVE” to 731731 to access free and confidential support 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
For those who have experienced domestic violence, social distancing and shelter in place mandates may be exceptionally difficult. The resources listed by Futures Without Violence can provide support, and most are available 24/7.
Virtual Benefits Fair During Open Enrollment
Since there are no plan design changes for Pearson’s plans for 2021, we thought this would be a great time to give you and your family members an opportunity to learn about other benefits that Pearson offers. During Open Enrollment you’ll have the opportunity to learn a bit more about the following programs:
Health Advocate – Health Advocate (HA) provides you assistance in navigating the complicated world of healthcare. In addition to all the benefits of this program, the service is free for all benefit-eligible employees and eligible family members. Health Advocate can help with:
- Resolving claims issues, untangling medical bills and coordinating benefits
- Scheduling appointments with providers including hard-to-reach specialists
- Transferring medical records and the details of transferring x-ray and lab results and so much more!
LifeCare – Whether you’re managing a major life event or dealing with daily tasks, you have access to LifeCare’s complimentary suite of services that are designed to make your life easier. Especially during these unprecedented times, LifeCare can help with whatever you’re facing. Through LifeMart, LifeCare’s discount purchase program, you have access to discounts from brands you know and love, all in one convenient location. LifeMart is your way to save. Simply register to be automatically entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card.1
Gympass Wellness – Gympass is a subscription-based solution with 1:1 personal trainers with video calls, live streamed workouts and thousands of on-demand classes, including HIIT, boxing, yoga, pilates and more, conducted by the best instructors in the industry and available anytime you want. In addition, Gympass allows employees (and up to 5 family members) access to fitness facilities within their membership tier in any Gympass city or country. There are seven membership plans starting as low as $9.99/month.
ConsumerMedical (CM) – CM is your Medical Ally and is designed to help all benefit-eligible employees and their household members get current, comprehensive, objective and personalized information (including treatment options) and support about any medical diagnosis or health topic.
Empower Retirement – Take control of your finances and get help striking a balance between living for today and planning for tomorrow. During Open Enrollment season Empower is offering two essential group education sessions designed to empower you to pursue the future you imagine. Register for one or both of these virtual sessions.
Connect with Your Future, Tuesday, October 13 @ 1:30 pm Eastern time
- Get to know Empower Retirement
- Learn a little about your Pearson 401(k) Plan
- Access real help from real people
- Discover easy and intuitive online access
- Explore resources and education on demand
Financial Fitness, Tuesday, October 20 @ 5 pm Eastern time
- Financial Fitness
- Learn a little about your Pearson 401(k) Plan
- Define financial fitness
- Understand the four steps to financial fitness
- See how your retirement savings affects your financial fitness
- Use your retirement account tools to help you get fit
Schedule of Vendor Presentations:
|Health Advocate||Thursday, October 15th||1:00 pm Eastern||Join Presentation|
|Thursday, October 22nd||5:00 pm Eastern||Join Presentation|
|LifeCafe||Thursday, October 15th||2:30 pm Eastern||Register for Presentation|
|Thursday, October 22nd||6:00 pm Eastern||Register for Presentation|
|Gympass Wellness||Wednesday, October 14th||1:00 pm Eastern||Join Presentation|
|Wednesday, October 21st||4:00 pm Eastern||Join Presentation|
|ConsumerMedical||Tuesday, October 13th||3:00 pm Eastern||Join Presentation
|Tuesday, October 20th||6:00 pm Eastern||Join Presentation
|Empower Retirement||Tuesday, October 13th||1:30 pm Eastern
“Connect with Your Future”
|Register for one or
|Tuesday, October 20th||5:00 pm Eastern
*Each Empower session requires a WebEx Event Password and a includes a separate call in number. This information will be provided in your registration confirmation email.
