Open enrollment for health and wellness benefits will be held from October 15 through November 2. During this time, you have the opportunity to review your current benefits elections and make changes to your coverage for 2008. There are several changes to your benefits plans for next year, some of which reflect growing trends among large U.S. companies -a summary is attached. The most significant changes are:
• Free generic drugs for hypertension, asthma or diabetes-Under the Blue Cross Blue Shield and CIGNA plans, employees and covered dependents with any of these conditions will receive generic drugs for free and pay only $5 for brand-name drugs when purchasing prescriptions for these conditions through the mail order program.
• Tobacco use fee -Tribune employees who use tobacco products (or have covered dependents who do so), will pay a $100 per month fee (per family) in addition to their medical premium. Smoking cessation programs will be offered to assist those who use tobacco in leading a smoke-free lifestyle. The fee will be waived upon completion of the program.
• Spousal coverage fee -Employees who enroll l spouse/domestic partner under Tribune's medical plan who also has access to coverage through another employer will pay a $75 per month fee in addition to their medical premium if the spouse/ domestic partner remains under Tribune's plan.
Preventive care continues to be 100 percent covered after the office visit co-payment (including physicals, mammograms and prostate screenings).
To enroll for your benefits, use the instructions included on the attached summary; be sure to print your confirmation statement after making your elections. You must visit eBeneflts to review your benefit options, answer questions about tobacco use and spouse/domestic partner coverage and re-enroll in the flexible spending accounts. Additional information about your benefits will be included in the Enrollment Guide available on eBenefits.
If you have questions about your health and wellness benefits, please contact the Tribune Benefits Service Center at 800/872-2222.
I totally understand about my doctor's concern about my smoking, but now that the insurance companies are charging me $100.00 extra a month for exercising my right to live the way I want it is just a little too much, what ever happened to the land of the free? Isn't this a choice? Is it legal?