1The Pearson Sweepstakes (“Sweepstakes”) is sponsored by LifeCare, Inc., (“LifeCare”), 2 Armstrong Road, Shelton, CT 06484. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. The Sweepstakes starts 10/05/2020 at 12:00:00 a.m. EST and ends 10/23/2020 at 11:59:59 p.m. EST. The Sweepstakes is only open to active employees of Pearson, who are legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, and are 18 years of age or older as of the date of entry. Prize: One (1) $50 Amazon gift card will be awarded to four (4) entrants. Odds of winning depend upon number of eligible entries received. Click here for the official terms and conditions.
Enrolling for 2021
Open Enrollment is October 12–23
(the system closes at 11:59 p.m. Eastern).
Open Enrollment | Answers at your fingertips
If you have questions while enrolling, a “Chat Now” button is located in the bottom right corner of each page on the Mercer Marketplace website. When you click this button, you will connect with a benefits counselor for a secure, live chat.
If you have questions about your 2021 benefits or enrolling, call Mercer Marketplace at 1-855-237-6421. Benefits counselors are available to assist you Monday to Friday, 7 am to 10 pm and Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm (all times are Eastern).
Step 1 – Have Your Information Ready:
- Have the social security number and birth date easily accessible for any dependent(s) you will be adding to your coverage.
- Know what plan(s) you want to enroll in. This is also a good time to review your list of beneficiaries to make sure they are up to date.
Step 2 – Visit Mercer Marketplace
- Select “Explore 2021 Benefits.”
- If it is the first time you are using the Marketplace, you will need to register as a new user. To register, you will need the last 4 digits of your social security number, your last name, your date of birth and your home zip code. Follow the steps to set up your account.
New Hire Enrollment – What You Need to Know
If you started working at Pearson on or after Open Enrollment, you will need to enroll twice – once for the remainder of 2020 and again for 2021. Elections you make for 2020 will not carry over into 2021. Follow Steps 1 and 2 for completing your 2020 enrollment. Once you have completed your 2020 enrollment, you will see a button for “Open Enrollment.” Click on that to enroll for 2021.
Do I Have to Enroll?
You should log in and confirm you have the coverage you need and want for 2021. If you don’t make any updates, you will be automatically enrolled in your current coverage with the exception of Commuter/Parking, Flexible Spending, and Health Savings Account elections.
Remember, you must make an election each year if you participate in any of the following:
- Health Savings Account (HSA)
- Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
If you are participating in any of these accounts in 2020 and want to continue in 2021, you must make an election for 2021, even if you want to continue the same amount per paycheck for next year. Please note: Your 2020 balances in the HSA and Commuter/ Parking accounts will carry over into 2021, but your FSA funds do not carry over.
2021 Pre-Tax Annual Limits
The 2021 annual HSA contribution limits as determined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are:
- $3,600 for individuals ($50.00 increase from 2020)
- $7,200 for family coverage ($100.00 increase from 2020).
The 2021 Flexible Spending Account (FSA) contribution limits as determined by the IRS are:
- Combination FSA – $2,750* (only available if you are enrolled in the $1,850 or $2,850 medical plans)
- Health Care FSA – $2,750*
- Dependent Care FSA – $5,000* married; $2,500* if married filing jointly
*These are 2020 limits. 2021 limits have not been announced by the IRS at the time of publication.
What if I am currently enrolled, but don’t want coverage in 2021?
If you are currently enrolled in Pearson benefits but do not want coverage in 2021, you must go into the system and “waive” coverage. Not taking this action means you will see deductions for coverage for all of 2021.
Will I get a new ID card for 2021?
If you are staying with your current medical or dental plan in 2021, you will not receive a new ID card.
Don’t Forget Your Flu Vaccine is Free!
As if we don’t already have enough to deal with, the flu season is on our doorstep. Many people will recover after a brief period of time but, for others, influenza and its complications can be very serious. People at a higher risk of developing flu complications are adults over age 65, nursing home residents, and people with weakened immune systems and/or chronic illnesses.
Even if you are not in a high-risk category, don’t let the flu bug bite you. Get your vaccine at no cost to you at a CVS/Caremark participating pharmacy (not all locations offer the shots, so call ahead). For more information about the flu shot and other vaccines available at no cost, click here.
October 12 – 20 is Bone and Joint Health National Action Week
Bones support you and allow you to move. They protect your brain, heart and other important organs from injury. Bones also store nutrients like calcium, which help keep our bones strong, and then release them into the body when you need them for other uses. If you don’t keep your bones healthy, they can become weak and even break. Broken bones and fractures can be painful, and could cause long-lasting health problems.
Joints are places where two bones in your body meet, such as your elbow or knee. Joints also have cartilage, which acts as a spongy shock absorber on the ends of the bones to prevent them from rubbing against each other. More importantly, your joints help you move and stay active
There are many things you can do to keep your bones and joints healthy, including:
- Eating a balanced diet while increasing your calcium and vitamin D intake. Dairy products, vegetables, eggs and salmon are great additions to your diet.
- Exercising to increase circulation in your joints and maintaining a healthy weight. Extra weight can add pressure to your joints, often causing pain and swelling.
- Using ice packs or a bag of frozen vegetables to relieve sore joints.
- Telling your health care provider if your pain is improving or worsening. He or she may have better treatment options that can help.
For more information on keeping your bones and joints healthy, click or download these easy-to-read publications from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS):
October 29 is World Psoriasis Day
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that is the result of an abnormal reaction which causes a rapid buildup of skin cells. This forms scaly patches on the skin’s surface which can burn or itch, and are most often covered with white or silver scales. The most common sites for the patches to appear are in joint areas like the elbows or knees.
According to current studies, more than 8 million Americans have psoriasis, and studies show that between 10 and 30 percent of people with psoriasis also develop psoriatic arthritis. The most common symptoms of psoriasis include:
- Red, raised, inflamed patches of skin
- Whitish-silver scales or plaques on the red patches
- Dry skin that may crack and bleed
- Itching and burning sensations around patches
- Thick, pitted nails
- Painful, swollen joints
Not every person will experience all of these symptoms. Most people with psoriasis go through cycles of symptoms. The condition may cause severe symptoms for a few days or weeks, and then the symptoms may clear up and be almost unnoticeable. Then, in a few weeks or, if made worse by a common psoriasis trigger, the condition may flare up again.
While there is no cure for psoriasis, there is help to manage the condition. Treatments including creams and ointments (topical therapy), light therapy (phototherapy), and oral or injected medications aim to remove scales and stop skin cells from growing so quickly. The treatment(s) you use depend(s) on how severe your psoriasis is, and how responsive it has been to previous treatment.
October & November Health Observances
In several previous issues of For Your Benefit, we have focused a great deal of attention on breast and lung cancer.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year. While still very rare, a man’s breast cells and tissue can develop cancer also. The good news is that we have seen a gradual reduction in female breast cancer incidence rates among women aged 50 and older. Death rates from breast cancer have been declining since about 1990, in part due to better screening and early detection, increased awareness, and continually improving treatment options.
Lung Cancer awareness in November
Earlier this year we talked about World No Tobacco Day sponsored by the World Health Organization. While children were the focus of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, there are still millions of adults using tobacco-related products in the United States. Despite great progress in reducing smoking levels, cigarette smoking remains the number one risk factor for lung cancer and is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. In this country, tobacco kills more than 480,000 people annually – more than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, illegal drugs, homicides and suicides combined.
We want to remind you that your Pearson Benefits can help in both preventive and supportive ways when dealing with breast or lung illnesses, for example:
- When you participate in a Pearson medical plan, annual mammograms are covered at 100% with no cost to you
- Your annual physical is also covered at 100%. This is so important because very often the exam and conversation with your doctor can help to uncover issues before they become bigger problems.
- Our partners at ConsumerMedical can help you navigate the often-complicated world of healthcare. For example, they can provide:
- Information to help you better understand any medical, diagnosis condition and treatment options.
- Support from a team of nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals.
- Second opinions and referrals to doctors.
- Recommendations for the best local, in-network doctors and hospitals for your needs.
Source: National Breast Cancer, Center for Disease Control